THE apology by Sinn Fein party leader and Louth Dail deputy Gerry Adams for the murder of Detective Gardas Jerry McCabe has been met with a great deal of anger and criticism.
Mr Adams apologised in the Dail on behalf of republicans for the killing of Detective Garda MaCabe 17 years ago.
In the Dail Mr Adams said:
“I want to apologise to Mrs McCabe and the McCabe family, and to Garda Ben O’sullivan and to the families of other members of the sate forces who were killed by republicans in the course of the conflict.”
Many commentators felt that the statement was a signifcant step forward for the party. Others felt it was political expedientcy.
Fianna Fail said Sinn Fein’s “hard neck is breathtaking”. The party’s justice spokesman Niall Collins said it was not acceptable for a political party to be taking such a stance.
He said it was despicable to see Mr Adams engage in “a brazen act of hypocrisy” in trying to “cleanse his political pedigree” by apologising for the killing of Det Garda McCabe.
“He was hijacking the expressions of sympathy for Adrian Donohoe,” said Mr Collins.
Meanwhile, Sinn Fein general secretary Mitchell McLaughlin rejected calls for an apology to the families of RUC members and he was supported by the deputy leader of the party Mary Lou McDonald.
“I think what Mitchell (McLaughlin) is identifying,” said Ms McDonald, “is the clear distinction between the RUC, the British Army, the loyalist paramilitaries, the IRA – all of whom were combatants in a conflict up in the North over decades and decades – and then An Garda Siochana, who clearly were not. I think that’s a crucial distinction.
“It’s a point, I know that Gerry (Adams) and others have made in the past and I think it holds true.”
Mr Adams has called for the Irish and British governments to set up a truth commission. SEE editorial page 38.