Blair: did Sinn Fein leave space for criminal activities?

Fascinating spread of stories at the top of Nuzhound this morning. Jamie Lyons paraphrases Blair suggesting that “Unionists are ‘entirely justified’in refusing to share power with republicans in the light of the Belfast bank robbery”. However, according to the Irish Times, he’s determined to keep the door open to Sinn Fein. However, Blair himself seems to be fingering the Sinn Fein negotiation team:

“At the end we were essentially left with two outstanding difficulties which have to be resolved – one was the transparency surrounding the decommissioning of all IRA weapons and the other was IRA criminality.

“We wanted particular wording about IRA criminality.

“It was not possible for the Sinn Fein leadership to agree with that so therefore, as one of my colleagues said in those negotiations: ‘If they can’t agree, why is it they cannot agree’.

“And of course that leads to the inevitability of the question is: ‘Was the reason because they knew these kind of events were going on?”‘

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