Person 1: Another Wednesday, another wave of moral indignation against Gerry Adams and republicans in general.
Person 2: What, Pope Francis has excommunicated him?
Person 1: No, the Belfast Telegraph today has given voice to those who think the IRA were a bunch of criminals.
Person 2: And were they?
Person 1: Certainly, if you go by Kenny Donaldson, who speaks for the Innocent Victims United and Jeffrey Donaldson who speaks for the DUP.
Person 2: Impressive sources
Person 1: Indeed.
Person 2: And what did they say?
Person 1: Mr Donaldson – Mr Kenny Donaldson, that is (I don’t think they’re related) says that Mr Adams is a liar when he says he doesn’t see the IRA as criminals: “It throws to the side any view that there’s a genuine intention to actually deal with the past and the suffering that was created by the republican movement.”
Person 2: And what does Mr Jeffrey Donaldson say?
Person 1: Mr Jeffrey says that Mr Adams is wrong both legally and morally – that the IRA was a criminal organisation – and he’s morally wrong because anyone involved in paramilitarism is morally wrong.
Person 2: Pretty conclusive, then. The IRA were criminals and Gerry Adams is lying when he says he doesn’t believe they were criminals. Although…
Person 1: Although what?
Person 2: What about the hunger strikers?
Person 1: What about them?
Person 2: Wasn’t that why they went on hunger strike? Because they insisted that they were political prisoners, not criminals?
Person 1: Well yes, but…
Person 2: And ten of them died rather than concede that they were criminals.
Person 1: True enough.
Person 2: And how many republican paramilitaries were imprisoned during the Troubles?
Person 1: I’m not sure – I heard a figure of around 25,000
Person: 2: So how do you explain this mass out-break of criminality?
Person 1: I don’t follow.
Person 2: Well if you look at the figures, there was a sudden huge swell in the numbers imprisoned during the Troubles, a swell that wasn’t there before and hasn’t been there since.
Person 1: So?
Person 2: So what was the explanation for this sudden mass outbreak of criminality?
Person 1: Because they didn’t see themselves as criminals?
Person 2: Indeed.
Person 1: And Gerry Adams, having been in prison himself, would take a similar view?
Person 2: I would have thought so.
Person 1: Mmm. So Adams is actually being condemned for speaking what he believes is true.
Person 2: That’s how it looks. By the way, is it true that Patrick Pearse broke the law?
Person 1: Eh?
Person 2: Or James Connolly or Thomas Clarke or the other 1916 people – did they break the law?
Person 1: Well …Yes, I suppose they did.
Person 2: And that fellah the Taoiseach has a painting of in his office – whatshisname – Michael Collins?
Person 1: Well he definitely did.
Person 2: Which means the state to the south of us is going to commemorate/celebrate a bunch of criminals a few months from now.
Person 1: Well if you …I’m sorry, it hurts my head trying to make sense of this for you. Maybe better to ask Mr Donaldson.
Person 2: Which one?
Person 1: Mr Jeffrey. He’s got a nice soft voice.
Person 2: By the way – is there an election coming soon?
Person 1: Sorry – here’s my bus. Cheers.