The North has plunged into a political crisis, the Stormont institutions are on the brink of collapse, and unionist and nationalist politicians are bickering as though the peace process never happened.
It may be argued that the events leading to this chaos matter not a jot to people in the Republic. IRA men killed an ex-IRA man. Big deal. Get over it. Sure gangland killings are a regular occurrence on the streets of Dublin. They don’t bring down the government.
This argument is shallow, flawed and deeply dangerous. Those who cherish democracy should reject it wholeheartedly. Excuses that the killing of Kevin McGuigan doesn’t merit a punitive political response amount to saying that the state should collude in murder.
Imagine this scenario unfolding next year. Sinn Féin is part of a coalition government in Leinster House. A Sinn Féin TD is Tanaiste and three colleagues also hold ministerial portfolios.
A prominent party supporter is shot dead in Dublin. The gardai launch a murder investigation and vow to bring the killers to justice. But senior IRA figures, who double job as Sinn Féin members, aren’t content with this.
They don’t want to wait on police officers, prosecutions, courts and all that tedious business. They prefer their own, alternative ‘criminal justice system’. They launch an investigation. They knock on doors, interview witnesses, and take statements. Then they meet, discuss the evidence, and decide that a father-of-nine is ‘guilty’ and should be shot dead.
Would Sinn Féin be allowed to remain in government in the Republic? Not a chance. Yet the above sequence of events is exactly what was played out in Belfast, culminating in the murder of Kevin McGuigan.
Those who the police believe ordered and implemented the murder of Kevin McGuigan are mainstream not mavericks. [added emphasis]
To repeat myself,
It’s not the still-extant Provisional IRA structures that are the immediate cause for concern, although “stupid” questions could, and should, be asked about their ultimate purpose, it’s the involvement of those Provisional IRA ‘structures’ in the events leading up to, and including, the murder of Kevin McGuigan, and the continued denials [of that reality! – Ed] which have followed.
…a key element in the recent events under investigation, which I noted previously, [is] the Provisional IRA investigation into the murder of Jock Davison that preceded the murder of Kevin McGuigan, which police have stated they believe involved members of the Provisional IRA.
The men who carried out the inquiry included a man who has been associated with the Restorative Justice movement, a former or serving adjutant general of the IRA who has been targeted by MI5 for surveillance in the past, its director of intelligence who himself had a recent death threat, and a former OC of the Belfast Brigade.