Meltdown unlikely.

Robin Livingstone, editor of the Andersontown News, has an interesting article in the Guardian, This crisis threatens to halt the advance of Sinn Féin, in which he assesses the impact of the Northern Bank Robbery and the McCartney murder on Sinn Féin.

My only objection to this otherwise excellent article is that he ignores the terrorising of the families held hostage during the robbery.

His comments about Wednesday’s IRA statement ring true, although the slightly acidic “keening” jars –

Sinn Féin’s terse response that anyone who knew anything should make a statement to their solicitor was in keeping with their opposition to the Police Service of Northern Ireland, but it sounded callous against the keening of the McCartney sisters, and the grumblings of discontent in Short Strand could be heard in Cork. Hence Wednesday’s unexpected IRA statement, which was warmly welcomed by the family. “Anyone who can help the family should do so,” the statement read.

Thin gruel indeed, you might think. But in the carefully considered language of P O’Neill, that line contained much more than nine words. Given that the family had stated that it was four-square behind the police in its attempts to catch the killer, any “help” given to them would be passed on to the PSNI. That’s a reality that the IRA acknowledged when it issued its statement.

Whether any witnesses will take advantage of this effective amnesty from the IRA to come forward only time will tell.

After pointing out that SF should consider themselves lucky to have 10 weeks to recover and regroup, he ends the article with a surprising reminder of the damage done by the disappeared.