Thursday, June 30, 2005
...Has already begun:|
Last Sunday it held its annual parade to Wolfe Tone's grave in Bodenstown, Co Kildare. The event has been traditionally led by a colour party wearing black berets and black or khaki jumpers.
But this year was different. Gone were the paramilitary trappings and in their place a colour party wore green blazers. It could have been a parade led by tennis umpires at Wimbledon.
Whether they were republicans or guests, the image they gave the commemoration was similar to that of US war veterans on parade – or members of the Royal British Legion marching down Whitehall on Remembrance Sunday.
This marks the emergence of the new IRA – the paramilitary group which likes to say 'yes'. It will be an organisation where old soldiers will never die – they will just undergo a rebranding of their market image.
So not only is the war over and won, the Provisional IRA is over too. For its successful transformation from paramilitary to para-political it must pursue three inter-linked strands of spin – claim continuity of structure; reinforce its assertion of victory and, to justify its victory claim, it must then rewrite Irish history.