The first leader of the Provisional IRA, Billy McKee, has strongly criticised the current Sinn Fein leadership in an open letter. McKee split from the Provisionals in 1977.
Sinn Fein has said it will comment on the remarks once it has had the opportunity to read them. The letter, co-authored by a former comrade of McKee’s, Laurence O’Neill, is published below.
As a result of the ongoing Roy Mason/Margaret Thatcher-style demonisation, scurrilisation and criminalisation of hundreds of republican families throughout Ireland and beyond by Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, as republicans of long-standing who have watched you manipulate and hijack the republican cause for your own agenda we are now perturbed as to how you so easily indulge in such malice towards your former comrades, the intelligence gathering on behalf of MI5 and the PSNI and the regular Judas face-to-face meetings with HM securocrats to pass on that information.
All of this has brought enormous resentment and anger within Irish republicanism. Therefore we take this opportunity to remind you of your responsibility for the growing unrest and instability in the six occupied counties as a result of the extreme, devious and ruthless means used over the years to sideline and eliminate republican thinking that wasn’t compatible with your appeasement and partitionist scheming in your countless private meetings with British warlords, and when given the opportunity you failed to negotiate the reunification of our country and instead settled for a partitionist Stormont which was on the table for the taking in 1973 courtesy of !be SDLP negotiators, and that was minus the veto of unionist consent which you legitimised.
Now that you have gone away and deserted to the frontline in defense of the realm, standing shoulder to shoulder wIth HM chief policeman Baggott and his PSNl and the unionist strongman Peter Robinson, the sincerity of your ‘republican’ credentials has been exposed and your lip service commitment to Irish unity a bluff of convenience.
The battles, death, torture, imprisonment and hunger strikes endured by Irish republicans down the years and generations was never about a revisionist Stormont or a new set of Blue Shirts in Dail Eireann, nor was it about secret cloak-and-dagger politics to have Ireland parachuted into the British commonwealth via bestowed reverence on British royals as harmless geriatrics.
It is past time for you to forgo the charade of using the republican logo which now causes you so much embarrassment.
British colonial occupation which has always been the IRA mandate for resistance has now become the preserve of a new generation of republicans and the torch of that proud and honoured tradition cannot be extinguished until Ireland is united under our national flag, the tricolour, in accordance with the 1916 Proclamation which has been used and abused by those who would seek to devalue its true meaning.
In the advent of the 1916 centenary it’s a sad reflection on the constitutional Ulsterisation forces and their willing ‘republican’ helpers in her majesty’s last colonial outpost that a large number of republican POWs constitute the prison population.
In your eagerness to help the crown forces persecute and incarcerate republicans we pose the question, what will you do when Maghaberry and Portlaoise jails are full? Will you reopen Long Kesh? What will you do with the families, friends and supporters of all those prisoners? They are unlikely to go away.