Former Provo killer says Sinn Fein's embrace of the PSNI and first ministership is a sign of how 'domesticated' the party has become and shows the IRA campaign was pointless
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Anthony McIntyre, who was imprisoned for the fatal shooting of a UVF man and has since become a sharp critic of Sinn Fein, was speaking in the week that Michelle O’Neill assumed the top spot in Northern Irish politics, and then today attended a passing-out ceremony for new police recruits.
The party formally agreed to offer its moral and political support to the PSNI back in 2006 as a condition of entering government, but it has been criticised in the subsequent years by unionists, who believe the party has often paid little more than lip service to its support for the force.
The IRA killed about 300 police officers during the Troubles.
Countless others were wounded or went on to die prematurely through suicide, drink, and drugs.
On the subject of Michelle O’Neill as First Minister, Mr McIntyre told the News Letter: “When I look at what's happening I've a view that it's just a continuation and a confirmation of Sinn Fein's deradicalisation and becoming part of the establishment.
"Having said that, I think Michelle O'Neill has every right to be First Minister and be called First Minister.”
He detects ongoing “resentment towards a nationalist – and particularly somebody from Sinn Fein – being First Minister” from unionists, adding: “Shouldn't they be delighted Sinn Fein have been tamed and brought into the political establishment and pose absolutely no threat to the interests of the British state?
“They pose absolutely no threat. It merely confirms that their strategic view of the IRA campaign was wrong, because they're now reduced to accepting British state terms for unification: namely only by consent.
"Nobody whoever fought in the ranks of the IRA will ever live to see a united Ireland. I am certain of it.
"What's in the opinion polls to say we will? It's alright everybody talking about it [but it’s like the saying] 'God make me good – but just not yet’.”
On today’s PSNI ceremony, he said it is further evidence the party is “thoroughly domesticated” because “the PSNI is still an armed British police force that is still up to its neck on covering up on the legacy question”.
It is an “ideological flip-flop” from the party he said, adding: “If the SDLP were doing this I wouldn't bat an eye. It's consistent with what they've always done.
"It calls into question why the IRA campaign was ever fought. Surely what we have today could've been achieved without anybody dying?
"If they were going to be really genuine about making reconciliation with the unionist community, why not tell them the truth about Joanne Mathers, which they've denied since she was killed in April 1981?
"Why not tell them the truth about one of the IRA's greatest war crimes: Kingsmill?
"They still won't tell the unionist community the truth. So all this licking the queen and licking the king, I don't buy it as genuine gestures of reconciliation.”