Sinn Fein's contra leadership has gone public
to draw attention to what it claims are threats
to the lives of some of its senior members. These
threats are said to have emanated from republican
opponents and recently disaffected IRA members.
If such threats exist they are loathsome and should
be withdrawn immediately. The war is over. Republicans
lost, the Brits won. No amount of settling up
with those believed to have sold out will reverse
that. Besides, as Nietzsche warned, 'mistrust
those in whom the urge to punish is strong.' Whatever
the tenets of the tradition republicans hail from,
there are no legitimate targets.
said, the republican dissidents have no history
of physically attacking Sinn Fein contras. But
the Provisional movement of which Sinn Fein is
an integral part has killed, kidnapped, degraded,
intimidated, threatened and demonised republicans
who dissent from the Provisionals' partitionist
strategy. By way of example: Joe O'Conner murdered,
Kevin Perry shot and maimed, Tommy Gorman's house
besieged by a mob, Brendan Shannon kidnapped,
Carrie Twomey intimidated and her home picketed
by a gang, Marian Price visited by the thought
police, Bobby Tohill tortured, Dolours Price threatened,
Michael Donnelly left with broken limbs. And that
is only chapter one of a very long book.
BBC security correspondent, Brian Rowan, while
thinking the threat could exist, nevertheless
said there was no evidence of it other than Sinn
Fein's word, which is about as useful as bad breath.
At the start of the week the PSNI were denying
any knowledge of the threat. According to Rowan,
the Special Branch knows much about the
dissident groups. They have their informers inside
them - but there is no police information on this
suggested threat to the most senior figures in
the Sinn Fein leadership. A day or
two later Hugh Orde reworked this position: the
Sinn Fein leadership say their perception is the
threat against them has increased - I don't think
they're wrong. Yet the PSNI have
not been out to visit anyone from Sinn Fein to
inform them of the supposed threat they face.
In fact the only person visited by the PSNI in
the past week, seemingly, was a relative of the
McCartney family. He was told by the police he
was under threat from the Provisional IRA.
if there is truth to the threat allegations, Sinn
Fein leaders look ridiculous recruiting Orde to
their cause after having dismissed his testimony
as valueless once he had honestly accused their
movement of robbing the Northern Bank. Given that
they also howled for hard evidence and due process
in the aftermath of the same robbery, their allegations
of threats ring hollow when there is nothing other
than their own worthless word to sustain them.
And doubts have been further strengthened by the
promotion of the following Adams porky: I
have no problem whatsoever and in fact would actively
encourage very inclusive debate on every dimension
of strategy and tactics. Too many
will recognise in that the same truth status as
underpins the threat claim.
touch curious is Hugh Orde's timing. It comes
in the wake of reports in the Sunday Tribune that
he and Adams had a private tete a tete at Hillsborough
Castle, during which Adams outlined the lay of
the land regarding those who oppose his move to
endorse Orde's British police force. Viewed in
a certain way, this can be seen as Adams colluding
with Orde, perhaps not for the first time, against
his republican critics. Elsewhere, but in similar
vein, Michael McDowell has pointed out that the
Sinn Fein leadership has stated to the Northern
security authorities the view of a threat from
some of their former colleagues in the Republican
movement for their safety.
is nothing strange about any of this. The story
is told that during a recent radio interview a
former member of the SAS, when asked about his
role in the North of Ireland, said he initially
thought he was shooting the enemies of the Queen
only to later discover that he was in fact shooting
the enemies of Gerry Adams.
republicans see Sinn Fein in witch hunting mode.
The party is finding it difficult to unite cohesively
and attack its republican adversaries on the grounds
of policing. Support the PSNI and crush the force's
republican opponents is not a cry everybody within
Provisional ranks feels comfortable rallying to.
So the leadership tries this hoax. It is as old
as Adam and Eve. In times of trouble, close ranks
and find a suitable witch to burn at the stake.
Putting witches to the torch helps focus the minds
of the grassroots on matters other than policing.
This is a call to the party sandbags to huddle
together around their leaders and protect them
from the evil dissidents, a coven of who supposedly
sit around a cauldron casting spells and plotting
mayhem. The leader of the Sinn Fein macho group,
Gerry Adams, demagogue that he is, knows how to
play any fool who will listen. He will, as HL
Mencken put it, preach doctrines he knows to be
untrue to men he knows to be idiots.
his cohort, Martin McGuinness has warned the republican
constituency not to allow itself to be exploited
or manipulated by republicans opposed to himself.
No, just allow itself to be exploited by the leadership
of which he is a part; which has manipulated the
republican grassroots for decades, lying to them,
taking them to places they promised never to see;
covering up with more lies to mask the identity
of the destination they invariably reached.
has also expressed disappointment that some disaffected
Provisionals who should know better
are standing shoulder to shoulder with dissidents.
Not half as disgusted as the disaffected and the
dissidents are at McGuinness seeking to stand
shoulder to shoulder with the same British police
force that killed, tortured, framed and jailed
who feel betrayed by the Sinn Fein leadership
do not talk about harming its leaders. What they
do discuss are memories of their comrades going
out in the morning to begin operations without
any breakfast, patches in their jeans and cardboard
lining their shoes. Later the same day they ceased
to exist. They were sent out by some of the people
who today have managed to prosper from their lives
and deaths; people who urged them to take the