Secret Life of the IRA

The controversy over this book trundles on and is likely to do so for some time. The focus of a lot of the initial press interest is Gerry Adams and his alleged role in the disappearance and death of widowed mother of ten, Jean McConville.

Professor Paul Bew reviews it within a wider historical, even though he begins by suggesting that Adams emerges from the pages of the book smelling of “rotten cabbage”, primarily because of the accusations around Mrs McConville’s murder.

However he goes on to say that Adams was responsible for the journey the Republican movement has made from violence to peace. As a close advisor to the First Minister, he goes on to speculate what David Trimble might make of the revelations:

“…there is little alternative to dealing with him as the leader of a formidable section of Northern nationalist opinion. Indeed, Mr Trimble might well add that this book vindicates his analysis of Mr Adams as the republican leader who realised a very long time ago that the traditional republican project in Ireland was unattainable and had to be quietly buried.”

He finishes:

“The human beings who suffer in this book are real human beings with a right to life, not chips in a cynical political game. It remains for someone to tell the appalling story of loyalist terror gangs, but it is unlikely there will be a more intimate book on the IRA.”

Further comment from Hawk Girl and Natalie Solent.