John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Adams Arrest Is Not Helpful to the Peace Process

Posted on May 1, 2014

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One of my favorite movies is “The Informer.”

Victor McGlaglen, who is perhaps most famous for his role as Red Will Danaher in the St. Patrick’s Day classic “The Quiet Man,” won an Oscar as a drunken Jimbo Nolan, an IRA foot solider who spills the beans to the British Black and Tans about an IRA operation in exchange for some money to buy a few pints and present for his girl.

By the end of this Hollywood treatment, there is no doubt what will happen to Nolan, and you feel for the IRA Commanders who had to make the decision to kill one of their buddies or risk losing their own lives.

But real life is rarely as neat or as tidy as Hollywood would have you believe.

The decisions made by terrorist leaders are often blood-thirsty, driven by paranoia, and frequently tragically wrong.  And that is especially true for the Irish Republican Army.

In all fairness, the British government didn’t exactly distinguish itself in glory, and nor did the Protestant paramilitaries, who frequently committed their own despicable acts.

The Irish Peace Process is not an end-point.  It is a process.  And it hasn’t been going as smoothly as many in America would like to believe.

The arrest of Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams won’t help that process get better.

Adams denies he had any involvement in the murder of a woman who the IRA thought was an informer decades ago.

But new revelations that have come from an oral history project conducted by Boston College have clouded those denials.

Apparently, a couple of those who were implicated in the murder of Jean McConville fingered Adams before they died.  They told BC historians of their suspicions on the promise that those revelations would not come to light until after they died.

Unfortunately for Gerry Adams, these revelations came amid an election campaign where his party is poised to do very well in the Republic of Ireland.

It is also unfortunate for Adams that he can’t confront his accusers because they are dead.

I don’t know if Adams had anything to do with the brutal murder of McConville, nor do I have any direct evidence that the highest levels of the British Government had anything to do with the murder of Irish Catholic Civil Rights Lawyer Pat Finucane.

But there is more than enough evidence that both the IRA and the British Government committed more than their fair share of atrocities and that the truth of that dirty war will probably never be fully known.

I also think that if the Irish Peace Process is to go forward, and if the Protestant and Catholic Communities in Northern Ireland are to continue to make progress in achieving a modicum of normalcy in a part of the world that is still potentially volatile, that a cheap political stunt like hauling Gerry Adams into a PSNI police station right before an election that could give Adams and his party a pretty big victory is counter-productive at best.

Peter Robinson says that the PSNI is simply doing its job, but it’s not doing much of a job of investigating the role of the unionist paramilitaries or of the roles of senior British officials in murdering innocent Catholic civil rights leaders.

Marty McGuiness, the top Catholic political leader in the Northern Ireland government, says that there is a “dark side” within the policing community in Ulster.

I don’t think there is any doubt about that.

The Peace Process has its detractors on both sides of the divide.  Both Catholic Nationalist and Protestant Unionist paramilitaries would be more than happy to return to the bad old days, when they had all of the power and the ability to extort and intimidate their neighbors and friends.

I certainly hope that Northern Ireland doesn’t return to the Troubles.  This arrest of Gerry Adams isn’t helpful to the success of the peace process.  Not helpful at all.

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