To see just how much trouble Sinn Fein is in just now, have a look at the headline of Noel Whelan’s Examiner column yesterday: Pub row murder a much bigger blow to SF than Belfast bank raid. That was yesterday, this is today. What will tomorrow bring?Much of what Whelan writes continues to hold a bearing on Sinn Fein’s current dilemma:
For the IRA, and for many in Sinn FÃ©in, the use of violence is seen as justified not only for â€˜politicalâ€™ purposes but also in the enforcement of internal discipline and in order to â€˜policeâ€™ certain communities. As a result, for many in the IRA violence has become a way of life. The availability of such regular opportunities for violent activity inevitably attracts or generates psychopaths.
The IRA also gives authority to local commanders over operatives and communities in a defined area and sanctions the use of violence to maintain control therein. In that set-up it becomes almost inevitable that some of those local commanders on occasion will deploy that violence in personal rather than â€˜politicalâ€™ disputes.
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