Ex-IRA man condemns Sinn Fein's '˜faux anger' on Adams attack
An ex-IRA killer has said that a Sinn Fein rally against attacks upon homes of two key members is an example of 'faux anger' from the party, given the republican movement's own bloody history.
Anthony McIntyre was speaking to the News Letter after a Monday night rally in Sinn Fein’s west Belfast heartland, at which president Mary Lou McDonald declared that any attempts to “bully” or “intimidate” its members would not succeed.
The attacks against Bobby Storey and Gerry Adams’ houses happened on Friday night and involved what the police called “large industrial firework type devices, capable of causing serious damage or injury”. No-one was hurt.
On Monday night Mrs McDonald told a crowd of hundreds of supporters the attacks were the work of “violent dissidents who wish to destabilise and go against the democratic wishes of the majority for peace and for advancement”.
Mr McIntyre, a 61-year-old ex-IRA prisoner who shot a UVF member dead in 1976 in south Belfast, is now a critic of Sinn Fein, and has said he would be happy to be called a dissident.
The Co Louth-based man said Monday’s rally was an opportunity both to portray Sinn Fein as “an all-island party that’s still pushing an agenda for peace, standing up to all the ne’er-do-wells and recalcitrants”, and also to “play the victim card”.
He said: “To intimidate people living within the nationalist community has been a long-honoured republican thing,” citing past attacks against the homes of SDLP men Gerry Fitt and Paddy Devlin, as well as the picketing of his own home.
He said that the IRA were the “initial teachers of this type of activity”.
He also highlighted the fact Mr Adams – president of Sinn Fein for over 30 years until ceding the post to Mrs McDonald last year – had survived a hail of gunfire in a 1984 murder bid, and that Mr Storey is an ex-prisoner who he branded a “very courageous and keen IRA figure in his day”.
Given all this, Mr McIntyre said that “these people have had too much hurled at them to be annoyed by a few fireworks”, adding: “I think there is a faux anger here.”
Nonetheless, Mr McIntyre said Friday’s attacks were “stupid”, “not nice”, and had “no justification”.
Sinn Fein, in response to criticisms from Mr McIntyre, issued a statement culled entirely from remarks made by Mrs McDonald on Monday.
In it, she said there is “no appetite, no excuse and no purpose behind the violence that occurred”.
“Attacks on republican leaders, attacks on neighbours and communities, wherever they happen, are attacks on society as a whole and society understands that,” she said.
“There is zero tolerance for any element that would set out to cause harm or to cause disruption.
“Those intent on this disruption have no political plan, have no political strategy, have no vision for the future.
“People in Belfast and Derry and right across Ireland now are ambitious for ourselves and for our families and for a new Ireland.
“Nobody, no faction, no element is going to get in the way of those ambitions.”