One of the big problems of what Martin Dillon christened the Dirty War is its distinct lack of transparency. As Gerry Adams correctly notes in an op ed in the Irish Times today (subs needed), all the evidence that led to the closure of Stormont was found in the home of a British agent. Ergo, the whole thing comes down to a British conspiracy to close Stormont, and possibly as the British spy himself suggested last week, as part of a concerted campaign to ‘Save Dave’ Trimble. In the absence of fuller disclosure that remains a leap of faith on the part of the faithful.
The so-called Stormontgate affair was a carefully constructed lie created by the Special Branch to cause maximum political damage to the Good Friday agreement. The fact is that the collapse of the political institutions, the assembly, the executive and the all-Ireland ministerial council, was caused by elements within the British security system.
He calls for the reigning in of Britain’s espionage:
If Britain’s war is over in this country, if British policy in Ireland is to become totally peaceful, then the British prime minister has to rein in the securocrats. The activities of the British security agencies in Ireland must be brought to an end. Political policing must be brought to an end. Achieving this as part of our wider efforts to see the Good Friday agreement fully implemented remains the focus for Sinn Féin as we face into the new year.
And notes the change in status of the IRA earlier in the year changes the nature of his movement’s struggle:
The year 2005 will be recorded as one of those pivotal points when profound developments changed the future. The IRA announcement in July that it had formally ended its armed campaign and its decisive move in September to deal with the issue of IRA arms were initiatives of lasting significance. These developments have opened up the possibility of real and significant progress in early 2006. There will undoubtedly be more challenges and difficulties in the period ahead. But those elements which oppose the peace process can only slow down the process of change. They cannot stop it.
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