Friday, February 18, 2005


The Shinners are in a right mess now and this time hopefully, surely, please God, the mud will stick. As I wrote a couple of weeks back an amazing 1 in 5 Irish people believed that the IRA were not responsible for the robbery. Of course nothing has been proven in a court of law but the fact remains that the Garda Síochana have pulled off a major money laundering bust directly related to the criminal activities of the IRA. A former Sinn Fein election candidate also getting arrested is just the icing on the cake.

I don't ever remember seeing the Shinners under this much pressure before. They've been given the benefit of the doubt so much over the past ten years because everyone is so afraid of a return to "war". They are rewarded for peace yet it is a peace that exists only because the provos in their shadows choose not to kill for the moment. We have had to sacrifice democracy and principles and, worse, we've had to enshrine sectarianism in Northern Ireland. Now one has to class themselves Catholic or Protestant thus reinforcing the image of religious conflict in a battle that was really about national identity and ethnicity.

In what is turning into an Annus Horribilis for Republicans the aftermath of the Robert McCartney murder has also been causing a lot of unwanted attention. The wonderfully brave sisters and partner of Mr. McCartney have managed the previously un-imaginable - they have managed to shame Sinn Fein into effectively asking people to help the police catch IRA men responsible for murder.

Can we really hope that the tide is turning? Is the ten year honeymoon period for Sinn Fein finally over?
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