Mimicking Margaret

There is nothing more agreeable in life than to make peace with the establishment - and nothing more corrupting - AJP Taylor.

In his recent Morning Ireland contribution, during which he offered to talk to armed republicans, Sinn Fein boss Gerry Adams revealingly took a swipe at the unarmed republican party éirígí. Arguably this had nothing to do with éirígí support for current armed campaigning – there seems to be no such support – and is more related to éirígí candidates contesting local government elections in West Belfast where if the party is to pick up a council seat it is almost certain to be at Sinn Fein’s expense.

Eirígí general secretary Breandán MacCionnaith, formerly spokesperson for the Garvaghy Road residents, read as much into the Adams comments when he responded to his former party leader’s statement:

This is the latest in the long line of cynical attacks by Gerry Adams and others in the Sinn Féin leadership upon éirígí. These attacks are motivated by nothing more than Sinn Féin’s fear that éirígí’s coherent socialist republican message is gaining increasing support in areas that Adams & Co regard as their personal political fiefdoms.
How coherent eirigi’s socialist republican message is remains a moot point. The party would need to have its policies fleshed out and subject to the test of public scrutiny before the issue of coherence could be decided one way or the other. Yet, MacCionnaith is hardly to be faulted for detecting a disingenuous motive in the Adams comments on éirígí: ‘incapable of dealing with éirígí’s platform against the cutbacks to public services being implemented by the Stormont coalition, the president of Sinn Féin is reduced to creating non-issues of his own imagining.’

Adams, seeking to surf the heightened emotional waves - which was often employed against his own party by critics he slammed as opportunist supporters of repression - generated by the Omagh killing of PSNI member Ronan Kerr, accused éirígí of not stating its position on the action. He also accused it of running for cover. Presumably, Adams hopes that by casting a wide lens he will cause the public to catch sight of more than just the armed republicans; lump everyone together and brew up guilt by association. By extension, a vote for éirígí becomes a vote for killing people like Ronan Kerr. Why let the truth get in the way of hobbling an electoral rival?

In stating his party’s position in relation to both Adams and armed republicanism MacCionnaith said:

éirígí’s position on the recent killing in Omagh and on other armed actions is clear and unambiguous. The party is not aligned to or supportive of any armed groups or their actions. This has been our position since our foundation five years ago, something Gerry Adams is well aware of.
Again, like its coherence, éirígí has faced probing on its claim to clarity. Some ambivalence on the group’s part was detected in the most recent study on ‘oppositional republicanism’ by the London academic Martyn Frampton. But not rushing the fences to join in the chorus of condemnation is a far cry from endorsing the current use of republican physical force.

A much more piercing element in the discourse of Breandán MacCionnaith was his pointed reference to the persona of the mimic man of anti-colonial literature that Adams and Sinn Fein have donned with such tailor made precision.

Gerry Adams is attempting to obscure this position in acts that mimic British Thatcherite ministers and the most reactionary of Twenty-Six County politicians. He is engaged in felon setting of a kind that was once used against Sinn Féin when the establishment deemed them a threat.
It is this aping by former radicals of the power that was once resisted that infuses many republicans with ire. It also alienates them from the voice which claims to address them. The employment of the same terminology that was used by the Northern Ireland Office to forge the unremitting climate of malevolence that led to the deaths of Bobby Sands and his 9 comrades is calculated to be galling to a republican ear. It seeks not to receive republicans but to repel them.


  1. AJP Taylors quote really says it all about where Adams is now Anthony,he is as corrupt as it is possible to get,and is nothing more than a stooge for his masters the brits.demonising republicans is nothing more than what youd expect from a man with such a murky past,

  2. In my opinion, Eirígí, (without getting into a game of "whataboutery") should have came straight back at Adams, and asked him to condemn the killing of Jean McConville. No platitudes, no, "it was wrong", "it shouldn't have happened" etc. just plain condemnation, and, asked Adams to call it a crime and a murder, same as he has called the killing of Ronan Kerr. Erígí canvassers would do well to remember that when they are on the doorsteps trying to get votes (if anyone in the household tries to buttonhole them on the killing of Ronan Kerr). To date, not one member of SF has ever condemned the killing of McConville (nor the people responsible for it), called it a crime, nor referred to it as murder. Wonder why?

  3. Belfast git I think the chances of putting your more than reasonable query re the murder of Jean Mc Conville or any other questions to any psf canvassers in around this part of Belfast is practically nil,as they are very selective about which doors the call to and from what I,ve witnessed they havent been to to many around me.


  5. All the talk about Gerry Adams willing to talk to armed republicans...Would that be with the same 'rules' as the SDLP-Provisional meeting that never happened because (as far as I know)...The provisional members wore mask's and wanted it recorded...?

  6. SF and Adams are now trying to destroy republicanism, not advance it. That's their call. Todays oirish news has Adams calling for a referendum on a united Ireland. With the IMF in the free state his timing couldn't be better in order to preserve the union. Or maybe he wants it in 2016 to fullfill SF predictions?
    eirigi should continue what it is doing, republicans and ex prisoners need an outlet. Kiddies playing at revolutionary politics and SDLP voters lending their votes is all ok. Sooner or later SF are going to become boring to the tactical voters.

  7. AM
    Divide and conquer. Criminalize and marginalize. Sinn Fein's latest strategy in the pursuit of votes.

    The problem, which concerns me most, is that those in the ‘free state’ already bought into the Adams routine of...'I’ve learned from the error of my ways,’and that theme, along with his condemnation of anyone outside of Sinn Fein, will carry through into the May elections as well? Does anyone have an opinion on what it would take to defeat them going forward?

  8. Gerry Adams has said he is ready to talk with 'dissidents' to convince them of the merits of his grand plan to achieve unifaction. Last year eirigi expressed it's willingness to publically debate with Sinn Fein, an offer which has yet to be taken up. His placing of eirigi within the 'dissident' camp should see such an engagement take place if he is sincere.

    I suspect this is more to do with the up coming elections and the fact eirigi has two credible candadites standing in West Belfast. Felon setting can have a nasty habit of backfiring on those who use it against respectable republicans like McCotter and McCusker. Perhaps Gerry is more than a little concerned these two activists could eat into the Sinn Fein vote on election day.

  9. Marty,
    Yep, same round my neck of the woods. SF know which morons to go to and which people will tell them to fuck off! The rest of the people?, well, SF just take it for granted that they will vote for them anyway. As you said I haven't seen many SF's about, though that's not unusual in itself, it is coming up to an election.

  10. Helen you said "Does anyone have an opinion on what it would take to defeat them going forward?"

    This maybe very naieve of me..But what people who left PSF..simply rejoining and vote them out. I agree with you on your divide and conquer..Ardoyne is a classic example..On one side you have CARA and on the Other GARC opposing each other..And their respected fathers fought in the same camp and for the same organisation...

  11. Helen its a leadership comprised of ego,carpetbaggers and lying b##tards, my advice as Larry stated for Eirígí is to keep plugging away with honesty the republican community of this country will get the message sooner or later,there is enough ex activists around who know the score who may fall in behind a grouping who can show that they can become a real alternative to psf,from what I can see in this area the membership of psf consists of a few diehards and a load of ceasefire heroes, the latter imo will jump ship the first time it looks rocky. I honestly think psf have been given an open goal with the latest banking crisis and subsequent recession the rise in their seats and vote in the republic was not one of support for their policies rather a protest vote, and as stated before these votes will return to FF when they sort themselves out.psf are a con machine granted a very good one but sooner or later the people will see them for what they are .

  12. What would seem to be over-stated here is the overall impact of all these small localised groups such as éirígí on SF/MI5’s dominant role within Nationalism. The term ‘localised groups’ should shed light on the degree of impact – very little. Adams, when taking a swing at éirígí was only swatting an annoying insect with a non-potent sting. He is quite aware that they will have limited if in fact any impact at all on SF/MI5’s election campaign but finds their incessant buzzing annoying as it continually reminds himself and his sycophantic followers of what Irish Republicanism was once about and how far they have veered from it. No-one wants to be reminded of their betrayal.
    A much more potent alternative to Adams and McGuinness has its roots with in the real power base of SF/MI5.
    The Cumainn in the country areas. This is where the real power of SF/MI5 resides – not in some office on the Falls Road! The sooner the country Cumainn wake up and realise that the tail has to stop wagging the dog the better. Without the support of the country Cumainn Adams and McGuinness don’t have a political party to dance to their tune.
    A few years ago an interesting incident happened within SF/MI5 concerning Francie Molloy and his very public alternative views to the SF leadership over the restructuring of the local Councils – he wasn’t towing the line so to speak – if the Cumainn at that time had realised that they are the power and not Belfast / Derry then I think that this incident would have been handled in a very different manner.

    For this act of unbelievable treachery, little auld bumpkin Francie was called before the Inquisition quickly organised by Mitchel and the boys and made to account for his treacherous behaviour and forced to repent. And I do believe that he was temporarily suspended while his brain was removed and re-programmed……Francie returned later in the fray to concede and apologise for his little indiscretion. I believe a more forthright response to the Inquisition that Francie and his Cumainn were subjected to would have been…..go fuck yourselves…..
    What could have Mitchel and boys done to that response? Would they even have called their Inquisition in the first place.
    The Cumainn in the country areas have absolutely no allegiance to Adams or McGuiinness but solely to their local electorate and support base and the PARTY as a whole, not too individuals ( Adams and McGuinness don’t vote them in!!!!!!!!!).

    The Cumainn hold the key to power and party policy. Hopefully the day will surely come that some Cuman or Cumainn will waken up and realise that they control the party and the direction it is going in and not individuals such as Adams and McGuinness and stop sidelining men and women of political quality at the behest of these two British politicians. Those who currently reside and work in the Cumainn should reflect on this and consider reaching out their hand again to those who were forced to leave and invite them back in again. For those who were once brothers in arms could now rekindle that spirit that once held them together for so long through much more turbulent times.

  13. It's all a bit rich coming from a conniving bastard like Adams.
    Wonder will we have to watch him crawling round the Holy Land this Easter-tide?
    Speaking of rich! Poor Marty Mc Guinness claims, he is in a three bedroom house in the Bogside.
    While the 'cheer leaders of hate are living in mansions'
    Marty, did name any of the mansion dwellers but then he did not mention any of his country retreats either.
    Pandora's box or what?

  14. marty,
    "I honestly think psf have been given an open goal with the latest banking crisis and subsequent recession the rise in their seats and vote in the republic was not one of support for their policies rather a protest vote."

    I tend to agree with that Marty. On the Justice for Gerry McGeough facebook, I have received numerous 'private messages' from people who claim to be "republican socialists" from the south and who mention that 'Sinn Fein is going to save the day economically and that FF and FG are the scum of the earth right now.'

    The only problem with this is the damage SF can do until people catch on to their bullshit as well.


    My only concern with those who left SF and then rejoining would be two:
    (1) I don't think the leadership would accept them back just for that reason alone and (2) the possibility of them becoming corrupted as well.

    The old adage that ‘politics makes strange bedfellows,’ suggests even enemies have something in common.

    I would love to know what it is about political life that even some of the most well intentioned men/women, who have gone into politics to 'clean it up' and 'do the right thing by the voters,' wind up abandoning their principles and goals eventually?

    My favorite saying about politicians is: "The most difficult choice a politician must ever make is whether to be a hypocrite or a liar." Unfortunately, SF has become both.