Dean Godson

Will Dublin turn on Gerry Adams?

Dean Godson on the widening repercussions of the Sinn Fein/IRA bank robbery

Dublin

Is Sinn Fein/IRA becoming the Hezbollah of Ireland — a state within a state? Just a matter of weeks ago, such a thought would have been dismissed by mainstream opinion here as a product of the fevered imagination of Conor Cruise O’Brien, the South’s most celebrated anti-republican. After all, Gerry Adams was the most popular politician in the Irish Republic. His party seemed set fair to make huge gains in the next Irish general election and he was being widely talked of as the next president of this state. Even the foreign minister, Dermot Ahern, spoke of the republicans as potential partners in a future coalition.

Southerners have historically afforded the republican movement a degree of latitude in operating up north. But woe betide republicans who subvert the south: de Valéra hanged his former IRA comrades during the second world war. Now that the extent of Sinn Fein/IRA’s criminal empire is becoming apparent south of the border, the constitutional parties of the 26 Counties have again taken fright and have turned on the republicans with a vengeance.

The southern state’s anger found expression in last week’s Garda Siochana raids across the Republic. Their proximate cause was an attempt to find a portion of the £26 million stolen by republicans last December in the raid on the Northern Bank in Belfast — but the investigation seems now to range much wider. According to Garda sources, this racketeering is not simply about personal enrichment or even pension schemes for aging Provisionals. It is also a highly sophisticated operation whose main aim is to help Sinn Fein/IRA seize power. It includes spying on the private lives of Dail members of rival parties in key target seats. Far from being a creative sideline to redirect the Republican movement away from full-scale terrorism, criminality gives Sinn Fein/IRA a major advantage in the political arena.

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