I can understand that the political climate of the 1960's and the start of the troubles in the 1970's would lead some to joining paramilitaries on both sides of the divide with what they thought were good intentions such as feeling they were defending their communities but within a very short time both the IRA and the Loyalist organisations were taken over by criminal gangs. When I was in Ireland we often believed that the rival sides were in collusion when it came to criminal activity in Belfast but it seems that even the supposed Republican stronghold of South Armagh are working hand in hand with the Loyalist gangs of West Belfast.
This BBC news story here details recent arrests in Loyalist West Belfast at a suspected illegal fuel dump, with the smuggled fuel originating in Republican South Armagh.
I spent many months watching fuel tankers move across the South Armagh border and we knew that some of the profit from selling this fuel would end up in the IRA war chest but not many of us would have thought it would have also been helping fill the pockets of Loyalist terrorist gangs.
So forget this romantic views of Michael Collins, Freedom fighters, the majority of the members of both the IRA and the Loyalist gangs were nothing more than gangsters.
A fuel tanker leaves the complex owned by Slab Murphy on the South Armagh border, after a raid by Police from both sides of the border in 2006. Slab has been accused on a number of occasions of being a senior member of the IRA Army Council, wonder if any of his fuel ended up on the loyalist Shankill Road?