Niall Collins calls for a Dail statement from Dessie Ellis…

Ah, so thirty years ago the British thought the now TD for Dublin North West Dessie Ellis had had a hand in fifty murders. It brought a flurry of defensive tweets suggesting Mr Ellis had been acquitted of conspiracy to murder, and thereby innocent of allegations.

Except of course these are not allegations. They’re just private notes from thirty years ago. In any case Mr Ellis has since spoken to Niall O’Connor in the Evening Herald:

…the Dublin North West TD cryptically admitted that he was forced into situations he “regrets” during his involvement with the IRA. “I’ve been a republican all my life and I don’t try and hide that. People across all movements, republican and loyalist, have been forced into situations that they regret and I’m no different,” htold the Herald. He then launched a ferocious attack on Fine Gael chairman Charlie Flanagan.

All Flanagan does is suggest Mr Ellis appear before a Truth Tribunal of the kind often advocated in the Dail by his party President Deputy Adams. A useful line to lay down the next time it gets raised. But the more interesting move comes from Fianna Fail’s Justice spokesman Niall Collins who has ‘requested’ that:

Dessie Ellis make a personal statement to the Dail after the Christmas break. He should outline all the facts of his involvement in these activities. An elected deputy to Dail Eireann cannot keep secrets crucial to their past concealed.

Such a statement would remove the British angle and make Deputy Ellis’s past a matter of business for Ireland’s sovereign parliament. And in the process get the story out of the mid holiday sheugh and into the press at the start of the New Year.

It would also burden Deputy Ellis with the responsibility not to mislead the Oireachtas. More importantly it puts the ball in his court. Will he play?

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