Sunday 26 February 2017

Shadow of a gunman still falls on Sinn Fein

The suspected IRA murder of a man in Belfast raises again the question of who really runs Gerry Adams' party, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

Eilis O'Hanlon

Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams

If a man was shot dead tonight in Dublin, it would be a matter for the police. It would be unlikely to provoke a political crisis in the Dail; and Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fail would not be dragged into the mess, because those parties do not have military wings, and do not deal with those who cross them by gunning them down in the street.

That the shooting dead of former IRA member Kevin McGuigan in east Belfast more than a week ago is now proving to be such a headache for Sinn Fein, points once more to the semi-constitutional status which continues to dog that party. SF does have a military wing, albeit one which is supposedly not only on ceasefire but permanently defunct, and that military wing does deal with its enemies by putting them in coffins.

Moreover, the party continues to be headed by a man who sentimentally eulogises the IRA's traditions, whilst still insisting that he was never a member.

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