Sinn Fein was established as the political wing of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), whose aim was to remove Northern Ireland from the UK and bring about a socialist republic within a united Ireland by force of arms. Their origins date back to 1918, but they later split into factions and the modern IRA became known as the Provisional Irish Republican Army, active from 1969 till 1997 (the year they signed the Belfast Agreement).
The IRA formally announced an end to its armed campaign in 2005, though the group is still considered a terrorist movement by the UK.
The IRA orchestrated numerous terrorist attacks, killing their adversaries, government officials, police officers, soldiers, and some Catholics who worked for compromise. Their main tactic was murder by the use of explosives, but they also engaged in kidnapping – and were heavily involved with organized crime and counterfeiting.
The IRA conducted an armed campaign, primarily in Northern Ireland but also in England and European cities, over the course of which it was responsible for the deaths of approximately 1,800 people. The dead included about 630 civilians.
Per a recent report in The Independent:
An extraordinary item appeared last Tuesday on Professor Roy Greenslade’s MediaGuardian blog. It was a harsh attack on his colleague Henry McDonald, the long-serving Ireland correspondent of The Observer and The Guardian. The Prof noted that the previous Friday a story by Mr McDonald had appeared in The Guardian wrongly attributing a Belfast murder the night before to “Republican paramilitaries”.
Mr Greenslade was right that in the heat of the moment Mr McDonald had got his facts wrong, apparently relying on incorrect information from Republican dissidents. A man and a woman with no paramilitary connections were later charged. Yet it seemed odd that the Prof should have launched a public attack on a colleague for a pardonable mistake. Mr Greenslade, who has long-standing links with Sinn Fein, evidently resented the imputation of Republican involvement.
Before writing his piece he did not contact his colleague. Nor did he do so last August when he wrote a blog criticising British newspapers, including Mr McDonald’s, for not covering the annual Sinn Fein conference…
Few people are aware that The Guardian’s media sage has affiliations with Sinn Fein. During the late 1980s, when he was managing news editor of The Sunday Times, he secretly wrote for An Phoblacht, the Sinn Fein newspaper, which then served as a propaganda sheet for the Provisional IRA. His pseudonym was George King.
The connections endure. Last June, Mr Greenslade spoke at a Sinn Fein conference in London on the 30th anniversary of the hunger strikes.
Given his sympathies, it is fair to surmise that Mr Greenslade dislikes Mr McDonald’s articles about Sinn Fein’s links to organised crime, and saw his recent piece as an attempt to blacken the organisation.
May I suggest that when he next writes about Northern Ireland Mr Greenslade should be open about his allegiances? And also that he should talk to colleagues before attacking them? Both are considered good journalistic practice, and he is, after all, Professor of Journalism at City University, where there must be impressionable students who look up to him. Roy Greenslade would do well to ponder on what, one way and another, is a bit of an ethical tangle.
Interestingly, last November Greenslade characterized efforts by anti-Zionist activists intent on violating the legal blockade of a sovereign country established to prevent the flow of weapons to Hamas, comically, as a “peace flotilla“.
In light of revelations about his Sinn Fein/IRA affiliations, such euphemisms, used by Greenslade to characterize “activists” who lend their services in support of terrorist movements, are much easier to understand.