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April 7, 2005
Gerry Adams To IRA: Drop The Gun

Perhaps finally sensing that the IRA has severely damaged republican efforts in Northern Ireland, longtime IRA apologist and Sinn Fin spokesman Gerry Adams delivered a somewhat surprising speech calling for the paramilitary force to give up its guns for good. However, he held back any specific call to disband:

Gerry Adams yesterday challenged the IRA to consider jettisoning forever its strategy of holding the Armalite in one hand and the ballot box in the other.

In an extraordinary turn of phrase, the Sinn Fin leader said: "In the past I have defended the right of the IRA to engage in armed struggle.

"I did so because there was no alternative for those who would not bend the knee, or turn a blind eye to oppression, or for those who wanted a national republic.

"Now there is an alternative ... the way forward is by building political support for republican and democratic objectives." He appealed to the IRA "to fully embrace and accept this alternative".

At this point, the issue may hinge on how much real control Adams or any of the other secret IRA commanders have over a once pseudomilitary structure that has dissolved into a crime family. IRA members have increasigly participated in a number of squalid crimes, including drunken murders and a spectacular bank heist that netted over 20 million, and enforces its authority by terrorizing the Catholic communities it pretends to protect. In that manner, the IRA more closely resembles the Italian-American Mafia than anything like the Irish freedom fighters of the 1916 Rebellion or the 1922 fight for independence.

Moreover, the IRA's descent into gangsterism has completely shredded Sinn Fin's credibility. SF in the Republic represents a legitimate political constituency, but its role as the political wing for the militants in Northern Ireland makes it, in light of current events, nothing more than a mouthpiece for criminals and terrorists. Adams discovered on his last trip to America in March that we have learned the difference between those who want political change through the ballot box, and those who impose it with bombs and bullets aimed at civilians. While it's too much to hope that Americans of Irish descent have all stopped putting their dollars into the IRA's passed hats on St. Patrick's Day, the cold shoulder Adams received from pols like Peter King and Ted Kennedy put a big dent in his fundraising efforts.

If Adams and Sinn Fin want to get taken seriously as peace partners, they need to start by turning over the murderers of Robert McCartney and James MacGinley, as well as those who threatened witnesses to both crimes, and return the money stolen in the bank heist. Otherwise they will remain nothing but apologists for loathsome thugs who increasingly appear to love the petty power they've created through the muzzle of their guns in the neighborhoods they claim to represent.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 7, 2005 6:49 AM

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