Republican killings and the politics of denial

AT every crucial stage of the peace process, the Provisional IRA decided to test the resolve of the British and Irish governments by dispatching to eternity some unfortunate individual who was, from their lofty standpoint, surplus to requirements. That that person’s summary execution should also prove an embarrassment to the Sinn Féin leadership was sometimes seen as the macabre icing on the cake.

That much I allege.

Now consider this: Frank Kerr (the Newry postman) is dead. So, too, Det Garda Jerry McCabe in Adare, Joseph Rafferty in Dublin and Eamon Collins, who exposed the brutal heart of the Provisionals in Killing Rage, bludgeoned to death in Co Down.

Dead too is Denis Donaldson in Co Donegal and Robert McCartney in Belfast. And now Paul Quinn, conveniently lured across the border into Co Monaghan. These deaths have barely registered on the peace process.

For, somehow, their paths magically crossed that of some IRA bigshot or criminal gang shortly before their demise. And, then as if by magic, up pops the SF leadership to deny republican involvement in such cowardly deeds. Their friends just couldn’t do such a thing, especially as these deaths weren’t officially sanctioned.

That’s it, in a nutshell.

The only thing the so-called republican movement does consistently well on an all-Ireland basis is, seemingly, to take human life with impunity. Its leadership must now deny official involvement. The irony is lost on no-one.

Richard Dowling


Co Laois

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Saturday, February 27, 2021

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