In July, following a large impromptu demonstration at the Convention Centre where the Dáil was sitting to decide on the question of the introduction of certs for indoor hospitality, Sinn Féin came out quickly to describe the proposal as “discriminatory.”
Sinn Féin MEP Chris McManus had previously voted in favour of the travel cert in the European Parliament so Sinn Féin’s position in July was inspired by nothing other than their being spooked by the notion that there might be some spontaneous popular manifestation that they were not in control of.
The same motivation had informed their comical position on the water charges – which I witnessed at first hand – as they week after week came out with more “radical” proposals in response to the likewise often comical posturing of the far-left parties that were jockeying for leadership of the campaign.
There is no doubt but that the perception that Sinn Féin was opposed to vaccination certs contributed to the significant growth in their polling numbers over the Summer. As with most other aspects of the lockdown, people have become inured to the requirement and so Sinn Féin has subsequently changed tack again and now takes the line that certification must be enforced with rigour. They have also supported reporting and financially penalising any businesses that fail to comply.
To add to that, yesterday the Sinn Féin ministers in the Stormont Executive that administers the north of Ireland as part of the United Kingdom voted to introduce certificates for the hospitality sector there. Presumably the granting of a cert will entail providing the same proofs of identity currently required. This new regimenting of the population of the “occupied Six Counties” within the British administrative apparatus has given rise to some caustic observations.
While spokespersons for the sector have used very similar language to critics of the legislation in the 26 counties, including Sinn Féin, the party’s normally hyperactive press office had not one word to say about their ministers voting in favour of the vaccine certs. In fact, the only press statement in the past two days on the health issues in the north was from Colm Gildernew MLA stating that “urgent measures are needed to address winter pressures on the health service.”
Which is classic Shinner speak as you would get the impression that Gildernew’s party has nothing whatsoever to do with the health service in the part of Ireland of which it is part of the governing coalition. This has been the case with a short break for electoral reasons for the guts of 20 years.
That schizophrenia is amplified among its voter base which despite its putative commitment to a unified Ireland seems to pay little or no heed to what the party does or says on either side of the border.
While the party’s ultra-left youth wing Ogra Shinn Féin rails about the “establishment” – and seriously you can’t get more “establishment” from an Irish nationalist perspective than administering part of the UK – it was too busy celebrating 60 years of one party totalitarian rule in Cuba to comment on what was happening under their noses in Stormont.
Of course, we ought never to underestimate either the cynicism on the part of those who control Sinn Féin, nor the seeming historical lack of knowledge of an elected representative like Jemma Dolan MLA for Fermanagh/South Tyrone who fails to see the irony – or perhaps she does, and I am being unfair – of posing with the symbol of Soviet totalitarianism prior to introducing a bill on workers rights.
Not to mention the fact that some of the Boys of the Old Brigade would be far from best pleased if someone suggested that such rights be applied to the people who work for many of them in various “socialist enterprises.”