Agnès Maillot
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The legacy of the Troubles
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This chapter looks at the manner in which Sinn Féin has managed its past and its close ties with the former Provisional Irish Republican Army. While suspicion remains high amongst political circles that the Army Council, the ruling body of the IRA, is still in existence and somehow controls, at least in part, the decision making process within Sinn Féin, the party itself denies such allegations and claims that it has successfully turned the page. This is a fraught exercise as the shadow of the IRA lingers on. Furthermore, while distancing itself from its former ally, the party has no intention of disavowing the IRA and continues to justify its actions and methods within the context of the Troubles. This can be potentially damaging as the party’s democratic credentials continue to be questioned in some quarters, although paradoxically it does not necessarily translate into a drop in support. Sinn Féin has had to navigate a hostile landscape on both sides of the border but has also managed to retain, and even increase, a level of support in spite of its past connection with the IRA. The manner in which it has managed its past is exemplified by its discourse on the issue of reconciliation, which is at the heart of any future, long lasting stability in Northern Ireland.

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Rebels in government

Is Sinn Féin ready for power?


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