Monday, April 02, 2007


SF wanted killers released to seal deal

I was very angry to learn, via the Sunday Independent, that Sinn Féin sought to make the release of the Provisional IRA killers of Detective Garda Jerry McCabe part of the negotiations which led to the power-sharing agreement reached last week.

Maeve Sheehan writes that informed political sources have said SF repeatedly sought to raise the killer's release with Irish Government officials to lobby for their early release. Their requests were refused.

Two years ago Sinn Féin promised to stop making their release a condition of advancing talks in NI due to the public outrage at the prospect of the killers gaining an early release. In fact, two years ago the four men convicted of Detective McCabe's manslaughter issued a statement apologising for the killing and claiming they did not want their release to be part of future negotiations.

So why are Sinn Féin chancing their arm now then? That's what I'd like to know. According to the Irish Government source:

"The bottom line is that Gerry Adams was applying massive pressure on the Irish Government to release the McCabe killers as part of the advancement of the situation in the North. The Irish Government not only would not agree but also refused to meet on that subject. They kept the pressure on and stood firm."

I'm not a bit surprised the Government dismissed the matter. To enter into negotiations on the release of these men with a General Election but a few months away would be very foolish indeed. Fine Gael and Labour would have had a field day. I'm pleased Fianna Fáil and the PDs told Sinn Féin where to go.

I have found myself warming up to Sinn Féin of late. It seemed like they were genuine about moving on from the dark days of the past. Yes their economic policies leave a lot to be desired but I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt when it came to the peace process at least. However with this story coming to light it's apparent that the leopard hasn't changed its spots.

Sinn Féin know full well how the Irish public feels on this issue. They know full well that the Irish people want those men who killed a protector of the people to serve out a full sentence. And yet, despite all that, they were willing to utilise the precarious and fragile nature of the peace process to further their own ends.

They were willing to exploit the demand for devolution in order to protect their Provo chums. It's enough to make your stomach churn. You can just hear the BS they would have come up with to sell this to the electorate. "We're moving on from a conflict situation", "Let's be realistic - there's never been a better time to make this work", "We've all had to make sacrifices" etc. It would have been sickening. Bertie showed common sense here and I commend him for it.

I was unlikely to give Sinn Féin a vote in this summer's General Election but now I know I definitely won't be. I don't want people in Government who are willing to toy with the judicial process in order to help out their mates!

Sinn Féin have come a long way alright but they clearly need to go a long way too. The golden rule of politics is that the politicians are there to serve the people, not the other way around. I don't think Sinn Féin get that. And as a result they won't be getting my vote.


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