Monday 18 December 2017

McGuinness may have opened floodgates for victims' stories

Sinn Fein chief has discovered the rules of enforced amnesia don't apply in the South, says Eilis O'Hanlon

Maybe the British have the right idea. Forget about elections. Just anoint some hereditary head of state -- then there's never any argument about who should sign bills into law, or cut the ribbon at garden fetes, or represent the country overseas. Best of all, our neighbours avoid the farce of evasion, misinformation and downright lies into which our own presidential election has descended since it began, oh, what feels like several hundred years ago.

Have there ever been more porkies told in pursuit of a job which doesn't even have any real authority? Scrapping for power is fair enough, but the Aras is nothing but a decorative feather in the cap of the nation. In fact, considering the follically-challenged appearance of the last two candidates standing at this stage, Aras 2011 is looking like a manifestation of Jorge Luis Borges's description of the Falklands War as being like two bald men fighting over a comb. But still they scrap for it. Sinn Fein has even had to postpone its national fund-raising draw because, according to the party's website, "so many activists and members have been tied up working on the presidential campaign". Most of whom, one can only imagine, have been employed clearing up after yet another pratfall from their candidate.

Colonel Gaddafi even had the bad grace to get himself killed in the middle of Martin McGuinness's campaign, inconveniently re-igniting memories of where it was the IRA got all those weapons during the Seventies and beyond. The Shinners immediately jumped into battle to distance their man from Libya's brutal genocidal dictator, though McGuinness himself told the BBC earlier this year that he felt no shame at all about his connections with Gaddafi. Those were the days when the Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland didn't have to issue constant denials of IRA membership, or spend every day hiding behind the greatest collection of manifest inaccuracies since Baron Munchausen was in his heyday.

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