In recent times we often hear the narrative that has been orchestrated so carefully by apologists for Sinn Fein – namely the huge personal risks that Adams and Mc Guinness took for peace. I do not believe that such an argument is credible. The people that really took the risks for peace down the years were those in the northern catholic community (and indeed outside it also) who defied the IRA and whose political and moral courage often cost them their lives…
I also challenge yesterday’s claim made by Adams himself and his acolytes that the intertwining campaigns of Sinn Fein and the IRA have made a United Ireland an achievable dream hence their call for a border poll. In my opinion nothing could be further from the truth. Having served in public life in the Republic of Ireland for almost two decades, I believe that a majority in the Republic of Ireland would not support Irish unity at any stage in the near future. I believe this for two reasons.
Firstly, the brutal terrorist campaign of the IRA diminished the desire for imminent Irish unity in the Republic of Ireland itself.
Secondly, in a post Brexit world, taxpayers in the Republic would not be prepared to pay higher taxes of almost €10 billion a year to absorb the north.
However, some might argue that Adams has nonetheless played a major role in bringing about an IRA ceasefire which eventually paved the way for the establishment of power -sharing institutions in Northern Ireland and better North- South and East-West relations. On that point I am in total agreement about his recent legacy.
. My plea to him is
“You have huge political acumen and also immense political capital and good will especially with northern nationalists please use it to restore devolution and then we can all agree that you will have left a real and lasting political legacy to all the people of this island”.
Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London