Irish Republican News · February 12, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IMC ‘snow job’

An agency of the London and Dublin governments has been condemned for particpating in an attempt to smear the leadership of Sinn Féin.

The so-called ‘Independent Monitoring Commission’ has claimed that unnamed senior Sinn Féin members were involved in sanctioning a pre-Christmas raid on the Northern Bank in Belfast.

The body was set up to gather evidence that military and paramilitary groups had not fufilled their requirements under the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

However, the body, which was set up by the two governments outside the terms of the 1998 accord, has been used almost exclusively to attack Sinn Féin and the Provisional IRA.

The body, headed by Lord Alderdice and including three figures linked to intelligence agencies, was memorably dismissed on Thursday by Gerry Adams as “three spooks and a Lord”.

The body implicated the IRA and senior Sinn Féin figures - allegedly also IRA members - in dramatic terms in the pre-Christmas robbery.

“We have carefully scrutinised all of the material of different kinds that have become available to us since the robbery, which leads us to conclude firmly it was planned and undertaken by the IRA,” said John Grieve, former head of Scotland Yard’s anti-terrorism squad.

However, as with previous allegations of IRA activity, no evidence was advanced to back the claim.

The IMC recommended that financial penalties should be imposed by the British government against Sinn Féin. Had the Assembly been sitting, it would have also proposed the suspension of Sinn Féin from the Assembly, it said.

Lord Alderdice said that if the IMC’s findings were proved wrong, irrespective of whether anyone was convicted, then that “would of course be a profoundly serious matter”.

It was suggested they had access to channels of information not available to the police, but it was not made clear what these were.

“Do I believe the denial of the Provisional IRA? Absolutely not.2 said IMC member John Grieve, formerly of Scotland Yard.

“That is implicit in what is in here [ in the report]. Quite frankly my position is that the people who have denied it on behalf of the Provisional IRA have got some brass neck,” he said.

Mr Adams dismissed the IMC report as “rubbish”. He said it was sinister that a political claim by Mr Ahern was being echoed in a “snow job” by the IMC.

He urged people to read the report. “The report is rubbish. The report makes unsubstantiated allegations, echoes the line which has been put out by the two governments, draws entirely from the same sources. If it wasn’t so serious I think it would be even laughable.”

There were “sinister aspects” to it. “What the IMC is doing is exactly what it was set up to do. It is a tool of the governments and therefore the governments have to share and accept responsibility for what is happening at this time.” He ridiculed what he said was “the pretence that this is an independent body”.

He said there was a deliberate strategy by the British and Irish governments of attempting to link Sinn Féin to the robbery. The intention was to try to prevent the electoral growth of Sinn Féin.

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© 2005 Irish Republican News