Gerry Adams, president of Sinn Fein, has been released after 4 days’ questioning about the abduction and murder of Jean McConville, who had been falsely identified as a police informant or “tout”. The Guardian newspaper reported:
Adams will refocus on election campaigning on Monday as the political fall-out from his release from police custody continues to reverberate around Stormont and beyond.
The republican party is holding a European election rally in Belfast tonight, with a similar event planned in Dublin on Tuesday, as Adams resumes the canvassing activities he claims his detention was designed to thwart.
Michael McConville, son of Jean, claims he was “threatened” by Adams after the Sinn Fein president was released. McConville told the BBC “Today” programme: “Gerry Adams says to me, ‘Michael, you are getting a letter of support from the republican people’. He says, ‘if you release the names I hope you are ready for the backlash’.
McConville said that “could” have meant a backlash against the peace process but said he took it to mean the “backlash from republican people”. He reasserted: “I took it as a threat.”
I think it may be a good idea to take a deep breath, step back and think about the situation as a whole. For many years Adams was the leader of Sinn Fein at a time when a whiff of IRA was enough to get you locked up.
The IRA’s “bullet and ballot box” strategy meant that Sinn Fein’s politicians had to be above serious allegations. No doubt Adam’s had great support in the IRA, but it’s too surreal for me to accept that Adams gave individual kill orders.
The days of the Provisional IRA are over. I’m sure the PIRA could muster well-armed, well-positioned support if events justified it, but the “Real” IRA and its mostly criminal support are giving Republicanism a bad name. Maybe it’s time for the Provos to clean up their house? It will lend Sinn Fein support it’s been losing lately, and it will act as a cautionary tale. The PIRA is being quiet, but it could make one hell of a noise if the leader requires it. Then again, a few well-placed gunshots could end the insurrection – and the PIRA are famous for their bullet delivery.
So, are the Provos down and out? I doubt it. They have many dedicated soldiers, they have large undeclared arms caches. Over the years of peace, the PIRA have lost mainstream support, which has been transferred to Sinn Fein, often described gleefully by the British press as “The IRA’s political wing.” Let’s turn that expression on its head: The PIRA is Sinn Fein’s military wing. If IRA leadership feel that Sinn Fein is being cornered “they may declare the “bullet and ballot-box” experiment over. Is that what Cameron wants to be remembered for?
When the PIRA decided to play the “bullets and ballot box” game, they knew that their politicians had to be whiter than white. Gerry Adams etc would be rotting in jail otherwise. Questioning Adams for days on the back of what can’t be more than hearsay evidence is a ridiculous fishing expedition. Is Cameron & Co really be that stupid. By the look of it: Yes.