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