As I noted some time ago, the biggest problem Sinn Fein pose to society is their settled policy of partial disclosure. Do you believe Detective Superintendent Geddes’ assessment or Sinn Fein’s local representatives? On one level that’s matter of political choice.
But as we have seen over the Cahill allegations, the party only ever says what’s good for it, even if it turns out to be a lie. [When it gets serious, of course you have to lie! – Ed] But if we (incl Sinn Fein) say we accept the lawful authority of the PSNI then Geddes is the only serious witness of the two.
Ed Moloney, who has been tracking this story more freely than most of the rest of us recently, notes:
…his statement clearly implied that a) the Provisional IRA does still exist and b) its members happily co-operate with dissident republicans opposed to the peace process and the ceasefire in an organisation that targets people accused of killing senior IRA members, viz one Jock Davison.
In other words determined opponents of the peace process work with and do favours for republicans whose leadership they abhor.
This is all so full of unasked and unanswered questions, as well as simply unsustainable propositions, not to mention the massive implications for the integrity of the Good Friday Agreement that it is difficult to know where to begin.
That’s quite a thing for everyone else to have to swallow and live with. It begs all kinds of unanswerable questions about the level of knowledge (and authority) of this operation within the higher end of Provisional movement.
Was this just Provisional friends of Davison or were they acting on orders from the centre of an organisation that we’ve been told no longer exists? And what does the political leadership know exactly? A leadership renowned for its control freakery.
And as Eilis O’Hanlon notes, Gerry Adams’ silence on the matter is deafening.
Folk I spoke with last night were somewhat confused by the statement. But Geddes is a cop and sticking rigidly to his own investigations. The question over higher involvement is the remit of the intelligence agencies (and their informers) which answers only to Westminster.
So far Sinn Fein is concerned they will try to get this mess as quickly as possible into the Someone Else’s Problem Field.
The DUP are talking to Assembly colleagues about excluding Sinn Fein from the Executive. Having watched David Trimble get severely punished for trusting the word of the Provisionals Peter Robinson has little choice but to fish or cut bait.
Of course the cynic would say what better time to tell the world that the Provisionals have not gone away than when Stormont is already near collapse anyway over Welfare Reform? [And what better demonstration of your material belief in a hierarchy of victims? – Ed]
What price a life? Not much it seems, when turf has to be protected.
Now I begin to understand (if only darkly) the wild reaction to my short report on the original killing, when I referred to Gambetta’s of coding between ‘Ordinary Decent Criminals‘ in my initial note on the killing of Jock Davison.
Meanwhile, Robinson has his excuse to move in Stormont. Any exclusion will require the help of the SDLP. Do they bear the moral and political brunt of this killing and or run the gauntlet of being accused of running to the side of Unionists?
They did it reluctantly (almost naively) when they passed Anne’s Law.
But now we know the PSNI believe the Provisionals are still operational the stakes are much higher. Those tight electoral sums may give some folk pause for concern in the Republic too.
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