Telegraph | News | Adams calls for IRA to give up armed struggle

Something I Never Expected:

Gerry Adams of Sinn Fein calls on the IRA to lay down arms. This will be an interesting one to watch, since Sinn Fein and the IRA are so closely tied. It could be a ruse. The IRA can refuse, making Sinn Fein seem more independent (and legitimately political) than it is.

On the other hand, the IRA would lose its principle defender. Any return to violence would have to be met with condemnation by Sinn Fein, unless Sinn Fein could justify it from British or Unionist actions.

Such justification would be hard under the standard Adams has set. It would require demonstrating that the particular act to which the IRA was responding was severe enough that "there was no alternative" to violence in order that "the struggle can... be moved forward." Simple reprisals for Unionist violence would not do it: it would have to be an attack on the political process.

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