Belfast Telegraph

Ahern shows fury at SF 'betrayal'

By Brian Walker and Noel McAdam
27 January 2005

Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern have revealed the extent of their sense of betrayal by republicans as the political stalemate in the aftermath of the Northern Bank raid deepens.

Taoiseach Mr Ahern launched a full-sc ale attack on Sinn Fein as the Dail resumed after it's Christmas break and disclosed there had been heated exchanges at his meeting with Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness.

He also confirmed that the issue of the release of the IRA killers of Garda Jerry McCabe is now off the table.

Mr Ahern said: "What I find really offensive, is that there was an ability to turn off all punishment beatings while negotiations were in progress, but as soon as the negotiations failed there was a string of them - they are again a nightly occurrence. I will give Sinn Féin full marks for discipline, but not for anything else."

As Sinn Fein TD Caoimhghin O Caolain shouted "shame", Mr Ahern asserted that the view that democratic politics could be developed while criminality contained had been tolerated for some time - but could no longer be sustained.

The depth of his anger and loss of patience with Sinn Fein was dramatically revealed as he eyeballed Mr O Caolain and then detailed a number of recent attacks, including incidents in the Short Strand and on the Lower Falls, for which the IRA is thought responsibile.

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