‘All IRA units have been ordered to dump arms.
‘All Volunteers have been instructed to assist the development of purely political and democratic programmes through exclusively peaceful means.
With these words the IRA yesterday gave up the historic revolutionary struggle to unite Ireland through expelling British imperialism, after a long period of indecision over whether to take this decisive and final step, from which the IRA and Sinn Fein will not be able to find a way back.
The theory that the way forward was to have an armalite in one hand and a ballot box in the other has given way to the armalite being dumped, leaving only the ballot box, and also leaving the Provisional IRA belatedly taking the same path as did the Officials in the early 1970s.
The agreement, to destroy its arms dumps and democratically support the constitutional order in the north, completes the transformation of Sinn Fein and the IRA from revolutionary nationalists in the mould of Connolly and Pearse into constitutional nationalists of the SDLP type.
They must now support rule from Westminster, until a new power sharing regime with the DUP’s Paisley is established, recognise the legitimacy of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), and the north’s status as part of the UK, complete with a garrison of British troops, until the majority of the people in the north agree to change this situation.
The Good Friday Agreement began with referenda in the north and south of the country agreeing, with the support of Sinn Fein and the IRA, that the Irish people as a whole should not have the right to unite Ireland, and that unity could only take place when a majority in the north agreed to it. The constitution of the Republic was amended accordingly.
It is being completed, now that Sinn Fein and the IRA are transforming themselves into a purely constitutional parliamentary party.
That this is what is happening is made clear in the statement.
‘We reiterate our view that the armed struggle was entirely legitimate. . .
‘We believe there is now an alternative way to achieve this and to end British rule in our country. It is the responsibility of all Volunteers to show leadership, determination and courage. . .
‘Every Volunteer is aware of the import of the decisions we have taken and all Oglaigh are compelled to fully comply with these orders.’
Sinn Fein expects that the IRA declaration will rapidly clear the way for its return to a power sharing local government in the north, and to getting more electoral support in the Irish Republic, leading to it joining a coalition government with Fianna Fail.
As pillars of the established order in the two parts of Ireland, it will then have to carry out policies that will be decided by the amount of funding that the British government gives to the north, and the budget requirements of the capitalist class in the south.
In the context of the developing worldwide capitalist crisis, this means that Sinn Fein, in both the north and the south, will have to participate in imposing cuts policies onto the working class in terms of wages, jobs, privatisations and hospital closure programmes.
Many workers will be shocked and shaken by such a development, that will clear the way for the establishment of a section of the International Committee of the Fourth International in Ireland that will organise the working class to unite Ireland in the only way possible, through a socialist revolution.