Gerry Adams accused of “brazen audacity” over Northern Bank raid

Did Gerry Adams have advanced warning of the Northern Bank raid? That is the question now swirling around Northern Ireland following the release of the latest WikiLeak files. In December 2004, the Provisional IRA were blamed for the raid which saw those responsible take £26.5 million from the Donegall Square headquarters of the Northern Bank in Belfast, one of the largest robberies ever seen in the UK.

Did Gerry Adams have advanced warning of the Northern Bank raid? That is the question now swirling around Northern Ireland following the release of the latest WikiLeak files. In December 2004, the Provisional IRA were blamed for the raid which saw those responsible take £26.5 million from the Donegall Square headquarters of the Northern Bank in Belfast, one of the largest robberies ever seen in the UK.

However, following the release of further leaked files on the WikiLeaks website, it was reported that US Diplomatic sources felt that Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness has advanced warning of the raid.

Referring to a meeting with senior officials from the Irish government to discuss the then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern’s concerns over the peace process, James Kenny, US Ambassador to Dublin at the time, reported to Washington:

“He said that the GOI (government of Ireland) does have ‘rock solid evidence’ that Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness are members of the IRA military command and for that reason, the Taoiseach is certain they would have known in advance of the robbery.”

Following the release, the Belfast Telegraph has reported that not only does the former Taoiseach stand by his claims, but that they are also shared by the Republic’s current justice minister Dermot Ahern and health minister Mary Harney.

In strongly refuting the allegations, Adams explained in a letter to Mr Ahern:

“I am writing to you to refute in the strongest possible terms the allegation you made that the Sinn Fein leadership had prior knowledge of the Northern Bank robbery and to express my deep concern at this ill-founded comment and the damage that it has caused to our working relationship and to the process.

“As you know I value and have acknowledged your significant contribution to the peace process. During the negotiations leading to the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 and in the years since you have played a leadership role in the collective endeavour of sustaining and pushing forward the peace process

“Of course, there have been differences between us. That is the nature of a process like this. For your part the Irish government has been concerned at times over Sinn Féin’s attitude to issues. And in Sinn Fein’s view the Irish government has not always behaved as an equal partner in its dealings with the British government.

“But until recently both the government and the Sinn Féin leadership have not allowed these differences to upset the imperative and the primacy of the search for peace in our country.

“Your decision to attack Sinn Féin and your allegation that our leadership was aware in advance of the Northern Bank robbery has put a huge question mark over this.”

The latest allegations against the Sinn Fein leader emerged as it was reported that Adams would be contesting the County Louth and East Meath seat in the forthcoming Irish election. As he did, however, he faced stinging criticism from the Irish Times, which concluded in an editorial:

“Gerry Adams’ air of injured innocence and indignation yesterday over the latest Wiki leak was a masterclass in brazen audacity. His denials of knowing anything about the Provisional IRA’s robbery of the Northern Bank in Belfast in December 2004 were risible.

“He has also denied ever being a member of the IRA although he was photographed at a paramilitary occasion wearing a beret, an unlikely fashion statement even for a teenager in the 1970s.

“Mr Adams can look directly into the eyes of those who met him as an IRA leader in the 1970s in Belfast, put his hand over his heart and say: “I was never in the Provisional IRA.

“If he can say that with such casual boldness, can anyone take his word about anything?”

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.

2 Responses to “Gerry Adams accused of “brazen audacity” over Northern Bank raid”

  1. Ed Jacobs

    RT @leftfootfwd: Gerry Adams accused of “brazen audacity” over Northern Bank raid http://bit.ly/gXxjvv

  2. Liathain

    The reality is that Gerry Adams and Sinn Fein are quite content to leave some victims and survivors to struggle with their grief while cheapening the anguish of others by exploiting it for political expediency.

    The co-Chair of the Consultative Group on the Past, Denis Bradley said last week that there could be no truth commission of any sincerity because of Sinn Fein and that the IRA was “leading victims up the garden path”.
    Gerry’s constant re-writing of his own past (editing his own books and changing details and stories) are well documented. Some of his claims would be laughable if it wasn’t all so serious.

    Gerry has claimed that he didn’t realise that his own brother Liam (who he believes to be a child abuser) was working as a youth worker less than 300 yards from Gerry’s office. When it was revealed that Liam was Chair of a SF branch in Gerry’s constituency for over 2 years, Gerry’s response was that he’d never heard of this. Give us a break.

    If nothing else here’s declassified documents showing a young Gerry meeting the British Government while representing the PIRA in 1972

    http://overthebridgeni.wordpress.com/2009/06/20/on-this-day-in-1972-report-given-of-a-secret-meeting-between-british-government-and-the-pira/

Leave a Reply