Belfast Telegraph

I believe Gerry Adams wasn't in IRA, says Sinn Fein's Mary Lou McDonald

Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald has said that she believes the claim from her predecessor Gerry Adams that he was never a member of the IRA.

Ms McDonald made the statement in a wide-ranging interview in The Newsletter.

She that she believed "the IRA have gone away" and denied that the IRA Army Council was still directing Sinn Fein policy.

The Sinn Fein leader also stood by comments in which she called alleged former IRA Chief of Staff Thomas 'Slab' Murphy a 'good republican'.

Former West Belfast MP Gerry Adams has always denied being a member of the IRA despite many journalists and historians naming him as an IRA leader since the 1970's.

Former IRA members including Sean O'Callaghan and Brendan Hughes have also said that Mr Adams was a member of the organisation.

“I think he’s on the record himself dealing with these things over a long period of time," Mrs McDonald said.

“What I find in dealing with people as a rule is that they are the experts on their own lives and their own experiences.

"Gerry doesn’t have a conviction for IRA membership and I think he’s explained the politics of how he’s come to be involved in republicanism and Sinn Fein when Sinn Fein was barely in existence and he’s given all of that narrative. I speak for me."

The Dublin Central TD said that she believed there was "no IRA" currently in existence.

“I look to the streets for the evidence of what’s going on and it is manifestly clear that the campaign is over, that the war is over, that the IRA have gone away," she told The Newsletter.

"They’ve made statements to that effect, weapons have been decommissioned, an apology has been made, etc, etc. So that says to me that there is no IRA. That’s the objective evidence I’m looking at.”

Mrs McDonald also rejected any claim that the IRA Army Council was still "pulling the strings" of Sinn Fein.

“This thing is put to me with a view to suggesting that somehow Sinn Fein is in thrall to another structure,” she said.

“I want to be absolutely clear because I know all about Sinn Fein because I’m its leader: Sinn Fein takes its decisions for Sinn Fein; I’m the leader of the party; we have a collective leadership; that’s where the power is; that’s where the decisions are made – that and when we meet in open session at our ard fheisanna.

"To suggest that there is anybody pulling my strings, putting words in my mouth or telling me what to do is asserted by people who either don’t know me at all or are doing it for the purposes to trying to undermine and to cast doubt.”

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