Friday, October 05, 2007

Pushing the envelope

Via the Irish Times, here's the contribution of Martin Mansergh TD in the Dail debate on an Irish arms export control bill. It followed some remarks by Sinn Féin's Aengus Ó Snodaigh --

I was surprised by elements of the last contribution. Only Dáil Éireann has the right to declare war, therefore, there was no war over the past 30 years. It is all very well to moralise about other people exporting arms, but are we certain that the IRA did not export expertise in bomb-making and other guerrilla warfare-terrorist tactics and techniques? Many questions are unanswered about places such as Colombia where three members of, let us call it, the republican movement - although I do not believe there was very much republican about these activities - were found in Colombia in FARC-held territory where the human rights abuses are absolutely appalling. During the summer, 11 locally elected politicians were taken out and shot by FARC and other politicians have been held hostage for a period, as in the case of Ingrid Betancourt. I wish spokespersons for Sinn Féin would not moralise from a height without adopting a self-critical attitude to some of the activities they have defended and stood over in the past.

It's to say the least interesting that Mansergh would try to bait SF and the IRA in this fashion, since there are persons within those organisations who likely know far more than is publicly known about Mansergh's 1990s contacts with the IRA, a period when he presumably thinks they were waging an illegal war. It would be awful if they chose to enlighten the public about those contacts in response to yesterday's moralising.

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