Media profiles of Seamus McGrane – read here and here – who was sentenced to 11 1/2 years jail time today for his part in an alleged plot to plant a bomb during Prince Charles’ visit to the south of Ireland in 2015, failed to pick up on his crucial role as Chairman of the Provisional IRA Executive in the years before the Good Friday Agreement when Gerry Adams – and the peace process – were a hairbreadth away from political extinction.
Below is the text of a speech he gave as Executive Chairman to the IRA Convention of 1997. That convention came a year after Adams had his narrow escape and saw the effective defeat of dissident opposition, led by Quarter-Master General Michael McKevitt, followed by a split and the formation of the breakaway Real IRA.
I reproduced the text of the speech first in A Secret History of the IRA. Here it is in full: