There I was, walking along the beach path when 'PM' on BBC Radio4 began its 5pm news summary with the 'just breaking' news that the IRA had, in the course of a 5-page written statement, offered to shoot the killers of Robert McCartney, murdered on 30th January by, it was claimed, republicans. Well, you could have knocked me down with a feather - surely those nice IRA people couldn't possibly be advocating violence, subverting the course of justice by preventing suspects of crime being brought before a court of justice? Since the murder happened, the sisters of the murdered man have conducted a very brave campaign which has forced the IRA to admit publicly that some of its members were very likely responsible for the murder; in its statement/threat/offer today it stated that two of its members and two others would, if McCartney's family wished it, be shot. The family did not wish this, instead requesting that the alleged killers be turned over to the authorities so they might face court justice.
The only alternative I can see to the IRA having completely taken leave of its senses, by issuing such a crass statement, indicating they are more than just a little 'rattled' by the level of nationalist public opposition to them in Northern Ireland in recent weeks, is that somehow this is a faked stament and does not come from the IRA at all, buth that their 'Beelzebub', the DUP, has somehow managed to issue a plausible statement in the IRA's name? No? No, I don't think that is terribly likely either. The IRA has most probably just demonstrated, once more, that they have not changed at all - they are still the same bunch of ruthless killers and opportunisits they always were.