Check Your Facts, Adams

Anthony McIntyre responds to Gerry Adams’ recent article in the American based newspaper, the Irish Voice

Check Your Facts, Adams
Irish Voice

WRITING in last week’s Irish Voice, Gerry Adams mentioned an article published in the Belfast morning paper the Irish News which claimed that the Provisional IRA shot and killed Joseph O’Connor. Mr. Adams described the authors as fellow travelers of the Real IRA.

Since the only piece of writing of that nature was drafted by Tommy Gorman and myself, it must be assumed that Mr. Adams is pointing the finger at us. Let me make something plain — this dangerous McCarthyite-like accusation has no basis in fact.

In the Irish News article to which Mr. Adams refers, we spelled out not only our “stringent opposition to the Real IRA,” but also said very clearly that, “We reject totally any call made for revenge and state unambiguously that there are no circumstances in which RIRA activity against Republicans or others could be justified.”

If that was not clear enough for Mr. Adams, he had only to read the many public statements and other writings emanating from us since the Real IRA was formed. No serious commentator on the Irish situation — apart from Mr. Adams, it seems — believes that Tommy Gorman or I have any sympathy for the Real IRA.

The reality is that Joseph O’Connor was shot dead in broad daylight in West Belfast and by any standard, any such killing creates real cause for concern.

If Mr. Adams believes that the Provisional IRA had no part in the death of his constituent and neighbor, surely he should support the call for an investigation. It would, without doubt, be better to ascertain from where the perpetrators come than to vilify those asking for clarification of a dangerous situation. A credible inquiry would not only clear the air, but would also reduce tension.

Under these circumstances, it is surprising that Mr. Adams did not condemn the murder (and the murderers) in his article in the Irish Voice. It would seem to be the normal reaction of any political representative when commenting on the slaying of one of his constituents, not to mention the grandson of a personal friend. To issue a clear denunciation of the killers would send an unmistakable message to anyone condoning or contemplating bloodshed.

Furthermore, if the Provisional IRA is not responsible for the killing, as Mr. Adams says, why does he not demand to know the identity of this ruthless band of assassins roaming his constituency? Surely that would be one of the first questions that any representative should ask when daylight murder is committed in his or her district. It would also allow all of us living in West Belfast to be on our guard against these killers now on the loose.

It seems to me that when writing for the Irish Voice, Mr. Adams should give deep consideration to matters such as these before bandying unsubstantiated and unsustainable accusations. The blunt reality is that he appears more determined to chasten those calling for a credible inquiry than to expose the people culpable for a ruthless killing. The truth may be painful, but honest people should never fear it.

Anthony McIntyre

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