Adams challenged on IRA

 

SINN FÉIN:FIANNA FÁIL leader Micheál Martin has called on Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams to admit he was previously a member of the IRA.

Mr Adams has continually denied he was ever a member of the organisation in the face of widespread scepticism, but Mr Martin insisted he would continue to challenge the Sinn Féin president about his “baggage from the past” and said he should “come clean”.

“There is a fundamental problem for Gerry when he continues to deny his membership of the IRA because every time he talks in this debate during the election about honesty . . . it jars very much with his own position about the past,” Mr Martin said.

He said Mr Adams’s party colleague Martin McGuinness, the North’s Deputy First Minister, “doesn’t have a problem” admitting he was an IRA member in the past. “I think there’s a huge problem for Gerry Adams in a credibility sense. You can’t really talk about truth, honesty and transparency if on a whole range of issues to do with the North in the past he’s not prepared to admit some very basic things and basic truths,” Mr Martin said.

Mr Martin also said former taoiseach Bertie Ahern was “convinced privately” that Mr Adams and Mr McGuinness had prior knowledge of the Northern Bank robbery in 2004. He said Mr Ahern was “extremely upset” at the time because he was involved in significant peace process negotiations with the pair.

Responding to Mr Martin’s comments, Mr Adams said: “It’s quite obvious that Fianna Fáil, the leadership anyway, want to go down into the gutter and to get dirty,” he said.

The Labour Party’s education spokesman, Ruairí Quinn, said Mr Adams had been asked many times over the years about whether or not he had been a member of the IRA.

“He has given an answer which frankly I don’t think anybody believes. I certainly don’t believe it,” Mr Quinn said.