Stay where you are, Aongus

Does the IRA exist? Prove it. You can’t, can you? This is precisely the point in having a secret organisation. Everything is deniable.

So it’s always going to be tough for those who oppose the IRA to get a handle on the man who might be a Sinn Fein activist one day and a fully fledged volunteer the next.

I understand this.

But all the same this doesn’t mean that you can just say something or blame somebody and not feel the need to come up with some evidence to back it up.

Fine Gael’s Jim O’Keefe thinks Aongus O’Snodaigh should resign his Dail seat because his election agent was convicted in the Special Criminal Court and an IRA gang had election posters of him (Aongus) in the back of their van.

This is absurd. This goes further than the normal unproven allegations against the Fenians. Because Jim is not actually accusing Aongus of anything in particular. He’s accusing him of hanging out with the wrong company. In this case Aongus should just stand his ground and let Jim’s wind waft away.

There’s a theory doing the rounds at the moment and I think it’s wrong. Unionists and their sympathisers in the southern press have long used the term Sinn Fein/IRA to signify that there is just one organisation involved. That is highly implausible.

Are these people saying that every member of Sinn Fein is a member of the IRA? I’m not sure the IRA would have stayed in business as long as it did by accepting membership coupons published in An Phoblacht.

Are they saying that every member of the IRA is a member of Sinn Fein? I’m not sure that an underground army wouldn’t like to keep some of it’s personnel out of the limelight.

I’d say (and I’m as entitled to speculate as anyone else) that we are talking about two organisations with a lot of dual membership in HQ. Those who span both organisations don’t do anything new unless they have the agreement of both organisations.

Does that sound realistic?

Ok. That being so, the allegations that Sinn Fein, as a organisation, is involved in crime is spurious. Do people go to their local cumann meetings to plan bank robberies? It’s ridiculous.

Whatever about the IRA, if people want to make allegations about Sinn Fein and its members, they should come up with some evidence to back these allegations up.

Sit tight, Aongus.

THE Magic Formula

EVERYONE wants the IRA to promise to give up crime. The IRA says it doesn’t do crime.

This argument could run and run and the same end could be achieved by a different formula.

What about getting the IRA to agree, from the date of an overall agreement, to abide by the laws of the state of Ireland and the state of Northern Ireland? From that point on the IRA’s definition of crime would accord with everyone else’s legal definition.

A sort of hope and history in rhythm.