Sinn Fein President Spot On About Back Of Bus

Mick Hall @ Organized Rage thinks that:

After being refused entrance to White House St Patrick's day event, Sinn Fein leader was right when he said "We will not sit at the back of the bus for anyone."

Few politicians split public opinion more than Gerry Adams, even amongst Irish republicans you can find people who love him or hate him with a passion. I can only think of Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair who divided opinion to such a high degree. People like me hate that woman and the war criminal intensely, but there are those amongst New Labour and the current Tory government who believe they both could walk on water had they chosen to do so, which is only right I suppose as many of these supporters have a fanatical religious zeal about them.

Nevertheless think what you will about Mr Adams, there is little doubt without his somewhat dubious political skills and support within the Provisional Republican Movement, the IRA may never have been brought to the conference chamber let alone acted in such a disciplined manner when the order came for IRA volunteers to stand down. Gerry Adams was in all probability the only Irish Republican with the authority and political skills to bring this about.

Since that day there has been an ongoing get Adams campaign actively pursued by his old foes within the British establishment and the Unionist community in the north of Ireland, and separately by former IRA volunteers who believe he betrayed them by continuously denying he was ever an IRA volunteer, despite all the evidence on the public record contradicting his claim.

Many within this group find it hard to understand why, when first asked about his IRA membership and on subsequent occasions he did not simply reply no comment! They understand why he would refuse to answer questions about his membership, given he is still an active politician and the media and PSNI are desperate to lay a hand on his shoulder, but many of them feel his outright denial strategy has helped to delegitimize the struggle they gave the best years of their lives too. To put it bluntly they feel betrayed by the one man they once had absolute trust in.

Campaign stepped up a gear

Last week in Washington the campaign against Adams was stepped up a gear, when he was refused entry to the annual presentation at the White House of the shamrock by the Irish Taoiseach [Enda Kenny] to president Barack Obama. When he arrived at the White House he was refused entry, when he asked why, that old chestnut 'security' was used to deny him access.

His two Sinn Féin colleagues whom he arrived with, Mary Lou McDonald and Martin McGuinness were ushered smoothly through the door. Adams was stopped, waited for 90 minutes while security examined his documents, including his passport, all to no avail. Having experienced this type of nonsense back in Belfast on many a day, he knew a shake down when he saw it and finally left for his hotel.

The US security service which is responsible for White House security issued the following statement on the incident:

“The Secret Service would like to express our regret that the issue involving Mr Gerry Adams’ entry into the St Patrick’s Day reception could not be resolved in a more timely manner,” it said in a statement on Wednesday night. “Unfortunately, an administrative input error received by the Secret Service was not able to be rectified promptly.”

This statement basically says get used to it Gerry you're no longer on the welcome to the USA VIP guestlist. This particular gremlin had been deliberately placed into the works by the US security service. As if to rub the point home, Martin Ferris, a close associate of Adams who is the long serving Sinn Féin TD for Kerry, was detained by US officials the following day for several hours and due to the delay was forced to take a much later flight to Boston to attend a St Patrick's day parade.

In many ways Adams only has himself to blame for this insult, as he cast aside many loyal US Irish republicans who campaigned for the Irish Northern Aid Committee throughout the 1970, and 80s and worked tirelessly to find a safe refuge for IRA on the runs. Only to replace them with zoot suited Tammany Hall types, banksters, insurance CEOs, and hedge fund managers, many of whom would have been within the White House on that day. Yet on the day not one came to Adams' aid. One would have loved to have been a fly on the wall and watched them disappear as Mary Lou approached to ask for their help to gain admittance for her party leader.

So what lies behind this snubbing of Gerry Adams? Its twofold. The first I gave above, the second is these fair weather supporters of Sinn Féin in the US have a maxim of we'll scratch your back, then you scratch ours. Who pays the piper calls the tune. They are appalled at Sinn Féin's move to the left during the recent Irish general election. It was no accident that during that campaign Goldman Sachs described Sinn Fein as the "biggest risk" to Ireland's recovery and compared Gerry Adam's party to Syriza in Greece.

Total nonsense, but for many of these people Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs CEO is the oracle. Its his Corporation's money which is financing Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign which they all support. None of these toads want to fall out with Mrs Clinton from whom, if she becomes president, all good things will flow. It's said Niall O'Dowd a former Adams stalwart is looking forward to the day when he becomes the US Ambassador at the embassy in Dublin. The last thing these neoliberals wish is to be associated with the leader of a party which regards austerity and a lite regulation of the markets as disastrous and the main cause of many of Ireland's economic woes.

Disastrous to whom O'Dowd might ask.

Yet Gerry Adams was absolutely correct when he said his refusal to gain entry to the White House was an "unacceptable development, Sinn Fein will not sit at the back of the bus for anyone.”

Sinn Féin is the largest all Ireland party, its elected representatives should be treated with respect by foreign governments. It's for the membership to elect the party leader, and for the Irish people to vote SF candidates into office. This they have done in comparatively large numbers.

When Gerry Adams, his party's TDs, MPs, and MEPs travel to the USA they must be treated with the respect their political office demands. They are elected representatives of the Irish people and to hold them up in manufactured security checks, etc, or invite them to a White House shindig and then refuse them entry is to insult the whole Irish nation. These incidents were about far more than Gerry Adams they were about the respect and dignity of the Irish people.

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Anthony McIntyre

Former IRA prisoner, spent 18 years in Long Kesh. Free Speech advocate, writer, historian, humanist, and researcher.

3 comments to ''Sinn Fein President Spot On About Back Of Bus"

  1. Themes of trust broken and betrayal are the stuff of life. As such they feature often in posts and comments here on the 'Quill'.

    The winding journey to maturity is often painful with one-forward and two-backwards phases.
    Efficient forward momentum requires taking responsibility for setbacks and poor decisions rather than blaming others.
    It requires acceptance of previous poor judgements and poor outcomes rather than rationalising them away.
    Only then can well-informed choices for future action (or inaction) be made.

    The route to functional democracy demands that idealistic and immature dogmatism and 'certainty' must eventually be subverted and allowed to evolve into the vulnerable politics of possibility (of success and rejection).

    There'll always be the few broken-hearted idealists, those who can't relinquish their perfectionist positions and take that imperfect democratic and adult path. Alas they're left on the side-path crying in their beer, nursing their grievances and resentments.

  2. Mick,

    'These incidents were about far more than Gerry Adams they were about the respect and dignity of the Irish people.'

    Only if one cares to believe, like Adams, he is the President of Ireland rather than merely the perpetuitous president of a party from Ireland.

    But even were he the President Of Ireland there is something unsettling about the belief that a nation's fortunes are bound up in the personality of a leader Mick,it being the cornerstone of authoritarian and totalitarian regimes.

  3. I do not care for Adams. It kind of serves him right supping at the lord's table. I do not care for totalitarianism and authoritarian leaders. There is no justification. If anyone thinks they will get respect from Obama and US imperialism then they deserve everything they get.

    Until I find out the full facts of '68 or '98 and years in between and since, I don't believe is praise. What little I do know I do not like.


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