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Time for Sinn Fein leader to come clean

Editor's Viewpoint

Published 22/09/2016

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams
Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams

The Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams is rarely out of the headlines, and the pressure continues to mount on him after the latest BBC Northern Ireland Spotlight programme.

It broadcast the claims of an undercover source that Adams had sanctioned the murder of the former leading Sinn Fein member and self-confessed MI5 agent Denis Donaldson.

Donaldson was murdered in Donegal following his confession, and his killers have not been identified despite an ongoing investigation by the Gardai.

The Spotlight's anonymous source, nicknamed Martin, offered no concrete evidence but rather supposition.

It is clear that whatever are the rights or wrongs of the allegations made on the Spotlight programme, the pressure continues to mount on Gerry Adams.

The drip, drip effect of such historical allegations against Adams, including the claim that he ordered the murder of Jean McConville, can only serve to destabilize the current power-sharing pact at Stormont.

Already his political opponents are enjoying another field day of criticism of the Sinn Fein leader.

In addition to this, Adams' scarcely-credible denials of membership of the Provisional IRA continue to threaten to make him a figure of ridicule, even within his own community.

One theory for Adams' continued denials is that any acceptance by him that he had indeed been an IRA member would open him up to considerable civil liability, if not criminal prosecution, for acts carried out by the Provisionals during the period of his membership.

Nevertheless Gerry Adams must now come clean about his full involvement in republican activism, as Martin McGuinness has done, to a limited extent.

Adams must explain, for example, why the British Government thought it was important to fly him to London for secret talks in 1972.

The fact that Adams has recently alluded to a timescale for stepping down as party leader is no excuse for waiving the very justified claims for transparency and clarity on these vitally important issues.

Whatever Adams' embarrassment about the latest serious claims about the murder of Denis Donaldson, the time has finally come for the truth.

The political process, which ultimately depends on trust, deserves nothing less than this.

Belfast Telegraph

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