Irish Republican News · March 22, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: After the feeding frenzy
After the feeding frenzy

By Father Sean Mc Manus,
President, Irish National Caucus

Now that the St. Patrick’s Day anti-Sinn Fein feeding frenzy is over, where do things go from here?

Without doubt, the enemies of Sinn Fein and the enemies of the Irish peace-process have had a grand few days, and have landed some blows. And some politicians, being politicians, ran for the tall grass, while Senator John Mc Cain disgraced himself in a Paisley-like outburst of bigotry and ignorance. What gives Mc Cain -- who participated in the totally unjust and indefensible Vietnam War, in which hundreds of innocent Vietnamese civilians were slaughtered -- the right to hypocritically lecture the Irish on violence?

But what really is the end result? Has Sinn Fein been damaged?

Anyone who knows anything about the history of Irish-American nationalism will know that it’s when the Irish Cause is under the most severe attack that Irish-American rally the strongest. They “ get their Irish up” when they see the rich and the powerful, both in Ireland and the United States, through unjust and deceitful means attempt to demonize the man who has become the very symbol of the Irish Cause, Gerry Adams.

Obstructed But Not Damaged

So has Sinn Fein been seriously damaged? No, I do not believe they have. They have been obstructed. And they certainly need to overcome those obstructions if they are to keep advancing the Irish peace-process. One of the ironies of all of this is that it has become clearer and clearer to all Americans that it is The Irish Republican Movement that has kept the peace-process alive and that without them there would never have been a peace-process in the first place -- surely not the outcome their enemies had hoped for. Irish Republicans are now seen not just as one of many players, but as the standard- bearers of the peace-process... if they fail, the peace-process fails... if they do not move first, nobody moves ... if Gerry Adams gives up on the peace-process all is lost. It’s an awesome burden, and maybe an unfair one, but that’s the way it actually is --and, indeed, has been since the John Hume and Adams launched the peace-process.

The One Indispensable Leader

So in all their attacks, in all their shameful attempts to demonize Gerry Adams, the enemies of the peace-process have in actual fact helped to establish Adams as the one indispensable leader. That is why they now must try to destroy the peace-process because they know the most direct way to destroy Sinn Fein is to destroy Sinn Fein’s greatest asset, and greatest accomplishment, the Irish peace-process.

It was, again unfairly, said about Caesar’s wife “ she must not only be chaste but seen to be chaste”. So too Irish Republicans must go out of their way to show they are not involved in any wrongdoing. (Obviously Sinn Fein cannot be responsible for the action of every Republican -- no more than Teddy Kennedy can be responsible for the action of every Democrat in Massachusetts). And they must move in a major way to remove the obstructions placed on them by others -- and they cannot wait for others to do that. That would be like waiting for Minister of Justice Michael Mc Dowell to do something to help Sinn Fein increase their vote in the Irish Republic.

What Must Be Done

Sinn Fein must somehow get things back to where they were before Christmas when the IRA were, quite extraordinarily, “ prepared to speedily resolve the issue of arms, by Christmas if possible, and to invite two independent witnesses, from the Protestant and Catholic churches, to testify to this. In the context of a comprehensive agreement we were also prepared to move into a new mode and to instruct our Volunteers that there could be no involvement whatsoever in activities which might endanger that agreement”.

Somehow Sinn Fein must do this -- and they must not give a veto on their actions to Ian Paisley, Michael McDowell or John Mc Cain. They must act as free agents whose top priority is to advance the peace-process.

And Sinn Fein must somehow come to terms with the policing issue, which I knew was always going to be the most difficult of all. How can Gerry Adams look the family of Pat Finucane in the eye and tell them that all the bad old days are truly over, that all bad attitudes and bad individuals, bad laws and bad systems, have been removed and that a young Finucane could with honor and pride now join the police and protect the rights of all the people in Northern Ireland?

And yet if Sinn Fein remains aloof from the police, there will never be an acceptable police service in Northern Ireland, because the police will never fully change until Sinn Fein forces that change by its active participation.

I don’t know how Gerry Adams does all that has to be done. But I do know there is not another man or woman on the island of Ireland who can do it. Instead of being demonized Adams should be prayed for and wished Godspeed in his work to bring justice, equality, nonviolence and peace to Ireland. And in saying this I know I echo the opinion of the vast majority of Irish-Americans.

© 2005 Irish Republican News