There is a bankruptcy at the heart of the thinking of the leading Irish political parties, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, and how they handle the broad issues of 'the Troubles.'
The tactics are very clear. Any and every way you can embarrass and hound Sinn Fein for their role in 'the Troubles,' do so.
Let that become your only focus as it will hopefully deflate their vote in the Irish Republic.
Forget all others who took part in cover-ups, killings, death squads, informing – whether they be British Army, Loyalist or dissident IRA. The only target is Sinn Fein and even better if Gerry Adams can be cast as the villain.
This has led to a clear opinion emerging in America at least that Irish political parties are putting the settling of old scores and holding the Sinn Fein vote down as the centerpiece of their Northern Irish policy.
Consider this: earlier this year British leader Theresa May stated that she would end any inquiries into the “brave soldiers” who fought in Northern Ireland.
She said: 'We will never again – in any future conflict – let those activist Left-wing human rights lawyers harangue and harass the bravest of the brave, the men and women of our Armed Forces.'
Targeting lawyers who defend victims of that same army's shoot-to-kill policies or other outrages is a dangerous game indeed. A previous Tory government pinned the death sentence badge on human rights lawyer Pat Finucane by naming him in parliament in 1989.
The response from Fianna Fail and Fine Gael towards May’s outrageous comments has been silence in the main – an incredible misread of a potentially powder keg issue in the peace process.
Instead, the government has now embarked on another Gerry Adams witch hunt – this time aided and abetted in extraordinary fashion by elements of the Irish media. Perhaps they are learning from the cynical “post truth”reality of American politics, where anyone can claim anything is true.
The latest case involves a campaign aimed at – who else – Gerry Adams for allegedly knowing the name of an IRA operative who may have information on the killing of chief prison officer Brian Stack in Mountjoy Prison in 1983 and refusing to release it .
Adams was approached by the Stack family in 2013 seeking closure on the killing of their father Brian Stack, who was murdered on his way home from a boxing match supposedly for being a deeply hated figure in Portlaoise because of the way he handled Republican prisoners.
The killers ignored IRA General Order 8, which disallows any killing of Irish Republic uniformed officers and, which makes one wonder what was it that made them break such a critical rule in order to kill Stack in horrific circumstances?
Adams took the Stack brothers to a secure location to meet an IRA officer who told them that the IRA had killed their father and it had been done without sanction from the leadership and the killer or killers had been punished.
There the matter rested. The killing of Prison Officer Stack was one of thousands on every side that left families grieving and seeking the truth. In some cases the IRA cooperated and admitted their role and what had happened.
The British Army and their network of spies, paid killers and informers, however, have never relented on these issues, leaving thousands of families bereft of the small comfort the Stack brothers received.
Adams is now being attacked for not naming the IRA leader he brought the brothers to meet after the brothers went public on the issue despite original assurances they would not.
Adding to the sense that this is a hatchet job was the extraordinary action by Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell, who under parliamentary privilege read out the names of two men he claimed may have been involved. Both men were outraged and furnished evidence of their innocence, but the damage was done. Summary trial by kangaroo court hiding under the auspices of parliamentary privilege seems to be the Fine Gael way.
It turns out that another member of parliament, Mattie McGrath, was approached by a senior media figure, given the name of the two men and asked to name them in parliament. To his credit he refused to become involved in felon-setting.
The Irish Times reported today that two other TD's were also given the names by a media contact.
Fine Gael and Fianna Fail have been making hay, of course, despite the fact that when in government they have never properly followed up on hundreds of killings ranging from the Dublin/Monaghan bombings to the murder of innocents at Loughinisland, County Down, where innocent pub-goers watching a World Cup football match in 1994 were ruthlessly gunned down.
However, once Adams is involved the major political imperative is to attack the Sinn Fein leader and paint his party as unfit to serve in the Irish parliament.
Meanwhile, Theresa May may well be inciting murder with her comments but is not even challenged by Irish party leaders. It is a Lilliputian response to a massive problem.