Alex Attwood, the SDLP’s security spokesman is quick to assert that the IRA is the only organisation with the capacity to have carried out the heist. His latest statement to the press:From Alex Attwood
“The comments of the Chief Constable will add to the growing sense on the ground that who else but the IRA could have carried out this robbery. People see through IRA denials and DUP finger-pointing and are making their own judgments. There is also anger among many people who struggle to make ends meet and worry about money and then see the IRA steal and smuggle to feather their own nests and fund their life styles.
“The SDLP have spoken time and time again of the deep damage done to
politics and democracy by the criminal actions of republicans and loyalists. The involvement of loyalists in the drug trade and corrupting communities is an acute threat. Time and time again the SDLP have said this must be faced up to. Now the governments must face criminality down.
“The governments must not in any shape or form diminish the essential
message behind the Northern Bank raid, namely that the IRA intends, whatever else happened, to continue criminality”.
Mark Durkan adds:
“IRA sources may have denied involvement, but so many of their denials in have turned out to be false in the past – like over the murder of Garda McCabe. So it is almost impossible to take their denials at face value now. And if the provisional movement was not responsible, will Sinn Fein say who they believe had the organisation and expertise to carry out the raid?
“Some have portrayed this raid as audacious. The truth is that it was
anything but. Two employees of the Northern Bank were forced to rob their own workplace on pain of death to them and to their families, who had to endure the trauma of being held hostage at gunpoint for over 24 hours. That is not audacious – it is brutal and callous.
“Those who carried out this raid have shown no respect for working people, no respect for families and no respect for the Good Friday Agreement. When the people of Ireland voted for the Agreement, they voted for paramilitaries to go quietly into retirement. They did not vote for armed robberies to fund the luxury lifestyles that many are trying to carve out for themselves”.
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