SINN FÉIN president Gerry Adams, at the funeral of Frank "Bap" McGreevy in west Belfast on Saturday, has rejected what he called the perverted logic of those who chose to blame Sinn Féin, and him in particular, for the murder.
Mr Adams in a graveside oration for Mr McGreevy, who was beaten to death at his flat in Ross Street, told some 2,000 mourners of his long-standing friendship with the former IRA prisoner, who served 15 years in prison from 1975 until 1990 for murder.
He described him as "funny, loyal and big-hearted" and sympathised with his two children, their mother Denise and wider family.
The murder follows the similar murder of west Belfast greengrocer Harry Holland and what many local people describe as increasing levels of lawlessness in west Belfast, particularly in the Lower Falls. That local anger at the high levels of crime was highlighted by an article in last week's Andersonstown News by the columnist Squinter. He accused Mr Adams, the West Belfast MP, of not accepting his share of responsibility for the increasing incidence of anti-social crime. In what amounted to unprecedented criticism for such a Sinn Féin-supporting newspaper, he said: "It's time for Gerry Adams to shoulder his share of the blame for the mess we're in and stop blaming everybody else."
Squinter said he "has never heard Adams accepting any responsibility for the fact that large parts of his constituency are no-go areas". Yesterday afternoon there were 79 responses on Squinter's blog, most of them supportive.
Mr Adams addressed his critics, at the funeral . "Some people, with a quite perverted logic have chosen to blame Sinn Féin in general and me in particular. Let's be very clear about this. The thugs who killed Bap McGreevy are the people responsible. No one else." He said Mr McGreevy was killed because he stood up to the criminals. "Now is not the time for us to be insular or stupid. Frank McGreevy's death has to be the catalyst for the people of the Falls organising themselves against the thugs and criminals, drug-pushers, death drivers and murderers," he added.
He continued: "None of us here should be surprised by the failure of the PSNI to respond properly to criminality in our community. The reality is the PSNI is not up to the job at this time of providing the civic policing service that the public demands and needs.
"It is failing to deliver on call out times, on responding to information from the public, or in its investigations of anti-social and organised crime."
Mr Adams said criminals would win if local people did not challenge them.
"That means getting involved in providing information on criminal activity; that means engaging with the PSNI and other criminal justice agencies; that means joining with and working with the Safer Neighbourhoods Project and other similar bodies, to make your area a fit place to live."