A process on the past is pointless if there is “no corporate way of verifying”.

There was a lot of whinging about the politicisation of this difficulty (or ‘diff’s in Twitterised ‘unspeak’) over Mairia Cahill’s story, Barney Rowan makes a very important and very real political point over at Eamonn’s place:

What jumped out at me was the line that the IRA had long left the scene and that there is “no corporate way of verifying” if an investigation had been conducted. Am I reading that line correctly? Is that what Adams meant?

That the IRA and its corporate knowledge disappeared in some wave of a magic wand and an order given in 2005?

Is that meant to be a credible explanation? Why not just speak to those who were about at the time, those who were in positions of leadership, those who would still know, those who can still easily be contacted?

And what does “no corporate way of verifying” mean in relation to the wider questions of the past – not just on alleged abuse cases dealt with by the IRA but the bombs and the bullets?

Does it mean that the IRA no longer has to answer in a way that is still expected of others?

Those words “no corporate way of verifying” need to be clarified in relation not just to the Mairia Cahill case but  the many other cases that were part of a bloody and violent past. A process on the past is pointless if there is “no corporate way of verifying”.

And a process on the past will go nowhere if people can’t remember that they were in the IRA and what investigations were or weren’t conducted by that organisation. On the past, the IRA still has to speak and answer for itself if those are the rules expected of others.

There can be no hiding behind a sentence or a position that the IRA has now gone away.

Today (Tuesday) Mairia Cahill tweeted that she welcomed the announcement by the Public Prosecution Service that the handling of her court cases is to be independently reviewed. And that announcement was also welcomed by Sinn Fein.

But with the Executive parties due to discuss the past in all-party talks on Thursday, that line in the Adams Blog should also be considered.

What is meant by “no corporate way of verifying”?

The standard operating procedures used by the party to tamp this story down,  also burns their own ‘professed’ hand at the current political table.  It also leaves the families of those murdered in Ballymurphy, McGurks and other places where state forces are thought to have had some culpability for the deaths of innocent civilians completely adrift.

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