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Victim of a shabby trade-off

Judging by the relatively muted media coverage of last weekend's brutal murder of Paul Quinn near the border with Northern Ireland, few people in the Republic actually care whether the IRA remains an active force on parts of this island and even fewer are prepared to hold Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein president, to account for its activities.

Sinn Fein, we were told by one Irish Times columnist last week, is now a normal political party and cannot be deemed responsible for the actions of its former foot soldiers. Words, however worn, however empty and however disingenuous, are enough.

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