Damien Kiberd, former editor of the Sunday Business Post is alarmed by the torrent of criticism levelled at Sinn Fein and the IRA in the months since the Northern Bank raid. But, he argues it may backfire.
Also, he has an impressive compendium of reasons why he beleives the media is playing the Sinn Fein man, rather than the ball:
A whole army of commentators now appears dedicated to attacking the party president, Gerry Adams in particular. They include writers who assemble lengthy tomes which are ostensibly histories but whose underlying agenda is to dissect him and his record.
They include commentators who bizarrely attacked him through the 1994-2000 period from a sort of ultra-left perspective but who now apply conventional right-wing arguments to attack him and with venom. They include whole sets of newspapers where desk executives and commentators have made a living by attacking the Provos for decades.
Gerry Adams said on Saturday that the acerbity of the attack was because other people feared that Sinn Féin would take their votes. Thats true but there are other reasons too: old hatreds, festering personal resentments, people who are bugged by the access Sinn Féin got in Washington, London and elsewhere in recent years, maybe even a few old-fashioned spooks out there somewhere who are meddling around, hoping for Sinn Féin to disintegrate and would happily live with the potential consequences.
There are people who hate the Sinn Féin leadership and there are also people who would like to see the partys wings clipped in its 100th year.
BTW: for those curious enough, according to the Shorter Oxford English Dcitionary, the origin of the word Gendarmerie was as an historical term refering to a body of cavalry. It’s use in the modern French context began as a reference to a military force employed as police.