Sinn Féin is a 20th century movement in a 21st century world

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has said “he would address his role in the Troubles, if the mechanism existed” and would “encourage other republicans” to do the same. He indicated he would be more open and follow Martin McGuinness’s lead in reflecting on his darker side. This is an important statement by Gerry Adams.

Obviously we are yet to know far more about Gerry Adams than carefully edited and tailored information fed from the ministry of truth at Sinn Féin. Victims will be waiting with bated breath as the door to Gerry Adams’s skeleton closet finally begins to open somewhat. This could be a sign that senior republicans are finally going to admit responsibility for causing much of the Troubles in Northern Ireland – bar naming individuals who died or were sanctioned at their hands or orders. Of course there is a big difference between speaking vaguely of nefarious conduct during the height of the Troubles and actually atoning for them. No member of Sinn Féin or its paramilitary hue, the IRA, have owned up as individuals to any specific acts or deeds. McGuinness admitted he was a senior commander in the IRA but that falls well short of actually taking responsibility for deeds done. Many victims are now saying the truth has died with McGuinness but many suspect Gerry Adams knows a thing or two about Martin McGuinness’s role in their loved-one’s loss. The motives for Adams’s recent slow move towards openness is not without ingenuity. It may well benefit Adams considerably to fill the shoes of McGuinness who was very respected in republican extremist circles. The Sinn Féin president needs to command respect from all republicans now that McGuinness is no longer around in dealing with those who have terrorist leanings. Martin McGuinness had more or less the same status in republicanism as the Sinn Féin president. Adams is now left alone to deal with and lead all republicans in troubled and failing devolutionary times. With McGuinness out of the picture Gerry Adams faces the gruelling task of keeping the republican family together in the background of failed Stormont talks and with a united Ireland growing fainter with every passing impasse. The best thing Gerry Adams can do is admit responsibility for any criminal acts he may have done and leave republicanism altogether. 

The problem with Sinn Féin is that they believe in themselves too much. Sinn Féin have an ego which is much bigger than their capability. They are regularly accused of being a party of protest, rather than being a party of government. If this is true, then what can they achieve in the long run?

Sinn Féin are just too proud to give up the struggle and admit crass failure. They are a 20th century movement in a 21st century world who have failed to recognise the passage of time. 


Shanbally, Co Cork

DUP throwing small bone to an awfully large dog

As the DUP retreat to the trenches Arlene, Nigel and presumably the rest of the crew congratulated themselves with the customary backslapping at the team’s performance in sticking to their intractable and long held policy of inflexibility – thus ensuring the status quo.

There was a glimmer of hope as Arlene appeared with Nigel and outlined possible compromises – although it appeared she was tossing a small bone to an awfully big dog. The former first minister declared “she wants to respect and better understand the Irish language” and “people should be ‘facilitated’ in speaking Irish”. However, she added a caveat which suspiciously amounts to a precondition. She asserted “Irish needs to be seen in the context of the whole cultural respect and affirmation of identity of Northern Ireland”. Conversely the character of this statement suggests Mrs Foster is confused and bewildered, the language indicating she is unsure of her sense of place and belonging in the country of her birth.

She also affirmed the need for unionists to better understand the culture of the Irish, something she readily admits “we are not part of”.

She fails to mention or indeed concede the fact that British culture and tradition was forcibly imposed on Catholics/nationalist of the north. Since the implementation of partition all things British has been dumped upon the native Irish – the union flag, triumphalist marches, the north closed down every Twelfth and a host of other intrusions. Any objections were never met with meaningful dialogue from unionists, just the same tired rhetoric – ‘it’s our culture and tradition’.

Mrs Foster and the naysayers in the DUP need to recognise and accept in order to offload the burdensome baggage they are afflicted with they have to be more open and conciliatory to a rich, beautiful and historic culture of world prominence.


Belfast BT1

Letting the cat out of the bag

M Jaffe (April 4) accuses me of putting forward propaganda as fact with no mention of the demolition of Bedouin homes which was the subject of my letter. Instead, he launches into Israel’s usual defence of how well they treat these unfortunate people whose lands have been expropriated and who now live in 2 per cent of the Negev where previous to the establishment of the Israeli state they had ownership or de facto control of 98 per cent.

The scene was set in 1937 when Ben Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel, in a letter to his son wrote “Negev land is reserved for Jewish citizens, whenever and wherever they want... we must expel Arabs and take their places... and if we have to use force, then we have the force at our disposal...”. This was, and is, the Zionist mindset before the great Estate Agent in the sky decided who really owned the land of Palestine.

Mr Jaffa lets the cat out of the bag when he states that the Bedouin were “given land” by the colonisers.

With regard to his other criticism, President Carter stated on Israel radio, following the publishing of his book Peace: Not Apartheid in 2006, that many of Israel’s policies in Palestine are “worse than South Africa’s”.

So much for ‘the only democratic country in the wider Middle East.


Belfast BT9

Cold house for Catholic vote

Mary Leahy (April  14) asks searching questions concerning the suspension of three SDLP councillors.

The David Ford Abortion Bill has shown that neither Claire Hanna MLA, who abstained in voting and that her election running mate, Dr Naomh Gallagher as an advocate for radical abortion, did not also experience political excommunication, why not? Clearly the SDLP, is a first rate, second rate advocate for the protection of the unborn and we are seeing a slow but steady abandonment of the noble ideals of its founders in order to be more electable. An over reaction? Well, in their  election broadcasts recently  there was no mention of a pro-life stance but rather a solid advocacy for same sex unions and integrated education. If this doesn’t point to it becoming a cold house for the Catholic vote, I don’t know what does.


Clonoe, Co Tyrone

Puzzling statement

The report (April 17) that the group calling itself Oglaigh na hEireann may be about to renounce violence will come as welcome news to all right thinking people.

However, the statement that the group “has not launched any significant attacks in recent times” is both puzzling and perturbing.

ONH has claimed responsibility for a spate of so-called ‘punishment’ shootings over the past few months.

Kneecappings need to be made a thing of the past. Their continuation is a stain on all of us who live here. The perpetrators of these attacks need to be told this loudly and clearly.


Derry city