Defenders of democracy must now unite against extremes of Sinn Fein
Micheal Martin and Leo Varadkar's clashes with Sinn Fein show democratic politicians must oppose the wreckers of peace, writes Ruth Dudley Edwards
So what was the Taoiseach playing at when he said in the Dail last week that Mary Lou McDonald reminded him of Marine Le Pen in her addiction to a script? Actually, though I'm no fan of her politics, I think Ms Le Pen should complain about being mentioned in the same breath as Mary Lou McDonald. After all, Le Pen showed commendable independence by standing up to her father; by contrast "I-believe-Gerry" McDonald is notoriously slavish towards her father figure/scriptwriter.
Indeed any implied comparison between the French National Front and Sinn Fein is unfair. The FN is a far right extreme nationalist party: Sinn Fein is an extreme nationalist cult masquerading as a party, which changes its political direction when it suits. Latterly they've rebranded themselves. "We get long lectures from Sinn Fein about its detailed positions," said Varadkar, to which McDonald replied: "They are the positions of nationalist communities and progressives in the North." Watch out, Alliance and Greens. No longer is Sinn Fein confining itself to destroying the SDLP, it has your electorates in its sights and is busy wooing your useful idiots.
As a cult, Sinn Fein reminds me of the Church of Scientology, which is brutal in its suppression of internal criticism through brainwashing and psychological abuse and pursues its ex-members and external critics with threats, harassment and lawsuits. Last month alone, its totalitarianism was highlighted when Limerick ex-councillor Lisa Marie Sheehy spoke of being forced out of the party after she was "undermined, bullied and humiliated"; expelled Tipperary councillor Seamus Morris said he had contemplated suicide because of "an intense, nine-month hate campaign of harassment and slander"; June Murphy, one-time East Cork councillor, spoke of a "nightmare" period of "systematic abuse" before she resigned in 2015; and Gerry O'Neill, one of three expelled Wicklow councillors, said the party had made a statement that was a "barrage of lies" and "codology" intended to obscure differences of opinion.
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