Eoghan Harris believes Bertie Ahern should be wary of being forced into positions in the upcoming round of negotiations that compromise the health and security of the Republic by the personal ambitions of Blair and Adams.He believes the British hae been working first hand with Adams on this project for some time:
As David Trimble’s biographer, Dean Godson, points out, “as far back as 1972 British intelligence thought Adams had potential”. And they were right. Adams had the potential to abort an armed struggle aimed at the British mainland and morph it into a political-cum-criminal conspiracy aimed at the Irish Republic.
The story goes that in the talks before Christmas, when Dublin diplomats demurred that the deal might not dispose of the IRA’s mafia intentions in the Irish Republic, they were roundly rebuffed by Blair’s Chief of Staff, Jonathan Powell, who told them that Sicily had to deal with a mafia, too.
The Powell story may be apocryphal but it accurately catches the amoral mind-set of the Blair government’s slumming with Sinn Fein for the past ten years. This slumming is chronicled by the transcripts of tapped phone conversations between British officials and Sinn Fein in Liam Clarke’s and Kathryn Johnston’s biography, Martin McGuinness: From Guns to Government.
Any armchair republicans among my readers who are still taken in by Adams’s attacks on so-called “securocrats” should consider the cosy relationship between Sinn Fein and the Blair government revealed by the exchange of July 18, 1999, when Dr Mo Mowlam, former Northern Ireland Secretary, calls Mr McGuinness “babe”. Hardly the language of someone likely to lock Martin up.
But a lot more bothersome is the conversation between Blair’s Chief of staff, Mr Jonathan Powell, and Martin McGuinness two days earlier, on July 16, where Mr Powell appears to agree to Mr McGuinness’s demand for Downing Street to form an executive with or without unionists, or as the Sinn Fein MP puts it, for London and Dublin “to think about moving on over their heads”.
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