Saturday 23 November 2019

Adams wants direct rule in the North, coalition in the South

Cartoon by Jim Cogan
Cartoon by Jim Cogan
Eoghan Harris

Eoghan Harris

Last Sunday, Gerry Adams and Sinn Fein were in trouble in the Republic on two issues: Gerry Adams's call not to prosecute the murderers of Tom Oliver, and Sinn Fein's rejection of Arlene Foster's olive-branch speech on restoring the Northern Executive.

But last Monday, two Northern nationalists, Eamonn Mallie and Colum Eastwood, leader of the SDLP, rode to Sinn Fein's rescue.

Both sang from the same anti-Arlene Foster hymn sheet, although Eastwood's remarks lacked the dismissiveness of Mallie's polemic in The Irish Times.

At the same time Sinn Fein activated its distractor strategy, which always gets a receptive reaction in RTE.

Normally it doesn't matter what rubbish Sinn Fein dumps on its distractor because RTE will recycle it without looking too closely.

But even RTE should have been ashamed to not say 'get lost' when Adams dangled the distractor ring of his non-resignation.

This was followed by another tired trope - that Adams wanted a referendum on Irish unity.

Now if RTE had the normal reflexes of good journalism it would have heaved a sceptical sigh and turned the spotlight back on the murder of Tom Oliver and Sinn Fein's rejection of Foster's olive branch.

If RTE really cared about peace and Irish democracy, it would give a rest to DUP mavericks like Sammy Wilson who are more hardline than Arlene Foster.

If RTE really wanted to subject Sinn Fein to hard scrutiny it would have interviewed SDLP politician Alban Maginness about his convincing exposure of Sinn Fein's wrecking strategy in last Wednesday's Belfast Telegraph.

Instead it allowed itself to be mesmerised by Gerry Adams's seance sessions on whether or not he would resign, as well as by Mallie's fulminations about Foster.

RTE was not the only media outlet to give tribalism a soft ride - after all The Irish Times published Mallie's dismissive piece.

The Irish Times and RTE accepted Mallie's complaints about Arlene Foster doing "damage to the nationalist psyche" by resisting an Irish Language Act.

But neither The Irish Times nor RTE asked Mallie about the damage to the unionist psyche done by Michelle O'Neill's maudlin tribute to the IRA gang who set out to murder RUC men in Loughgall.

Last week it took the resignation of a Limerick Sinn Fein councillor to rub into RTE the truth that the rest of us take for granted - that there is a Scientology side to Sinn Fein.

In fairness, Bryan Dobson and Sean O'Rourke followed up with searching interviews on the issue.

But one-off interviews, by individual RTE reporters, are no substitute for a steady, relentless structural RTE focus on the closed culture of Sinn Fein.

A real reform of RTE current affairs should mean more than conducting the odd cosmetically sharp interview.

It would mean RTE removing its starry-eyed spectacles and seeing the Provos clearly and plainly for what they are: a political cult with a murderous past.

The Irish Independent kept a tight focus on the murder of Tom Oliver for the past two weeks. Doing so was not just good digging journalism but also a service to Irish democracy.

The Irish Independent's steady focus on Tom Oliver didn't just put a question mark over Sinn Fein's past. It also put a question mark over its future.

For example, we are told that the next 'Mary Lou McDonald' generation will be different from that of Gerry Adams, and free of the murky past.

But the Irish Independent's follow up with Sinn Fein ideologue Eoin O Broin disproved that delusion by extracting some extraordinary admissions.

O Broin began with an unfortunate sentence that admitted of two different meanings. "I believe Gerry Adams's view has been twisted." Indeed, it has.

He went on to show the next generation in Sinn Fein sails by the same dark compass as the Gerry Adams generation when he opposed the prosecution of what he called "former combatants" which would include the IRA murder gangs.

Last Wednesday, Alban Maginness, writing in the Belfast Telegraph, gave us a trenchant analysis of Sinn Fein's strategy for the foreseeable future.

Maginness is a veteran nationalist politician of the same vintage as Seamus Mallon, the last SDLP generation not afraid to act with good authority.

His headline summed up his hard thesis: "Gerry Adams has zero interest in trying to make Stormont work... his sole intention is its annihilation."

His sub-heading amplified the Adams strategy. "The Sinn Fein president is happy to let the Assembly stagnate while his party drives its agenda in Dublin."

Maginness does not share Mallie and Eastwood's dismissive view of Arlene Foster's olive-branch speech. He notes that Sinn Fein summarily rejected it "despite the positive and flexible tone of her statement".

Referring to her softer views on the Irish Language Act, he rightly points out that "short of absolutely capitulating on this issue, the DUP leader could hardly have made a much stronger public statement of her position".

Maginness goes on to succinctly outline Sinn Fein's double-barrelled strategy North and South:

"In a nutshell, Sinn Fein have abandoned the partnership spirit of the Good Friday Agreement and strive to put themselves into a position of complete political superiority in the North and, in the meantime, concentrating all their major efforts in achieving power in government in the South."

Maginness says Sinn Fein wants direct rule, during which time they can present the Brits as ogres and hope the DUP, deprived of political outlets, will destroy itself.

"Sinn Fein now believe they are untouchable and can do anything they like... because they hold the monopoly of power in the nationalist community.''

Maginness then turns the coin over to show us what Sinn Fein has in store for the island as a whole.

"Once they have achieved political power in the South - which is a real possibility - they can revisit the North and maybe devise a more flexible strategy."

Maginness concludes with a cold prediction which rings totally true to anyone who has been paying attention to Sinn Fein's wrecking strategy.

"Therefore, bar a miracle, the prospects of success in the latest round of interminable talks are nil."

I believe every word of Alban Maginness's analysis. Because it is the only analysis that fits all the facts and explains Sinn Fein's extraordinary behaviour.

All I would add is the Adams age factor. Adams wants to leave a legacy.

It will be a lethal legacy because it includes a united Ireland. In his lifetime.

For that I believe Adams is ready to wreck the Good Friday Agreement and go into coalition with whatever useful idiots he can find in the Republic.

Idiots, because in coalition Sinn Fein will raise ructions, splitting from coalition partners at crucial moments, and putting the Republic at risk.

At a moral level we risk condoning the murder of men like Tom Oliver. At an economic level we risk ruining the recovering economy of the Republic. You have been warned.

Sunday Independent

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