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Ceasefire meant nothing to gangs

The point made last week by David Kelly, the son of the soldier Patrick Kelly, who was shot dead alongside garda recruit Gary Sheehan in Leitrim in November 1983, that Martin McGuinness should tell what he knows about the murders remains a valid one -- especially in respect of more than 40 people murdered by the IRA since calling its ceasefire.

IRA gangs went on killing people for reasons varying from personal disputes to perceived slights to the IRA's authority to eliminating drug dealers who refused to pay protection money. In every instance, there were cover-ups by the IRA, intimidation of witnesses and the destruction of evidence. The IRA leadership -- of which McGuinness remained a very senior member -- was fully aware of the circumstances surrounding the murders but made efforts only to ensure its members were protected from the law.

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