When the Provisional IRA disbanded their weapons in 2005, Father Alex Reid oversaw this historic occasion. He had been instrumental in 1988 in persuading the Social Democratic and Labour Party's (SDLP) then leader, John Hume, to talk to Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams and begin the Northern Ireland Peace Process. It was only fitting the Catholic priest should have been there to witness something he started.

This was the final step towards creating a power-sharing agreement between the nationalists and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). IRA disarmament split the original coalition between the Ulster Unionists and the SDLP. The DUP, having smashed the Ulster Unionists in the 2003 Assembly elections, were elected on a platform to ensure the IRA disbanded their weapons before they shared power with Sinn Fein.

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Northern Ireland has enjoyed relative peace since both of the province's largest nationalist and unionist parties formed an unlikely coalition in 2007. In 2009, loyalist paramilitary groups disbanded their weapons. In 2011, the Queen travelled to the Republic of Ireland and met Sinn Fein's deputy leader, Martin McGuinness, in 2012. These were monumental steps towards ensuring Ireland's future was not plagued with violence.

Sinn Fein has not changed at all

But the recent revelations from Unionist Voice prove that Sinn Fein has not changed at all. Their official disassociation with the IRA in 2005 was nothing more than a front. It now appears the IRA Council, controlled by former republican terrorists Bobby Storey, Martin Lynch and Sean Murray, possess a veto over any decisions the nationalists made during the recent talks process that collapsed.

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A report conducted by the #Government in 2015 revealed the IRA Council still possesses substantial influence over Sinn Fein's strategy. This has now proven to be true.

Publicly, the nationalists have attempted to persuade Northern Ireland's people they abandoned the IRA. They have lied. Sinn Fein will never be able to escape its violent past, but Unionist Voice's report shows they never closed their contacts with these terrorists. They have stitched up unionists across Stormont in a bid to gain power and achieve their aim of a united Ireland peacefully. It is a pity because of sectarian differences, these established parties always win, no matter what. If there was a time for a decent opposition to Sinn Fein, it is now. Considering the SDLP also collapsed in the 2003 Assembly elections, that seems unlikely, sadly. #Politics #Britain