Media fooled by Sinn Fein's funeral 'body snatching'
SINN Fein's operation to hijack the funeral of former hunger striker, Brendan 'Darkie' Hughes a couple of weeks ago has now been dubbed the 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' by the priceless wits of West Belfast.
The episode has also led to local Provos being dubbed 'Necropublicans' -- a taunt which probably passed over most of their heads.
Hughes' 53 days on hunger strike in 1980 brought on his premature death and he was one of the last real icons of Provisional republicanism. He also hated Adams and actually said in an interview last year that he would "put a bullet" in him.
Sinn Fein was fearful that their opponents would use the opportunity of a grave-side oration to attack their leader and mounted a military-style operation to cut through mourners and, literally, grab Hughes' coffin. At the same time, equally skilful PR teams manoeuvred press and photographers into line to catch the shot as Gerry grabbed the coffin of his old "comrade".
The press contingent, most of whom were unaware of Hughes' deep hatred of Adams and Sinn Fein, were well and truly suckered.
RTE, for instance, was able to report that the image of Adams carrying the coffin "was taken as a sign any rift had been healed" -- by Sinn Fein anyway.
SF's spin machine also put it out -- and Adams himself went on to repeat -- that he had visited the ex-hunger striker as he lay dying in hospital. They didn't mention the fact that Hughes was unconscious on both occasions, and would not have allowed Adams near him awake.
Hughes' hatred for Sinn Fein and Adams grew in the years after his release from prison. He was an old fashioned socialist and against the corruption he saw around him in West Belfast.
He spent the last years of his life increasingly disillusioned and filled with hatred for those in Sinn Fein and the IRA who had made millions from corruption during the peace process.
Hughes was highly thought of by both republicans and the British Army as one of the most skilful military commanders in the conflict in the North. He was articulate and literate but had not, apparently, written any memoir.
He was also very outspoken in his criticism of Adams and Sinn Fein. This, friends said, led to his flat in Divis Tower being bugged by the IRA.