Kevin Myers fulminates (subs needed) against what he believes is the blind eye that nationalist Ireland turns towards its own breaches of good will and trust under the Belfast Agreement, whilst persisting in the belief that every breakdown is always the fault of northern Unionists.By Kevin Myers (An Irishman’s Diary)
Will anyone notice or care? Well, of course, that west Brit stooge in the so-called Irishman’s Diary will probably refer to it, but that’s all right, because no one pays any attention to him anyway. But what about the rest of the media? What about that curiously incurious cadaver, the body politic? Can they all be relied on – as usual – to ignore the latest grotesque breach of the Belfast Agreement? Unquestionably!
Over the years, barely a week has gone by without some fresh violation of the IRA ceasefire, in spirit or in deed, and all have been ignored. Most recently, we had the million euro theft from Dublin Docks, the multi-million-pound tobacco theft in Belfast, the huge diesel-laundering and white-spirits stills being operated by Sinn Féin-IRA. Nobody really minds.
Government in neither Dublin or London says that this is unacceptable,
criminal behaviour which disbars the Shinners from power.
But what Niall Binead was found guilty of last week was of a different order from all that has gone on before. He is a senior activist in the constituency organisation of the Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh. He was arrested after gardaí investigated a van in Bray. The van had been lent to Sinn Féin – for “election purposes”. Inside the van, gardaí found four men as well as a sledgehammer, a black balaclava, a pickaxe handle, radios, and a fluorescent jacket with the word “Garda” on it.
In a nearby Nissan Almera car with false numberplates they found a blue flashing beacon, a Long Kesh baseball cap, a stun gun, a canister of CS gas and a roll of masking tape. A subsequent raid on Binead’s home revealed that he had intelligence details on the movement of TDs, and on no fewer than three ministers for justice. Other documents found in the Binead home were regarded as too sensitive for disclosure – which is just marvellous. The IRA can know these things, the Garda Special Branch can know them, as can the Special Criminal Court – but the plain people of Ireland, who underwrite all this, may not.
What was Aengus Ó Snodaigh’s response to the shocking disclosures before the Special Criminal Court? Why, it was to call for the Court’s closure, of course. “There is huge outrage and anger that once again we have seen people convicted of IRA membership, not on any evidence, but on the word of a Garda superintendent.” And he’s right to be angry. The poor dear’s confused.
For the entire Sinn Féin-IRA tribe has been given every reason to believe, almost time without number, that they are immune to the law. There was the Castlereagh break-in by the IRA, in which the IRA made off with the master-disk of British intelligence in the North, but there was no political price to be paid.
This was followed by the Stormont spying scandal, and instead of Sinn Féin being suspended from the Executive, the entire process was put into suspension. The unionists were thus punished equally with the culprits. Who then paid the electoral price for this? Why, poor dead David Trimble did, that’s who, while Shinners dipped their digestives into their tea at Downing Street and nodded sympathetically while Tony Blair lamented about Gordon Brown.
So of course the Shinners believed they had the right to break the law
whenever they wanted, and on either side of the Border. What a hideous shock it must have been for them to run into dedicated, professional police officers such as Garda Michael Masterson, Chief Superintendent Philip Kelly, and Sergeant Joe Devine. It was men such as these – outstanding and conscientious individuals – who protected this State from fascist subversion and naked terrorism through the years, and do so still.
On the other hand we have Aengus Ó Snodaigh, whose high regard for An Garda Síochána is such that he – with three other Shinner TDs – grinningly posed in Castlerea prison with the killers of Garda Jerry McCabe. Sinn Féin-IRA never felt the cold breath of exclusion for this grisly post-facto endorsement of a vile and wicked deed, so naturally they thought that – for them at least – the rule of law and order simply didn’t apply. They could, under the Munich – sorry, Belfast – Agreement, do pretty much as they pleased.
Which is what they’ve recently been doing in south Dublin. The Garda
operation against the Bray IRA gang also netted intelligence documents
naming drugs gangsters. These were not targets for IRA punishment squads; no, they were targets for extortion – which merely puts the IRA at the top of the drugs food-chain in the capital’s working-class ghettoes.
The Irish and British states have watched in supine abjection as Sinn
Féin-IRA operated according to its own à la carte version of the law. Now even the political establishment of the Republic is open to terrorist intrusion and blackmail.
Will there be uproar? Will there be a frank declaration that Sinn Féin-IRA has put itself beyond all reasonable political dealing? No, there won’t. Just read the Letters page of this newspaper, full of fulminations against the unionists and the Democratic Unionists. And our readers are “moderates”.
Nationalist Ireland is already pointing the finger of blame at David Trimble’s bobbing corpse, even as IRA activities make any deal with the DUP simply impossible. Who then will we blame? Why, the Prods, as always, of course.
First published in the Irish Times Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty