Garda Commissioner Drew Harris’ remarks at a passing out parade in Templemore yesterday will inevitably start a new round of that increasingly common shout-down-the-messenger diversion.
His clearly expressed beliefs left no wriggle room for apologists, fellow-travelers or any of the other romantics demanding change on foot of one quarter of the vote and who imagine that Sinn Féin is a normal political party.
Mr Harris said that An Garda Síochána agrees with a PSNI assessment, a British security assessment that Sinn Féin and the IRA are still overseen by a provisional army council.
Unsurprisingly, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar responded by asking, his tongue firmly in his cheek, why SF leader Mary Lou McDonald does not disband the army council and the IRA or sever all links with them.
That high, dropping ball into the square will undoubtedly further excite the shout-down-the-messenger response but it also underlines how very serious the situation is.
We have passed a point where criticism is no longer taken as just that. Any criticism of SF, especially if from Official Ireland, fuels the wild anger and extremism vented online.
It is likely that Mr Harris’ remarks will provoke a tsunami of bile like that described by four women who lost Dáil seats.
That may be disconcerting but it is even more disconcerting that his entirely valid remarks will, for some deluded people add lustre to a deeply discredited and suspect organisation.