Will They Get a Clue Soon?
Belfast's "PubGate" IRA scandal could be the undoing of both the paramilitary group and its political wing, Sinn Fein.
The fatal pub slashing of Robert McCartney and subsequent physical coverup by IRA thugs, after he intervened in a fight, revealed how the paramilitary organisation has degenerated from principled crusaders to common gangbangers. It's hard to see the difference anymore between the IRA, its splinter factions and the Crips or Bloods, except for the former being more sophisticated in committing crimes.
They're actually setting back the cause of Irish reunification by handing the United Kingdom and Northern Irish authorities huge PR coups. And they're making Irish-Americans in Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, New York, etc., think twice before sending any money overseas. That may explain the need for sophisticated bank robberies.
The five McCartney sisters are mounting a worldwide campaign to bring reform pressure onto the IRA and bring their brother's killers to justice. Rather than being disloyal, they simply want to bring accountability to their own side before it's too late (it almost is already).
Clearly the group isn't learning its lesson. Martin McGuinness today criticized the sisters, saying their efforts would backfire. To that I say ni cheapaim e (I don't think so).
Slan agat agus oiche mhaith dhuit.
(Boston Globe- Shawn Pogatchnik)
BELFAST, Northern Ireland --A Sinn Fein leader publicly criticized the family of a Catholic man killed by IRA members, warning Monday that their relentless campaign for an arrest in his death could diminish support for their cause.
The comments from Sinn Fein's deputy leader, Martin McGuinness, came as the party admitted that another of its candidates was in the pub where Irish Republican Army members launched the fatal assault on Robert McCartney.
A campaign by McCartney's five sisters to have his killers brought to justice has focused attention on the outlawed IRA's continued grip on hard-line Catholic parts of Belfast, where telling police about IRA activities can mean a death sentence.
Catherine McCartney, one of the sisters, on Monday accused Sinn Fein of continually trying to conceal and downplay its members' role in the attack.
"I find it hard to believe that we've been campaigning for six weeks and still not a single person has been charged with Robert's murder," she said in an interview in her sister Paula's home in Short Strand, an IRA power base that is home to several of the IRA figures who allegedly attacked their brother.
But McGuinness, an alleged IRA commander, said in what were Sinn Fein's first publicly critical comments of the family: "The McCartneys need to be very careful. To step over that line, which is a very important line, into the world of party-political politics can do a huge disservice to their campaign."
He said if they continued to make direct challenges to Sinn Fein, which is the largest Catholic-backed party in Northern Ireland, they would "dismay and disillusion an awful lot of people, tens of thousands of people who support them in their just demands."
The IRA-linked Sinn Fein, which has already suspended seven members linked to McCartney's death in January but identified none of them, admitted that a Sinn Fein candidate for May's election to Belfast City Council was in the bar. It issued a statement from the candidate, 23-year-old Deirdre Hargey, in which she said she provided a statement to a lawyer but offered no specifics.