Kevin Toolis writing in the Times today, believes Sinn Fein has made a huge miscalculation. Though his case that Sinn Fein will never again be trusted is overstated, he raises a number of questions that will reverberate in the crediblity vacuum created by the Chief Constable’s allegation that the IRA is the chief suspect of the Northern Bank raid.
There are still lot of questions to be answered. How could the IRA leadership, including Mr Adams and Mr McGuinness, be so stupid as to endorse/allow/oversee/be unaware of the consequences of their comrades’/subordinates’ heist at the Northern Bank?
Who was the political dunderhead on the IRA Army Council, one of seven men, who argued that the IRA could carry out such a robbery, using textbook IRA tactics, and that the finger of suspicion would never be directed at republicans? And where were every other IRA Army Council member’s brains when they agreed?
Whatever the exact answers, we can derive only two equally depressing assessments about the current status of the Provisional IRA.
One, the IRA, despite decades of political posturing, remains a malevolent, irreformable terrorist organisation incapable of adhering to the rule of law. Two, the IRA is a stupid, malevolent, irreformable terrorist organisation.
War is not likely to break out in Northern Ireland in the foreseeable future. The deal will hold, but the Northern Bank robbery places real question marks over where the future peace road goes.
Whether evidence is forthcoming in the near future sufficient to enable the IMC to make their definative judgement, this is one big chicken that is likely to come home to roost for someone in the know, whether it’s now or five years hence!
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