History and politics buff Larry Hughes delves into the deferential demeanour of the Sinn Fein grassroots when fed with incredulous guff by the party leadership.
Fact: A thing that is indisputably the case.
Faith: The facts may tell you one thing. But God is not limited by the facts. Choose faith in spite of the facts.
During the most recent trip abroad by the SF leader, this time to another photo op' at yet another funeral, this time the Cuban revolutionary leader Castro's, the cat was set loose amongst the pigeons in a most mischievous and devious fashion in his absence. It was most inconveniently and embarrassingly reported in the media that the SF party leader had forwarded the names of four people of interest to the Garda in connection with an ongoing historical murder inquiry. Three of the names are apparently serving high ranking SF elected representatives and the fourth a former high ranking IRA man. This gave some people pause for thought. Not for a single second the SF grass roots and 'faithful' however.
In exchanges of a private and public nature with friends both in the SF party and general SF voters I was surprised that even today at the tail end of 2016 and after all the untruths uttered and exposed by Gerry Adams their faith was collectively unwavering. 'It's a set up' was the common perception amongst the flock. He was apparently (Adams) given the names by a third party and the idea was if he didn't forward the information he could have faced charges of with-holding said information. It was a well laid trap to ensnare their glorious leader. This was asserted with a solid confidence and assuredness.
Then of course came the admission from the horses mouth that he had indeed forwarded an email to the Garda detailing four persons of interest, one of whom the media and Garda revealed had not until then been a person of interest to the Garda investigating the murder. Not merely that, but Mr Adams, after he put on record his disquiet at the revelation of his email to the Guards, went on to conceded that he had in fact been providing the Garda with information on border area crime for years. At this stage the 'set up' and righteous disbelief on the part of the SF fellow travellers was quickly replaced with 'all crime needs to be reported, that has been the SF position for years' in some quarters and a stony silence in others. Friendships became briefly strained and a little testy in some cases. Thankfully only briefly.
Twenty years into a 'peace process' agenda and in the absence of violence that belated stance on crime by SF supporters and members, were it not a tactical defence, would almost seem an admirable position. However, Gerry Adams refusal or inability to pass on information to the authorities regarding his own brother and other sex offenders, the most detested forms of all criminal activity, is interesting in this context. Without getting into the details of all of that or his dismal record for some time now regarding his relationship with the truth, it is somewhat surprising surely that he would be so willing in contrast to sex offenders crimes, to pass on in secret, information concerning the names of people involved in an IRA political murder. A murder that hadn't been admitted to for some decades by the IRA in a similar manner to those murders of the so called disappeared.
What the SF membership and followers I am in touch with seem unable to fathom apart from Adams' personal unsuitability as a public representative never mind as a party leader, is that we have now arrived at yet another major watershed for the SF leadership. Mary Lou has placed on record her distaste at certain IRA actions. Actions carried out when she was nowhere to be seen in republican circles. Martin McGuinness has also said some IRA actions were murder and should be apologised for. Have we reached a stage where after the slaughter of just about every other republican sacred cow we are now going to see the former Provo leadership, now career politicians, cherry picking out IRA actions of 'distaste' during the 'war' and throwing those involved to the security force wolves, via confidential secret emails?
Is it conceivable now that those volunteers involved in such actions as the Enniskillen Remembrance Day atrocity or the Robert Bradford murder to name but two incidents, can expect their names to be cherry picked from the dirty war history archives of the IRA and forwarded to the relevant authorities? It certainly seems possible from the reaction of and lack of insight on the part of those who today pass themselves off as SF republicans, that the miss-leadership of the party could very well pull that little gem off also. The icing on the converted terrorist cake.
The Newsletter had an interesting take on the issue from both a victims and an IRA Green Book perspective.