The language of the unreconstructed republican terrorist that permeates Northern Editor Suzanne Breen's exclusive Sunday Tribune interview with a representative of the army council of the Real IRA catapults the reader to a painful past where death and murder were the grief-laden punctuation of political events.
The drone-like ideology informing the interview and the text of the speech to be delivered in the Easter Rising commemoration in the City Cemetery in Derry tomorrow by a "member of the Republican movement" offer a worrying insight into the new tactics the Real IRA intends to pursue.
The detail in the descriptions of the murder of republican informer Denis Donaldson, and the gunning down of soldiers Mark Quinsey (23) and Patrick Azimkar (21) and two men delivering pizzas, is as repulsive as it is chilling. The murder of Donaldson three years ago is described in photographic detail. Donaldson's end was horrifying. "He just ran into the back room. There was a struggle, and he ended up on the ground. He didn't cry out or plead for mercy. He remained silent all the time."
The Provisonal IRA, on whom he had informed for 20 years, had guaranteed his safety as he lived an impoverished life in a Donegal farm cottage. The Real IRA, created as a result of various splits within the Provisional leadership over the 1997 ceasefire and peace process, was clearly still bitter and vengeful.
The 99% of people who, in this country, believe in the rule of law and the right only of constitutional institutions to enforce it, will be heartened to know there was some discussion among the Real IRA army council before the decision was taken to hunt Denis Donaldson down and murder him. As the Real IRA debated Donaldson's fate, we learn they were split over whether he should live or die. Some thought he should be left alone as an embarrassment to the Provos. Others felt he had to be killed in order to instil total loyalty in all members. The hard men won. Donaldson had been a key player in the Good Friday agreement, arguing for participation in the peace process. In the world of the Real IRA, that, as much as enforcing loyalty within their own organisation, would have been as big a treachery.
Traitors are everywhere in the distorted world of the Real IRA. They include the current Sinn Féin leadership because of their participation in powersharing and recognition of the PSNI as the legal police force of the north. They include elected representatives north and south, police officers from both communities, civilians carrying out ordinary daily lives in the north if they have dealings with the "crown forces", civilians in Britain for being born to a "colonial" power.
They include the massed thousands who, after Massereene and after the Continuity IRA murder of PSNI constable Stephen Carroll, took to the streets of the north to reclaim them as peaceful. "We have nothing to say about the peace rallies. They have no effect on us."
Martin McGuinness, because of his IRA past and because of his unequivocal support for a political present, is particularly reviled and is the target for veiled threats.
What galls them most is that McGuinness outmanoeuvred the Real IRA after Massereene. His eloquent denial of their cause – as well as that symbolic picture of him standing firm with Peter Robinson and Hugh Orde – was the moment in history, not the fact that a tiny dissident group managed to kill two soldiers.
His appeal to disaffected youngsters in some of the north's poorest urban enclaves not to join the dissident movements must be reinforced politically and financially. There are many nationalist areas of Belfast that have not benefited enough from the peace process. Their needs are ignored at everyone's peril.
The Real IRA is trying to wrap itself up in history now, particularly at this time of year. Its Easter message is a masterclass in republican hoodoo. But last Friday was the 11th anniversary of the Good Friday agreement, that "jump together" that we all took. The resultant agreements and institutions, the cross-border cooperation in terms of security and policing, as well as politics, enterprise and culture must be treated as the priority they remain. There is still so much hurt and blame attached to the violence in the north that immense political efforts, cooperation and restraint have to be maintained continuously to steady nerves that result from acts of terror that, like Massereene, get through the security net.
These are tough times, as the budget has just shown. The expenditure, north and south, that underpins the peace dividend is worth every penny in terms of lives saved from the bullet and bomb – and lives rebuilt in a time of peace. Terrorism and thuggery have no place in post-Celtic Tiger Ireland.