The families of Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan have just had their worst fears confirmed by the Smithwick Tribunal's finding that the two RUC officers were betrayed by Garda officers, a betrayal which allowed the IRA to ambush them and cold-bloodedly kill them as they drove back from the Republic.
Now Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has added to their pain by essentially saying that the two men contributed to their own deaths because they had a laissez-faire attitude to their own safety. That was a cruel and callous remark to make and one which, quite rightly, has been roundly condemned. They also fly in the face of apologies from Irish government ministers and the Garda Commissioner.
Gerry Adams is now becoming a parody of a politician. He has little credibility left following recent events. He was unable to satisfactorily explain how he had delayed for years in telling police that his brother Liam had confessed to the sexual abuse of Liam's daughter. And he continues to be associated, in spite of his own strenuous denials, with the events surrounding the killing of Jean McConville, one of the Disappeared.
Indeed, how can he call for a truth and reconciliation process or blame the British state for heinous crimes of collusion with loyalist paramilitaries and then attempt a pernicious whitewash of what has been proven to be collusion with republicans by members of the police force in Dundalk Garda station? Is he serious when he described the Tribunal's findings as based on mere tittle-tattle?
For a man who has been unchallenged at the head of his party for 30 years, he is now an embarrassment to it. While no-one within republican ranks will openly suggest that it is time for him to stand down, speculation that others are being lined up for his position continues to grow. It is difficult to imagine that any other leading member of Sinn Fein would utter the crass remarks that he did yesterday.
Quite simply it is now time for him to go.