Sunday 24 June 2018

Taoiseach has demeaned office with his republican courtship

Leo's acceptance of invite to Feile launch gave Adams propaganda coup he could scarcely have dreamt of, writes Mairia Cahill

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

Mairia Cahill

In The Fairy Tales of Hermann Hesse, the author writes: "He had very few doubts, and when the facts contradicted his views on life, he shut his eyes in disapproval." It's an excellent summation of the decision to use the Office of Taoiseach to launch the West Belfast Festival programme last Friday. Maybe Leo Varadkar thought his visit to what he termed "simply a community event", would be balanced out by his visit to the Orange Order, and no one would notice his attendance.

He either wasn't briefed that Gerry Adams was the festival chair for decades and is currently listed as one of its directors or he didn't care. Perhaps his office didn't research Feile before agreeing to the invite. Anything is possible.

If they did, and they sent the Taoiseach anyway, Ireland has a serious problem, because it is impossible to examine the latter without viewing it as a conditioning of the republican movement's path to an eventual power grab. Sinn Fein has Leo exactly where it wants him in its court to coalition.

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