There can be few stranger sights in Irish politics than Sinn Fein pretending to defend and respect An Garda Siochana.
This is a party whose attitude to the force is probably best summed up by the attendance last week of its new Northern leader, Michelle O'Neill, at a vigil to commemorate four IRA members who opened fire on a police station with a heavy machine gun.
The men, who came from O'Neill's home village of Clonoe, Co Tyrone, all died when the SAS had the audacity to shoot back. Now suddenly SF is the best friends of the boys in blue, just because it wants to score a hit on the Government in its hour of chaos over the Maurice McCabe affair.
It's certainly not because it has any great love for whistleblowers. What is a whistleblower, after all? "One who reveals wrongdoing within an organisation to the public," the dictionary says.
Someone like Eamon Collins then, who wrote a book about his time in the IRA, and subsequently gave evidence in a libel action against Provo godfather Slab Murphy?
On a morning walk near his home in Newry, Co Down, Collins was beaten and stabbed to death in a murder described by the coroner as the most brutal he'd ever seen.
Gerry Adams's response was that the man's death was "regrettable". A local SF councillor was even less sympathetic: "He will not be missed. I have no feelings for Eamon Collins."
Of all the organisations with a right to take the moral high ground on the proper treatment of those who grow sick of seeing injustice and decide to do something about it, SF is the very last on the list.
Nor can it shrug it off by insisting these things happened in another place and time, and are not relevant today. SF makes great play of being an all-Ireland party, even if it does play a cynical game when justifying how it can enforce welfare cuts in the North, whilst claiming to oppose them in the South.
This determination to ride two horses at once looks less clever when its Northern leader - who's now joined at the hip with Mary Lou McDonald in a rather obvious PR strategy to sell them to the public as a female-friendly Sister Act - spent the week commemorating those whose last act was to try to murder policemen.
The party's Southern command was also not averse to giving a hero's welcome to the killers of Garda Jerry McCabe when they got out of jail.
Now it's the law and order party? With SF, the question is: whose law? Whose twisted idea of order?
Defending Maurice McCabe is too important to be left to unscrupulous chancers to exploit, and that it is exploitation which SF is about was made plain by the fact that its immediate instinct was to put down a motion of no confidence in the Government.
McCabe was treated appallingly, and the Government has mishandled almost every aspect of it since the latest twists were revealed by Prime Time, with the Taoiseach seemingly unable to calm nerves on deck, instead making things worse in a way that only he can.
But the very pandemonium of the past couple of weeks is exactly why the affair needs to be handled with the same scrupulousness as in a criminal court. No wild allegations. No unproven slurs. Facts.
SF's motion of no confidence in the Government was nothing but an attempt to put itself centre stage in the story, despite the fact that there was zero chance of it ever being passed - and even if it was, it would just spark an election in which other issues would overshadow McCabe.
It was particularly revealing that, in his contribution to Wednesday's Dail debate, Gerry Adams laid as much stress on attacking Fianna Fail as the Coalition, and devoted the culminating section of his speech to rebutting allegations that SF refused to talk to FF after the 2016 election.
He even referred to FF leader Micheal Martin as the "de facto deputy first minister of this Government".
There could have been no clearer signal that SF's real target last week was not the Government at all, but a resurgent FF, and that McCabe was just a convenient hook on which to hang the attack. In his own contribution, Anti-Austerity Alliance/People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett deplored that, in "the spectator sport that, sadly, politics often descends into", talk had turned to whether the Government would survive, which he said "pale(s)into insignificance" next to McCabe's anguish.
He's entirely right about that. FG's main leadership contenders seem to see this crisis largely as their chance to finish off Enda Kenny, distracting us with silly stories about Leo Varadkar flying back from South America to save the nation, like Superman, as if anyone cares about whose political career will benefit most from this mess.
But the fault for that lies with the Opposition as much as the Government or media. Left-wing and Independent deputies have not been above turning their attacks on the integrity of the gardai into a spectator sport, too; SF's grandstanding not least.
Boyd Barrett set out clearly what matters: "To me, there is no doubt that there was an orchestrated campaign (to smear Maurice McCabe)... The only issue is precisely who orchestrated that campaign. That is to be decided."
A tribunal might still not be the best way to do that. Tribunals in Ireland have not been known for their speed. It was more than five years between the establishment of the Morris Tribunal into alleged garda malpractice in Co Donegal and its final report; ultimately, the only winners may well be the lawyers. But that, and the forthcoming independent review into garda practices and culture by a policing expert from outside the State, are the only games in town. The rest is noise.
There's certainly no need for SF's amateur dramatics. As Minister of Sstate Patrick O'Donovan told him in the Dail last week, Gerry Adams would do better to "remember the faces of the dead gardai".