Adams 'may be wrong' on IRA and bank heist

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The Sinn Fein president, Gerry Adams, has said he "might be wrong" in believing the IRA was not involved in the pre-Christmas bank raid in Belfast in which £26m was taken.

The Sinn Fein president, Gerry Adams, has said he "might be wrong" in believing the IRA was not involved in the pre-Christmas bank raid in Belfast in which £26m was taken.

Mr Adams's comment was seen by many as a departure from the previous absolute insistence by both the IRA and Sinn Fein that republicans did not carry out the robbery. The British and Irish governments have blamed the IRA.

He quickly issued a disclaimer saying he believed the IRA, and added: "Any other interpretation of my remarks is malicious and misleading".

Those remarks came during an interview yesterday with a Madrid radio station, Cardenasur, on a visit to Spain. Mr Adams said he believed IRA assertions, but went on: "Maybe I'm wrong, but I believe them." Observers were left speculating whether his words were the beginning of a damage limitation exercise after weeks in which credibility has drained away from himself and Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness.

Mr McGuinness especially has taken a hammering in television appearances in which he stuck to the line that the IRA did not carry out the robbery. Few have believed him. Mr Adams's comment could therefore be seen as a sign that republicans have realised they were in an ever-deepening hole and have decided to stop digging.

But they will insist Sinn Fein had no knowledge of the robbery, even if the IRA carried it out.

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