The United Kingdom’s determination to end its membership of the European Union has placed a large question mark over the country’s continued territorial presence on this side of the Irish Sea. The future direction of the last remnant of the historical British colony on the island of Ireland, at least as we have known it since the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, now hangs in the balance. With the vast majority of Irish political parties and elected politicians opposing any inadvertent strengthening of the border around the Six Counties, let alone accepting the Partition 2.0 desired by much of the Democratic Unionist Party, the time for militant action is over. The pro-union argument in the north-east of the country and in Britain is busily consuming itself, driven mad by the self-harming urges of the Brexit condition. The British are destroying their own Irish occupation, so it is crucial that they are given no opportunity, no cover to revert to the “security” justifications of old.
This morning’s reports of an assassination attempt on a former officer of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, the UK paramilitary force in the disputed region, have proven to be incorrect. Thankfully it seems to have a been an accident and the individual concerned is unhurt. But the earlier lack of proof did not stop Arlene Foster and the DUP, or their allies in London, leaping on the incident in the hope of exploiting it. At a time when partition may be effectively erased through the mechanism of Brexit in the United Kingdom and regulatory alignment in Ireland, it is crucial that no acts of violence emerge from Irish republicanism. Revolutionaries know their politics. They know how to read the political omens in the sky and to turn such matters to their advantage. They are tacticians and strategists, propagandists of the deed. And they should know when the moment is right for armed struggle and when that moment has passed.