The Blanket

That Book

Tommy McKearney

There may be a small handful of trusting souls somewhere who believe Gerry Adams when he says that he has never been a member of the IRA. If such a group exists, it is not making itself heard in its efforts to substantiate his denial.

If Adams' credibility was not so grievously undermined by his very hard to accept protestations of 'non-membership', his other comments about other issues raised in the Moloney book (A Secret History of the IRA) might deserve more credence. The blunt fact is that at this point in time, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that that the widely respected journalist Ed Moloney (with his legendary network of contacts) is emerging as the man with the more convincing story to tell.

Apart from the semi-farcical nature of Adams' IRA membership issue, sensational disclosures about the 'Disappeared', Bloody Friday, the Loughgall ambush and intercepted gun-running operations have, naturally enough, caught media attention. It is unfortunate, though, that these incidents tend to distract attention away from the main trust of the book.

In reality, the most explosive revelation in Moloney's book is that Gerry Adams entered into surreptitious negotiations with the British Government long before the 1992 ceasefire and more crucially - long before he informed the rest of the Republican Movement.

All but the simple minded know that to send such a signal (i.e. that the single most influential person in the Republican Movement was keen to discuss what in essence was a negotiated surrender) posed grave dangers for those unwittingly continuing with the struggle. Moloney may not have produced the 'smoking gun' evidence to prove that the British Government and its intelligence agencies decided to cold-bloodedly clear a path for these negotiations. Few will doubt, however, that the government that sank the General Belgrano in order to steer the course of events in the South Atlantic war, would be too squeamish or too ladylike to arrange to have a series of lethal attacks directed against the IRA and its supporters.

There will be those who say that it was a matter or vital necessity to end the IRA campaign and that the end result has justified whatever subterfuge and bloodshed was employed towards that end. Such judgements are of course usually coloured by ones personal outlook but it is worth pointing to two important facts.

In the first instance, the series of 'exemplary ' executions carried out against the republican heartland of Tyrone has left a deep and bitter legacy in the folk memory of an area that is only reluctantly subdued. Moreover, the current process - the Good Friday Agreement - is not so flawless or secure that it guarantees permanent peace and stability. In the event that the good Friday Agreement falls apart, the Adams strategy will no longer have the cover of real politik which says that something may be nasty but can be excused if it works.

In the current climate, Moloney's book is unlikely to do more than discomfort the Sinn Fein party and leader. However, if circumstance were to radically change for any reason, it could prove to be one of the major factors in the implosion of the Sinn Fein party's credibility and authority.


This article also appears in Fourthwrite and is carried here with permission from the author.








Index: Current Articles + Latest News and Views + Book Reviews + Letters + Archives





The man who lets a leader prescribe his course is a wreck being towed to the scrap heap.
- Ayn Rand

Index: Current Articles

6 October 2002


Other Articles From This Issue:


That Book
Tommy McKearney


"SOS - Save Our Stormont"

Anthony McIntyre


Birds of Ireland
Brian Mór


The Right to Live
Davy Carlin


Interview with Colombian Human Rights Worker



Willpower of Revolutionaries


4 October 2002


Revealing Secrets


At Last We Know the Human Cost of Gerry Adams

Paul Bew


The Boys of the Old Brigade Are Not Happy
Brian Mór


Segregation in Oldham
Mark Hayes


Common Denominators

Aine Fox


SF - Stormont First
Anthony McIntyre


Dispatches from the U.S. Anti-War Movement
Julie Brown


Preventing the Bush Turkey Shoot
Steve McWilliams




The Blanket



Latest News & Views
Index: Current Articles
Book Reviews
The Blanket Magazine Winter 2002
Republican Voices

To contact the Blanket project with a comment, to contribute an article, or to make a donation, write to: