Ireland's Long War: Despite Peace Agreement, Dissidents Continue Their Violent Campaign
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There will however continue to be a problem for Sinn Fein in the republican constituencies where the ‘micro groups’, as Sinn Fein calls them, are able to bite and nip at their heels, and where some individual leaders develop a neighbourhood swagger, safe in the knowledge that mainstream republicans can no longer exact traditional republican vengeance on them. In those communities the position of the dissidents seems more like that allowed to loyalist paramilitaries in the Protestant heartlands. A certain allowance is granted to them as enforcers of neighbourhood discipline, but this does not transfer into electoral politics. The fissiparous nature of their organisations – yet another ‘new’ IRA was announced on the 26th July 2012 – and their inability to create one united political front make them appear unlikely candidates to create the unity of Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter deemed necessary for the realisation of a 32 county Irish republic.
But, if they are not going to win, it is equally sure that they will continue. Their activities bring into view the gap that now exists between the bulk of the Northern Ireland population, and those deprived nationalist communities who have not experienced any economic uplift, and who are prepared to accept paramilitary justice as a way of dealing with problems that seem to have no other solution. The republic is not in view. But neither is the end of paramilitarism.
This is a shortened version of an article that will shortly appear on the webpage of the Northern Ireland Peace Monitoring Report.