An admission of IRA membership from Adams ‘would boost peace’

Ann Travers.  Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
Ann Travers. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.

An IRA victim has said that admissions from Sinn Fein leaders that they were top IRA men would help build trust and boost reconciliation.

Ann Travers made the comments on Sunday in light of ongoing denials on the matter from Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness.

Her comments come after former IRA prisoner Peter Rogers, 69, last week told the BBC that Mr Adams and Mr McGuinness met him in Dublin in 1980 and ordered him to transport explosives to England.

Sinn Fein has strongly denied the claims.

“I think that a lot of people are just tired of Gerry Adams’ and Martin McGuinness’ denials,” Ms Travers told the News Letter. “Sinn Fein say ‘sorry, bad things happen in war’ but that does not address the fact that people hated my family so much that they sat in a room somewhere planning how to murder them.

“It is still horrific for my family to have to live with that.”

She did not think admissions of IRA membership by the two men would damage the peace process.

“I think it would move things on,” she said.

“It would not collapse the peace process, it is sufficiently advanced to be able to withstand it. There is a huge lack of trust at present and this step would help move reconciliation on.”

However, for her personally it is more important for the Sinn Fein leadership to affirm that murder was “never justified”.

She notes that Scotland is now having a serious discussion about independence from the UK “without a bullet being fired”.

“I think that for as long as they continue to justify murder it will be very difficult for Northern Ireland to move forward,” she said.

“It would be a start for reconciliation if they actually mean what they say.

“Martin McGuinness and [Sinn Fein MLA] Gerry Kelly recently said that they would do it all again; that makes it very difficult for me to trust anything that they say.”

Ms Travers was affirming comments made yesterday by MEP Jim Nicholson.

The UUP representative said: “Northern Ireland will not be able to seriously deal with the past while Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness continue to deny their own dark and murky roles.”

He added: “Why does Gerry Adams continue to deny being in a terrorist organisation which he has strongly eulogised and closely aligned himself with for four decades?”

The MEP added that Mr Adams’ senior colleague Mr McGuinness is “also very reluctant to reveal the full details of his activities in the Provisional IRA, yet he audaciously and spuriously struts the wider stage as a paragon of peace and reasonableness”.

“Northern Ireland and the many innocent victims of IRA atrocities will never be able to seriously deal with the past whilst Gerry Adams and his Sinn Fein colleagues, like Martin McGuinness, continue to deny their own dark and murky roles.

“Denials, made by Adams and McGuinness, merely insult the Northern Ireland public’s intelligence and give full succour to the dissident republican terrorists of today.”