By Jodi Wynn, Newsdesk.org
Recent crimes linked to the Irish Republican Army have undermined support for the group, and Sinn Fein, its political wing, as Northern Ireland gears up for elections in May. “People no longer believe in [the IRA] or trust them,” a shopkeeper in Belfast told the Washington Post. The loss of faith comes after a series of IRA-linked crimes — the January 30 murder of Robert McCartney, the discovery of a money laundering scheme via a Bulgarian bank that has implicated a number of Irish citizens, and a $50 million Belfast bank robbery in December. The IRA further outraged many by offering to shoot the individuals involved with the murder of McCartney, a Catholic and IRA supporter who was killed outside a bar in a non-political brawl. The silence of roughly 70 potential witnesses to McCartney’s murder has been blamed on IRA intimidation.