Sinn Fein, the largest nationalist party in the north and a pretender to power in the south are under attack for their links to the Provisional IRA who are supposed to have left the stage. The recent murders in Belfast and ongoing criminality plus cover-ups of sexual abuse within the movement are further evidence of an organization mired in its own past and the collective and individual choices of its members. There were many in the southern establishment and in its Northern counterpart present at the birth of this organization which, though never necessary, by “accident” of history and circumstance became sadly inevitable.
The fire was always burning, or at least left smoldering, and as any good fireman will tell you, dampening down the aftermath is essential to prevent any recurrence of the conflagration. No-one needs a history of the troubles according to any-ones “da” though there are plenty of learned men who will happily provide an alibi, or an excuse. The Provisional IRA did nothing to promote unity in Ireland and their demise cannot come too soon. May the likes of them never be seen again.
That said, and notwithstanding recent assertions by Martin McGuinness regarding his past in an interview with Eamonn Maille, Sinn Fein are on a journey that Fianna Fail and Fine Gael have already taken. Whether they get into government or not remains to be seen but the panic in the southern press regarding this is hypocritical. Speculation as to what Sinn Fein in government will do and how they will relate to unionism is idle nonsense as it is likely to be tempered by whoever they are in coalition with. My guess is that they will never be in government in the south