Tom McGurk raids the vaults of history for several precedents of the journey from armed insurgency to democratic power. However, he believes in trying to keep the Republican movement united Sinn Fein is not only flying in the face of those precendents, it may be ducking its own responsibility to provide its community with the leadership it’s mandate has long promised, but has yet to deliver:
In the aftermath of the Belfast robbery, only the Sinn Féin leadership itself knows the dimensions of the problems it faces with its armed wing. Equally, one must ask how much longer must its voters have to accept that they are voting for a party whose leadership is only partly visible?
The events of the last few weeks have inflicted huge damage on its credibility and on all those in government who have spent long hours attempting to square the old historical circle. For once their future is in their hands.
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