Belfast Telegraph

Gerry Adams comment that republicans were always law abiding is quite astonishing

By Samuel Morrison

Speaking on the radio on Monday, Gerry Adams made the quite astonishing claim that "republicans were always law abiding".

When politely challenged on Good Morning Ulster, he clarified his comments saying, “Everyone who is involved in trying to bring about change, whether it is suffragettes or people involved in armed actions, of course they broke the law, that’s a given … but here we are in peaceful times.”

Those were quite remarkable comments from the leader of a party which is supposedly only in government because they signed up to the rule of law and support for the PSNI.

Adams’s statement was reminiscent of Mitchel McLaughlin's infamous remark that while the murder of mother-of-10 Jean McConville was wrong it was not a crime, and reminds us yet again of the republican movement’s belief that their actions during 30 years of terror were entirely justified.

To suggest that the bombing of a Remembrance Day service, the shooting of a woman in the back of the head as she left mass because her father was a judge or the murder of 10 workmen at Kingsmills purely because they were Protestants was akin to the campaign for women’s suffrage is grossly insulting to both the families of those murdered by the IRA and the honourable cause of the suffragettes.

Let’s remember that while the suffragettes fought for the right to participate in the electoral process, republicans used violence to subvert democracy.

The comments are particularly concerning when one remembers that Adams’s party, through OFMdFM, jointly has responsibility for issues relating to victims.

Last week TUV revealed they had received a document from a whistle-blower inside the Victims and Survivors Service claiming to show a service in turmoil and hamstrung by political interference by OFMdFM, particularly by special advisers within the office of Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness.

Given that McGuinness’s party regards the victim makers as akin to the suffragettes that’s hardly surprising. It also highlights once again the inability of Stormont to deliver – this time for those who suffered most in our society during the Troubles.

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