Gerry Adams after weeks of bombarding from virtually every other party in British and Irish politics finally issued a statement on Monday regarding the alleged criminality within the Republican movement. “No republican worthy of the name can be involved in criminality of any kind.” As Angeline Christafis points out however, Sinn Fein’s word no longer counts for much outside its own support:
But this week, statements by Sinn FÃ©in are no longer accepted by politicians at face value. And behind Mr Adams, at an IRA commemoration in Strabane on Sunday, stood an honour guard in full paramilitary uniform. The message was clear: We are still here, despite Mr Adams saying that conditions had to be created so that the IRA “ceases to be”. That central paradox of the republican movement is the unavoidable hook on which Sinn FÃ©in is now caught.
Whether the IRA did or didn’t do the Northern Bank, or whether its volunteers were or were not involved in the brutal slaughter of Robert McCartney and its apparent coverup, the party has uncharacteristically found itself in permenent defence against a raft of accusations, which difficult though they may be to prove, they will be even more difficult for Sinn Fein and the IRA to disprove.