Conviction shows SF is still linked to IRA crime despite new bid for power
WHILE the media last week reported widely on attempts to rekindle the North's political process, there was almost no attention paid to events in the Downpatrick Crown Court, which may have put an end to Sinn Fein's bid to sell itself as a potential party to government.
A Sinn Fein election agent and former IRA prisoner, Richard O'Donnell, 56, of Racecourse Road, Downpatrick, was sentenced to four and a half years, on Wednesday, after pleading guilty to the attempted blackmail of a local businessman.
The court heard that the businessman was told that if he did not pay the local IRA he would be "put in a hole". He contacted the PSNI and O'Donnell was arrested as he tried to collect the demand.