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If decommissioning is an obstacle to peace, then why doesn’t the I.R.A. agree decommission its arms?

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Catherine Warhurst The failure of the I.R.A. to decommission arms stands in the way of peace in Northern Ireland. If decommissioning is an obstacle to peace, then why doesn't the I.R.A. agree decommission its arms? Refer to the following events in your answer: The troubles 1969-1990s Bloody Sunday Hunger Strikes Mainland bombing campaigns The I.R.A. is reluctant to decommission its arms because it fears enemy paramilitary groups would target and attack it and the Catholic community. The I.R.A. does not want to risk being caught unprotected as it was on the 15th August 1969. At this time the I.R.A. was not involved in any active campaigns. It had very few weapons after its border campaign seven years previously and had relatively few members. Gerald Mc Auldy (15) was a member of the youth I.R.A.; he was moving furniture into a van when loyalist bullets raked him, killing him instantly. He had been helping Catholics on Bombay Street escape before Protestants came and burnt them out of their homes. ...read more.


On the 24th February that year, the British Prime Minister announced direct rule over Northern Ireland. Two years prior to the Bloody Sunday shootings, 3rd July 1970, a comprehensive search for arms was carried out in the Falls Road area of Northern Ireland. A 36-hour curfew on all residents was ordered while searches of the homes were conducted, the searches lead to allegations of damage to property by the soldiers. Over 200 people were arrested and two rioters were killed, as homeowners were held at gunpoint whilst their houses were raided. This caused uproar amongst the Catholics, and lead to resentment of the British army, which they had previously regarded the I.R.A. favourably, members were then given orders to 'kill every British Soldier they could.' This included the bombing on the M62 of a convoy carrying British Soldiers. Internment was introduced in 1971, individuals who, in the words of the Northern Ireland Prime Minister, Brian Faulkner were 'a serious and continuing threat to public order and safely' were imprisoned without trial for up to two weeks. ...read more.


When a Protestant is killed, the loyalists go and kill and innocent Catholic to 'get even'. These petty fights can carry on and on, resulting in many unnecessary deaths. The failure of the peace process and the continuing conflict suits certain members of the Northern Ireland community. They are able to profit from the present situation, through the ever-growing drugs market in the province, spurred on by the conflict, or others, who make money supplying firearms and bomb making devices to the different paramilitary groups. The I.R.A. does want peace in Northern Ireland, but not at any cost. Despite its mainland bombing campaigns, the I.R.A. does not really want to cause such destruction, pain and death. It feels however that it is the only was to get across its views, and that it is forced to continue to do so. If the I.R.A. does decommission, it will loose all of the bargaining power it currently possesses, which would make its opinions ignored. So until other paramilitary groups decommission, it looks like the peace process will be in gridlock, as the I.R.A. appear unlikely to be the party to make the first gesture towards peace. ...read more.

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