Talking of the press conference by Bobby Storey, the Sinn Féin northern chairperson, here are the words of the deputy first minister in the regional administration at Stormont, Martin McGuinness, from the same event:
“The more I consider and the more I think about how all this began … you’d need to be stupid not to be asking the question, whose agenda is best served by those murders. It certainly was not our agenda, it wasn’t the Sinn Féin agenda, it was not the Sinn Féin peace process strategy agenda and in my opinion it was not Peter Robinson’s agenda either.
This is something has caused huge problems for us.
…agents were involved, people who are hostile to the peace process, who are hostile to Sinn Féin’s involvement in the political institutions
The people who are responsible for those murders are criminals, agents, dissidents; they are certainly not supporters of ours.
There is a very real prospect that the people who murdered Jock Davison and Kevin McGuigan had their own agenda, and it was an anti-Sinn Féin agenda, it was an anti-institutions agenda, and it was clearly something that has at least put some within unionism at a huge disadvantage.”
While I’m as suspicious of perfidious Albion as the next man, and cannot deny that some in the ranks of militant unionism and the republican resistance share not dissimilar views on the need to bring down the north-eastern assembly, even I would have to say that McGuinness is clutching at straws with this one. Is there anyone, even in the SF heartland, who genuinely believes paranoid, scattershot claims like this? It reeks of desperation, and of old school Provisional thinking: you’re either with us, or against us!
The underground army may have emerged into the open but it’s thinking is still that of the beleaguered insurgent.