Noel Whelan has been surfing the net, with some interesting results:
If the language and phraseology used by Sinn Féin leaders in the last few days sounds familiar, that’s because we’ve heard it all from them before. Here’s where the internet comes in. A few quick internet searches throw up a range of similar denials in the media from Sinn Féin at the time of previous crises in the peace process.
The search engine on the RTÉ website throws up what is perhaps the most interesting link of all a sound file of a remarkable interview given by Sinn Féin chairman Mitchell McLaughlin to Mark Little on Morning Ireland on August 16, 2001.
The Sinn Féin chairman was asked by Mark Little to respond to recent requests from John Hume and David Andrews for Sinn Féin to clarify their links with Monaghan, McCauley and Connolly. In response McLaughlin had the following to say: “Well, I am surprised. I felt we had fairly robustly and clearly indicated that these men have no connection with Sinn Féin.”
THEN, in a familiar Sinn Féin technique, McLaughlin followed up this flat denial with a questioning of the motive of the persons who doubt Sinn Féin.
“We have made that clear from Monday when this story first broke and I am more than surprised if John Hume and David Andrews are unaware of that position. So I wonder the reasons why they would issue such a statement when, in fact, our party’s position was put clearly on the record.”