ARE we mad? Or ignorant? Or stupid? Or just amoral?
We are being invaded. The hostile army comes from north of the border and with the help of its dedicated band of southern quislings, it operates with increasing effectiveness, albeit undercover. Its generals - several of whom frequently appear on Irish TV and radio talking of peace - were almost all born and brought up in the UK and still live there, drawing salaries from Her Majesty. They talk of freeing the six counties, but they aspire to take over the 26.
Down south, for PR reasons, the IRA only occasionally murders people, but it runs massive criminal rackets, launders stolen money through its huge property and business enterprises and, in inner-city areas, intimidates and sometimes tortures those who challenge it. Ask the kids in Finglas what happens if they cheek the local IRA commander. Particularly ask the kids who walk with a limp.
You might think our Government would focus on dealing with this threat to our sovereignty. You'd be wrong. True, Michael McDowell sometimes says unkind things about the IRA, but he seems easily reassured. Having made a fuss earlier this year about their gangsterism at Dublin Port, within weeks he was telling us that having brought the issue into the public domain, the IRA were now being only slightly criminal.
This week's Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) report on paramilitary activities barely mentioned the south. But it does say that the IRA has closed down some of its criminal activities and has recently stopped its violence. Of course it has. McDowell made a fuss, the IMC report was being prepared and the Provos, for good political reasons, told the lads to behave for a while. The kids in Finglas have a temporary reprieve.
Yet if a tenth of the stories I hear about gardai turning a blind eye to IRA activities are true, the State is already in trouble. Years of nods and winks that the Provos should be indulged for the sake of the peace process have sent the stark message to the average guard that there's no percentage in going after the IRA. And now that Fianna Fail is talking of Sinn Fein as future coalition partners, and there is idle talk of the convicted terrorist and retired armed robber Martin Ferris as a future Minister for Justice, the guards will redouble their efforts to catch speeding motorists rather than investigate disciplined criminals who want to subvert the State.
Smuggling, counterfeiting, fraud and generally ripping off two states has made SF the richest political party in the Europe. For years, in the name of peace, decent, respectable democrats have indulged murderers and criminals. What rottenness is at our core? There's a realistic possibility that so many of us will vote for representatives of the invading army that they will be at the heart of government after the next election. There's even a possibility that Gerry Adams - under whose direction the IRA ruined the lives of tens of thousands of people - will end up as our President.
And we sneer at the people who elected George Bush!