No statement yet from Cllr Dessie Ward on his resignation from Sinn Féin. [Adds – Apparently Sinn Féin “no longer reflects where [he stands] on the political spectrum”.] Meanwhile, in the Irish Times, Fintan O’Toole makes an important point about SF president Gerry Adams’ denial. From the Irish Times article.
The problem is that Adams has gone much further than simply drawing a veil over his role in the armed struggle. He has created the most brazen fiction in contemporary Irish history. He could have maintained complete silence. He could have adopted McGuinnesss line of acknowledging that he was indeed a senior IRA commander while refusing to talk in any detail about what he did.
Instead, Adams has told us again and again that he was never even a member of the IRA. He even told Gay Byrne on the old Late Late Show that he never even threw a stone in a riot, making him perhaps the only young man of his age on the Falls Road not to have done so. This matters for a number of reasons. The first is that no one at all believes it. There is something innately toxic about a public position that demands of all of us, not simply that we look the other way, but that we actually collude in a known fiction. It means that everyone else who talks about key episodes in the recent history of Ireland has to be regarded as an outrageous liar.
Moloney said it was understandable the emphasis placed on Gerry Adamss alleged role in the IRA, but stressed the current controversy was partly of the Sinn Féin presidents own making. “He chose to deny something the dogs in Ballymurphy knew was the case, which was that he was not just a member of the IRA but a senior member of the IRA and I think actually this has been an own goal for him in many ways.
“The effect that this had within a broad range of republicans, not all [of whom] are dissidents or against the peace process, [was] a considerable degree of discomfort at the fact that he seems to be absolving himself of responsibility for the bloodshed which, in their view, he ordered and helped to organise.”