Why is IRA decommissioning so important?
I believe the major reason for the restricted progress towards peace that has been made over the years in Northern Ireland is the lack of trust. With the IRA refusing to decommission, a step back was made instead of a step forward. The IRA is reluctant to decommission its arms because it fears enemy paramilitary groups will target and attack it and the Catholic community. The IRA does not want to risk being caught unprotected. It may also see it as surrender, rendering the sacrifices made by the many who died for the cause unnecessary, an insult to their memory. If they had all fulfilled the terms of the Good Friday Agreement then trust would have been found between them and the British army. If the IRA do not decommission, then there will never be peace.
It is not often that there is any input from ordinary people about the future of Northern Ireland. This is mainly out of fear of being hurt due to their views. If there is no violence people are more open-minded and become used to peace and its benefits. This will mean that they will be more reluctant to return to violence and so, will prevent it by pushing terrorists out of the negotiating process. The IRA would lose the power to dictate the processes.
The IRA decommissioning would have a positive effect on the political party the IRA. This is because one of Sinn Fein's main aims is to be seen as a democratic party, so would be elected into Northern Ireland as the number one political party. They can be seen as democratic because they are seen as a link to the IRA, they can get them to decommission, 'Sinn Fein is the future' (Gerry Adams, Sinn Fein's leader from The Times newspaper 2002). So this is an important issue if the IRA decommission. The peace process and Good Friday Agreement can continue without violence, and Sinn Fein and its link to the IRA has its chance to become a peaceful political party and respected within Northern Ireland.
Decommissioning will build trust between the parties, which in turn will require acts of good will and expressions of willingness to cooperate. Talks between David Trimble who wants peace and Gerry Adams could then commence.
Most people living in Northern Ireland want peace. Even those in the IRA are willing to decommission, but it is those in the Real IRA and other extremist violent groups who do not support much of a cause. Instead, they plant bombs and cause the troubles if their demands are not met. By separating these from the rest of the IRA, they are thought of as common thugs and not freedom fighters.
By decommissioning, the bombing and terrorism ends resulting in no further revenge killings. This will otherwise lead to the continuous fight between Catholics and Protestants. By ending the violence it would not only help the people, but also a more stable economy would be a result. At the moment in Ireland racketeering and protectionism is occurring, due to this most of the businesses in Northern Ireland are corrupt due to money laundering from the IRA. Therefore if they decommissioned the economy would become more rigid and legal and so, can start to work and run more efficiently.
The many bombings result in large expenses paid out to rebuilding towns and bombed buildings. If there were no repairs needed then the money could go towards hospitals and education, which are at present in a sorry state.
The IRA would gain considerable credibility if they handed in all weapons whilst other organisations did not. So, if the IRA decommission then the UFF and the UDF will most likely follow. Talks could then commence between them, which would be a major leap towards peace. Without it, fights over their differences in political views and methods of expressing these views endanger the peace process.