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The State Were In Tuesday, 8 April, 2003, 18:13 GMT 19:13 UK
The end of an Ira?
Anyone wanna buy a gun? One previous owner...
President Bush parachuted into Northern Ireland this week for another summit with Tony.

Everyone's hoping we're another day closer to the IRA declaring an end to their war - and anybody else's they fancy stopping while they're at it..

The IRA called its first ceasefire in 1994, and even after all this time the British and American governments are still very enthusiastic about the prospect of disarmament.

Although as they gave Saddam twelve years to do it, the provisionals have probably only got another three years before the coalition goes in.

At the moment, the Stormont Assembly which is supposed to govern Northern Ireland is once again suspended. So what has to happen for the assembly to rise again?

The Reverend Ian Paisley
Not a whisperer
and the unionist parties, the ones who support British rule, are still refusing to negotiate with Sinn Fein until the IRA offers an "act of completion".

Sinn Fein has in turn accused them of a whispering campaign, though with Rev Paisley that does seem unlikely.

But what does an act of completion actually mean? Well, it potentially means the IRA stopping anything that helps them to wage war

This includes Cigarette Smuggling, trading in pirated CDs and Video Games - and any other means they have of raising funds.

IRA Car boot sale

"This carriage clock is 6, this Buckaroo game, with no missing parts is 2, I'm afraid that the gagged, joyriding teenager, with his hands gaffa taped to his feet is not for sale."

Of course, though, if decommissioning succeeds there will be job losses for hundreds of former activists and paramilitaries on both sides. What are they going to do?

Plenty have already gone into bar work or manual trades, but some have become poets and writers - for the republicans, a life of kneecappings has meant suppressing their inner sensitivity.

We know this because borrowing records at the Maze prison library still exist. It turns out that the republicans favoured heavyweight texts like "Pedagogy of the Oppressed" by Paulo Freire, "Das Kapital" by Karl Marx and "The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists" by Robert Tressell.

Whereas the most popular author in the loyalist library was Danielle Steel...

You might be surprised to find just how carefree the loyalist cause can be.

Sammy Duddy has an unusual past for political representative of the UDA - and this is absolutely true - he was a drag artist. This is how he describes his former life...
Sammy Duddy

"I wore a miniskirt many a time, but it was usually a long dress, a straight black wig, a pair of falsies I bought in Blackpool and loads of make-up to cover my freckles. The darker the mascara the better and scarlet lipstick, because I was a scarlet woman."

The self-styled Dolly Parton of Belfast never put his handbag verifiably beyond use.

He's retired now and told us that he was tempted to return to his alter-ego 'Samantha' - if it wasn't for his wife sticking her stiletto in the idea.

Perhaps he can provide an inspiration to all those soon-to-be unemployed republicans.

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