So it is now apparently clear why the IRA are so set on holding on to their weapons. It is nothing to do with appearing to have surrendered to the Brits, or to do with political bargaining for Sinn Fein. It is all about the need to continue the intimidation of their own Republican Communities. They currently claim to represent the normal working class people of the nationalist areas, but in fact they are holding them all to ransom with the threat of arms and violence, so they can hold on to power. The couragous actions of the McCartney sisters has shown Sinn Fein for what they truely are, IRA in suits. Because of the high profile publicity surrounding the incident, the intimidation of the family is not working. Whilst Sinn Fein are publically stating support for the sisters, inside they are probably seething at the fact that they are being humiliated so much by 'one of their own'. so far no witnesses have come forward to the murder of their brother, despite the fact that there was approx 70 other persons in the bar at the time. It just goes to show that the intimidation of their own population continues, all down to the fear factor associated with the weapons held by the IRA. Without those weapons, Sinn Fein/IRA would no longer wield so much power over the nationalist areas. It will be interesting to see how they fair in the upcoming general election.