It seems that recent statements by the PSNI in Belfast and the coalition government in Dublin have sent the right-wing denizens of Talbot Street, location of the nominal HQ of Independent News and Media, completely off the deep end as they live up to their reputation as the Fox News of Irish journalism. While the chief constable of the British paramilitary police in the north-east, George Hamilton, and the minister of justice, Frances Fitzgerald, have recognised the continued existence of (P)IRA both have acknowledged that the insurgent movement remains committed to the twenty year old peace process it helped initiate; which was, as pointed out by WorldbyStorm, the uncontroversial view of the Irish and UK authorities as recently as 2010:
“We said in our Twenty-Third Report that PIRA had maintained its political course and that we believed it would continue to do so.
This remains our view. In addition to having nothing to report by way of illegal paramilitary activity on the part of the organisation, we note the efforts of senior figures in the republican movement to try to control the disorders which took place in North Belfast during the Twelfth of July parades this year, and to mobilise their supporters to oppose future disorders. They also acted to avoid a return to the use of violence against perceived anti-social behaviour despite some community pressure.
We repeated in our Twenty-Third Report what we had consistently said in successive reports since October 2006, namely that the leadership of the republican movement remained committed to following the exclusively political path and would not be diverted from it.
This remains our firm view.”
The opinions of the conservative Fine Gael minister, echoing those previously expressed by the Garda commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan, have caused particular outrage amongst the incestuous groupthink that is Independent House. One almost expects a demand in the next editorial of the Sunday Independent newspaper for every member of the current government to produce a birth certificate proving that he or she is legally authorised to be in office.
Of course all this hyperbolic raiméis is of little surprise. Just as Fox News exists to pander to the loonier outliers of the American Right so Independent News exists to foster paranoia and repulsion amongst the moneyed classes in Ireland. From the “terrorists” of the admittedly obfuscating Sinn Féin to the “sinister fringe” of the anti-water tax marchers (all one hundred thousand of them) IN&M promotes an agenda that can be best summed up in one word: fear. If one needs proof of where the Independent News group sits on the spectrum of Irish politics one need look no further than this recent article by the reactionary columnist Eilis O’Hanlon, defending the candidacy of Donald Trump, the would-be clown-king of the United States.
No doubt the next suggestion from the partitionistas of Independent House will focus on the urgent need to build a wall around the north-east of the country. A great big wall, with a beautiful door, to keep out all the rapists and murderers…