Guest writer Sean Mallory with his thoughts on Sinn Fein's handling of the party's most recent sex abuse scandal. This is his second Outside the Box column for TPQ.
Recently the media has been clamouring over itself to report on the latest
self-inflicted bullet in the foot for SF. A wound surprising in itself in
that it wasn’t fatal for the foot is a good place to hide your brains ... until
you find a gun that is! Some grannies have learned many years ago how to
suck eggs but not all as it would appear!
The media, reporting least of all, on the actual act of sexual abuse of young
people and the trauma they endured at the hands of Irish Republicans, implied
that these sordid crimes were widespread but without any hint of solid
foundation - two swallows do make a summer. They predominantly focused on
the cover-up that ensued, orchestrated by the leadership of the Republican Movement,
and their current scurrying to extend the life span of that cover-up even after
the magician’s hanky has been removed. A leadership that hasn’t quite
grasped the concept of skeletons in the closet – they always eventually fall
out! And a leadership that for over thirty years has taken its direction
from one person - Gerry Adams.
But, unlike other institutions that have recently faced such severe criticism
and rebuke for their own failures on similar charges and which have forcibly
striven to distance the crime of the individual as wholly independent of the
organisation and thus ensuring that the good of the institution is retained
while the stain of the individual is wiped away, SF don’t distance the
individual Adams from the Party.
Pope Francis can blame his predecessors, Cameron can blame his predecessors,
Tory or Labour for that matter, and Kenny can blame his predecessors,
irrespective of what colour of shirt they wear, but who are SF to blame?
Those who have treaded the leadership boards before Adams have long since
retreated to the pages of history and the sordid crimes reported by the media
have, it would seem, happened under Adams decades of leadership anyway.
Adams, being the head of the party, and the party being him, cannot be blamed,
as to do so would mean wiping him away. To blame Adams is to blame the
Party. Cameron or Kenny must be livid that they cannot attain such
loyalty as that shown to Adams by his party members. To have all of
your top table willing to lie in the face of public ridicule – now that is
loyalty! But what loving child would deny their mother? So who do they
blame? The simple answer is as it always has been when Adams or the Party
is under threat – the enemies of the peace process. Which translates to
all those who hold a difference of opinion to SF. It would seem that
infallibility is a trait held by more than one leader.
And like those other
institutions who have survived their own scandals, SF has survived again.
In all media outlets it has been reported that since Ms Cahill went public with
her rape claim, SF has not lost any of its’ hard fought gains in the South
irrespective how long Kenny hangs on to Ms Cahill’s plight in the vain attempt
at destroying SF’s gains – hollow sincerity. In the North Ms Cahill and
others are old news, and painful as it is, that is all they ever were – news
items. The dubious earnestness of the politicians who scrambled to
express their disgust at SF has now withered as they turn their attention to
the arrival of Mr G Harte, another G of impeccable credentials and the budget,
flags, parades and ironically the welfare bill. The justice sought has
not been found nor is it ever likely to be. The show is over and all that is
left is most likely alienation for Ms Cahill within her own community.
Irrespective of the crime or who committed it, there is an understanding within
her community that there is a fine line that you don’t cross, but she
did. Meeting with the long-term enemies of Irish Republicanism to ask for
assistance is tantamount to sticking the boot in and is not acceptable even
though, those who condemn her, work closely on a daily basis with those same
Therefore, those who sustained injuries at the hands of Party members whilst
Adams was and is in charge should understand that attacking Adams is attacking
SF for It is he, and he is It, and in turn attacking all of its members.
When we watch, read or listen to an interview by such staunch worshippers as
Mary Lou, when they are asked that irritating ubiquitous question about Adams
being in the IRA, when they all agree with his much publicised response of NO,
don’t be surprised for they are not just defending Adams but are defending the
party also. To answer otherwise would only open the closet to skeletons
that have yet to fall out. Mea culpa will never be heard echoing around
the halls of SF head office on the Falls. Gerry Adams, the greatest political
escape artist in the Western hemisphere, has escaped ... and he will escape