Adams challenged over IRA membership

 

Fianna Fáil leader Micheal 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’ 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. “He mused openly to us that, simultaneous to all of this, these guys knew about the Northern Bank robbery, and that was Bertie Ahern’s clear conviction at the time.”