Grave charges must be investigated, once raised
Published 22/10/2015 | 02:30
It used to be said of the glacial pace of political progress in the North, that the only State that would ever emerge would be one of denial.
Throughout the Troubles, Sinn Féin mastered the art of issuing rebuttals and dismissals, as was their right.
The difficulty is that the sweeping aside of questions simply moves them somewhere else.
Yesterday, the party's leader Gerry Adams was busy brushing off inquiries raised by damning reports from both sides of the Border on the IRA and criminality.
In the North, it was claimed that IRA members believe that Sinn Féin's strings are being pulled by IRA puppet masters on the army council.
Mr Adams adroitly dismissed all such claims. He repeatedly said that the party was being targeted because there was an election in the air. Of course, he is right: there is an election. And that's why there is such an urgency for clarity. The fog of constructive ambiguity that so defined the years of the Troubles can no longer be tolerated.
Democrats understand that when grave charges are made, they must be investigated to the full
No democracy worthy of the name will countenance subversive activities that are generating hundreds of millions through criminality, as is the case in the North. The existence of huge amounts of money and its possible uses has been raised by Micheál Martin. Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan has criticised Mr Martin's description of the border region as a "twilight zone". But there are too many unanswered and disturbing allegations in the air for comfort. Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald insisted that, while Troubles-related "legacy" criminality was concentrated in the border area, An Garda Síochána had a strong record of pursuing terrorists.
And so it does, despite the depletion of resources.
But as long as the shadow of the gunman is in the background, inconvenient truths must be confronted.
They haven't gone away, you know.