Tuesday 22 August 2017

Playing the game is the name of the game up North

Unless it's made to pay the price for its sins, Sinn Fein will actually be helped by this storm

ARE WE HAVING FUN YET? Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness during their ‘Chuckle Brothers’ days
ARE WE HAVING FUN YET? Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness during their ‘Chuckle Brothers’ days

Eilis O'Hanlon

Gerry Adams is right. The decision by the DUP to seek the exclusion of Sinn Fein from the Northern executive in response to claims that the IRA is still in business is indeed "self-serving".

Watching the unionists stand in front of Stormont and tell the gathered media how appalled they were to discover the IRA hadn't retired was a bit like seeing Captain Renault shut down Rick's Bar in Casablanca. "I'm shocked to find that gambling is going on in here," he declares, before a man runs up to him with a handful of money. "Your winnings, sir."

There was William McCrea, the Gospel-singing reverend who once appeared on a platform with sectarian serial killer Billy Wright. There, too, was Nigel Dodds, minister for trade in the North when Paul Quinn was lured to a barn in Co Monaghan, and beaten to death by members of the IRA. His offence was to have had a "run-in" with local republicans; but did the DUP pull the plug on power-sharing then? Of course not. The late Ian Paisley was enjoying himself too much in his role as one of the so-called "Chuckle Brothers" with former IRA commander Martin McGuinness. And these are the great founts of moral authority now, purporting to be outraged because the IRA shot one of its former hard men, Kevin McGuigan, in Belfast? It's not as if they didn't know all along that the idea SF was now a wholly constitutional entity with no links to paramilitarism was a fantasy on a par with The Chronicles Of Narnia. The only difference being that this isn't so much The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe as The Liar, The Glitch And The Fake Probe.

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