The Big Lie was a propaganda technique used by Adolf Hitler and his propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, to advance their fascist policies. Goebbels once said: "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it".
For decades, the IRA, Sinn Féin and Gerry Adams have been enthusiastic users of the Big Lie technique. The biggest and probably most successful lie has been Sinn Féin's mantra that it was separate from the IRA. The truth is very different. In the words of Paudie McGahon, a brave abuse victim of the IRA: "Sinn Féin and the IRA (were) one entity; a cross between the mafia and a cult".
And does anyone now believe that Mr Adams was not a member of the IRA?
Despite what Mr Adams and his young followers may want to happen, the case of Jean McConville will not go away. As her son said over the weekend: this is a war crime that people have to be held accountable for.
The same is true for Robert McCartney, Paul Quinn and countless other innocent people who simply have the bad fortune of getting in the way of the republican murder machine. With the republican movement having done everything possible to make sure that innocent victims of IRA terrorism were ignored and forgotten, brave family members nevertheless still have the courage to speak out against the IRA. People will not be shut up any more.
The cult side of the movement is the refusal of Sinn Féin public representatives, especially recently elected representatives, to question the party line. There is almost a Stalinist-style control within the party. No one has the courage to question any of this. Like robots, they trot out the party line and then have the gumption to talk about equality or rights for women, knowing what the IRA has done. They don't seem to be aware of the utter hypocrisy of their position. That the clearly committed and energetic new public representatives can be taken in by the Big Lie, is something I find very worrying and hard to understand.
The study of the IRA and of Gerry Adams by Patrick Radden Keefe in the March 16 edition of 'New Yorker' magazine exposes the threadbare denials of Mr Adams. One of the most prestigious publications in the USA, it is read by over four million people. The story is given front page promotion and it is titled 'Where the Bodies are Buried'. It makes for very sober reading. It analyses in great detail the Jean McConville murder. It outlines Mr Adams' long involvement in the IRA and specifically its bombing campaign. The journalist peels away the layers of deceit which have surrounded Mr Adams.
In the article, Richard Haas is quoted as referring to Gerry Adam's Teflon quality. I think the situation has changed in a very significant way in recent weeks.
The Teflon quality has stopped working. The denials, half truths and evasions from Mr Adams and other members of Sinn Féin regarding their handling of sex abuse allegations no longer convince. The veil of respectability Sinn Féin has cultivated is being pulled away and the ugly side of the party is being exposed.
Doors are beginning to close on Mr Adams; his recent wrangling with the US State Department over a proposed meeting is a sign of changing times. And in keeping with the familiar pattern of statements from Sinn Féin, different accounts were issued by the party regarding the meeting.
And all the while the silence of Mary Lou McDonald and other Sinn Féin public representatives raises further serious questions. Ms McDonald always asks the hard questions of others, especially at the Public Accounts Committee. She has never asked a hard question of the man she sits beside every week in the Dáil. Why does accountability just apply to some? Is it a case that the truth is so terrible that if they faced it honestly and openly, then they would have to walk away from Sinn Féin?
The exiled, the tortured, the murdered, the disappeared and the abused haven't gone away, you know. They still call out for truth and justice. Sinn Féin may want to bury its past but the past refuses to be buried.
There is now a particular burden of responsibility on the voters of Louth. When the General Election comes they will have an opportunity to pass judgment on Mr Adams and his many evasions. When they elected him in 2011 they did so partly in support of the Peace Process. However, too much has happened, too much has been revealed since then. The time has come for Mr Adams to move on. Politics on this island would be the better for it.
Brian Hayes is a Fine Gael MEP