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will sinead speak out on ira abusers?

It's over 20 years since Sinead O'Connor tore up that picture of Pope John Paul II on US TV.

She did it, she said, in order to draw our attention to the mass cover-up of child-abuse within the Catholic Church.

Her action was ridiculed by many as "bizarre", "crazy" and "nonsensical". I remember watching her and thinking that she was Ireland's Cassandra - telling us truths that we refused to hear.

We know now that she was spot-on about child abuse in the Church. She was my hero then.

Sinead, herself a victim of abuse at the hands of her mother and at the Magdalene Laundry she was sent to at the age of 15, has always been an advocate for the rights of abused children.

She has suffered with her bi-polar illness, something I can relate too having been diagnosed with the same illness myself, and she is a loving mother to four children.

Oh, and she's one of the most talented singer-songwriters this country has produced. Yes, she's had her ups and downs - from priest to pop-star and back again, from marriage to divorce - but the one thing she's always been consistent about is her defence of those who have been innocent victims of abuse.

Now, I have no insight into Sinead's state of mind at the moment, but I can understand her wanting to do something to "deliver equality, rights, justice and prosperity for all the children of the nation", as she wrote in her blog.

cover-up

But what I can't understand is why she would want to join an organisation which is currently at the centre of myriad accusations about the cover-up of rape and abuse of children, much in the same way the Church was.

Amazingly Sinead applied to Sinn Fein this week. Her first nugget of political advice was to call for the "elders" of SF to "step down".

Somehow I can't see Gerry Adams, who himself declined to inform authorities about his abuser brother for many years, leaving him free to work with vulnerable children, taking much heed of her advice.

The brave, and much maligned, Mairia Cahill - herself a victim of abuse and cover-up by the IRA - was understandably surprised, writing on Twitter: "The irony is her [Sinead] writing a blog about wanting to protect children and then saying SF will protect para 4 of the proclamation."

No doubt, like many of us, Sinead looks at the mainstream political parties and thinks, "there has to be something better", but her choice of party is at odds with her brave and powerful defence of victims of abuse in the past.

And as the sex abuse scandal rumbles on, I doubt if there will be any tearing up of pictures of the SF leadership.


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