Some interesting claims in the Sunday Business Post today.
Most interesting is the claim that the IRA never expected to get so much money which changed what would have been merely another deniable robbery to catastrophe. IRA’s own goal .With the medium-term prospects of a deal with unionists now dead, the robbery is viewed by IRA sources as a massive own goal.
These sources claim that the Sinn Féin members with alleged dual roles in the IRA leadership would not have sanctioned the robbery had they known how much was going to be stolen.
But the sources conceded that Sinn Féin members almost certainly knew that smaller, so-called ‘deniable’, operations were going to happen after the breakdown of the talks on power-sharing nearly two weeks before the robbery.
As well as discussing claims that the IRA were serious about disbanding
The Sunday Business Post understands that the IRA was on the verge of complete disbandment before the talks broke down. This was communicated to volunteers in the Republic in face-to-face briefings by senior figures in the Belfast-based leadership.
“I was visited [by a figure within the IRA leadership] and told that the whole movement was going to be dismantled – the structures, the lot,” said an informed source.
“I was asked if there was anything I wanted, anything they could do for me.
“There would be just a small team left to protect the core leadership from assassination.”
The post also reveals tensions within the movement.
When asked what the money would be used for when it was cleaned, a bemused IRA source said: “That’s an interesting question. It’s a lot of money.” Before the ceasefire, the stolen funds would have paid for arms and the day-to-day living and travel expenses of volunteers.
In the post-1997 ceasefire era – in which IRA volunteers have access to jobs and arms are being destroyed, rather than bought – the IRA’s financial health has never been better.
“It begs the question: what was the point of doing it?” one IRA source said.
“There’s a lot of resentment out there. Money is going to election candidates. I know of some who are getting €30,000 a year while the on-the-runs [IRA members in exile abroad] are not getting a look-in.
“The political fall-out from the robbery has highlighted the widening gap between Sinn Féin and the IRA. Something like this [the Belfast raid] happens and the suits are getting all squeamish and uppity about it.
“These people only joined the party [Sinn Féin] after the ceasefire. But this is what we’ve been doing for 30 years.”