Sinn Fein turning on a sixpence over the Quinn family affair?

The good lord knows that Sinn Fein did not invent that old Irish political stock in trade of saying one thing to one set of people and saying quite another to another set… but the party’s split voice on the Quinn family debacle (the Independent has some of the personal detail) is striking…

So the MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone gave the Irish government both barrels for its treatment of the Fermanagh businessman:

He has been treated disgracefully by the Irish Government. Had they not tried to strip him off all his assets, including his home, deny him the ability to function in business, and routinely try to humiliate him I believe he would have paid back every penny he owed to the Irish taxpayer.

He accepted he had done wrong, but all our attempts to make the government show some comment sense were ignored. He is being punished for having the audacity to ‘buy the bank; and for being an ordinary man from Fermanagh who is hugely respected by his community.

That’s not a statement that’s been carried on the party website… Instead, there’s a rather short statement from Mary Lou McDonald (de facto Serjeant-at-Arms of the party’s southern constitutional project, and would be scourge of fat cats everywhere), which could be read as a direct rebuke to her northern colleague:

…neither loyalty nor emotion can be allowed to get in the way of justice being done in the Quinn case or, indeed, any other that may arise.

“The matter is before the courts and that is where the final judgement will be made. The Quinns chose to put a lot into the public domain concerning their case, including the fact that company law was breached and that they have moved assets beyond the reach of IBRC.

As the IBRC is now fully state-owned, money owed to it by the Quinns is money owed the state. The Quinns have an obligation to abide by the law the same as any other citizen. They also have an obligation to work with IBRC to repay what they owe.

Quite so Mary Lou! It’s all just a practical way of procuring compliance…

As the Irish Times points out in a robust and forthright editorial this morning, gets right to the heart of the issue (and Sinn Fein is not the only national organisation in the dock for refusing to tell it like it is:

Mr Quinn’s bluff and bluster attempts to convince a sceptical public that he is more sinned against than sinning have failed to impress. He has sought to cultivate a sense of victimhood in order to exonerate himself and to blame others for mistakes and misjudgments of his own making. In doing so he has managed to sound like a fool while acting like a knave.There can only be one winner in all this. And from what we have seen so far, it will not be Mr Quinn. Speaking truth to power can require moral courage.

Speaking truth to Mr Quinn is the best service that his friends who hold his best interests at heart – not least those in the GAA – can and should now provide.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

  • “… obligation to abide by the law”

    It is still hard to get used to utterances such as that coming from a Sinn Fein politician.

  • HeinzGuderian

    Does anyone know just how much cash Mr Quinn has supposed to have salted away ?

  • Carsons Cat

    I think the precise total has been estimated to be: a helluva lot… + VAT obviously.

  • Barry the Blender

    Now now Mick, be careful in any of your scrutiny of Sinn Fein, or else be prepared to face the torrent of abuse routinely hurled at Pete Whitehead

  • tacapall

    Well you could knock on Sinn Fein’s door all day till your knuckles bleed you will not get an answer when screaming through the letterbox about hypocrisy. Its a quality that all politicians and political parties possess.

  • “…..’an obligation to abide by the law,’ It is still hard to get used to utterances such as that coming from a Sinn Fein politician.”

    Or an Irish or a British prime minister, let alone the viceroy in the six counties who refused to abide by a court judgement to release Martin Corey.

  • son of sam

    There’s also a good article by Mark Duncan and Paul Rouse on page 14 of today’s Irish Times.It analyses the the interaction between the Quinns and the G A A and concludes
    “But in the manner in which he has conducted his campaign of public protest,as much as his dealings with the Irish courts,Quinn has demonstrated that there is nothing that is subordinate to the interests of his own family.Not the citizens of this State–and not the reputation of the G A A ”
    It is certainly misleading to assume that all members of the G. A A would take a similar view to that expressed by those high profile individuals on Sunday evening. Why also should we be surprised that Sinn Fein would seek to ride different horses in different jurisdictions? Perhaps the phrase “constructive ambiguity” is appropriate!

  • ArdoyneUnionist

    To coin a phrase “shinners speak with fork tongue”.

    Have the gaa made their position on Quinn support yet???

    Mean while back at the ranch of reality.

    “Meanwhile all insurance policies in the Republic are now subject to a 2% levy indefinitely to fill the financial hole found in Quinn Insurance”.

  • I don’t see how people famous for being in the GAA supporting Quinn equates to the GAA supporting him any more than David O’Leary’s support for John Major in 1992 required an explanation from the FAI.

  • aquifer

    “He has sought to cultivate a sense of victimhood in order to exonerate himself and to blame others for mistakes and misjudgments of his own making.”

    Sounds like an ideal Sinn Fein election candidate.

  • son of sam

    One notable absentee from the group of G A A “celebrities ” last Sunday was the current Fermanagh manager ,Peter Canavan.Peter has never sought to deny his Sinn Fein associations and one might have reasonably assumed that he above all people would have been there.Maybe he was on holiday or perhaps he conveniently had another pressing engagement !

  • Mister_Joe

    son of sam,

    Why are you dragging into this someone with nothing to do with it? What is your agenda?

  • Lionel Hutz

    All those high profile people are gonna regret it. But it’s wrong to suggest that because some GAA figures were there that the GAA support him – even if one of them was as respected as Mickey Harte – no more than you can say that the Vatican supports him because of the presence of Fr Trendy

  • son of sam

    Mister Joe
    Sorry to disappoint you.There’s no hidden agenda.Those who spoke from the platform were the “great and good”of the G A A.Peter Canavan was arguably one of the finest players of his time.He is now the Fermanagh manager.In his other life he has endorsed various Sinn Fein election candidates over recent years and was a fairly high profile supporter of Martin Mc Guinness in his Presidential campaign last year(check Martin 4 President on You Tube).It seemed surprising that given all the other luminaries there, that he was absent.As I said he m ay have been on holiday but I was speculating that given S F’s current apparent duplicity on the Quinn issue,he might have been advised to be conveniently unavailable.I could of course be wrong but it’s a point of view and one which I feel entitled to express .

  • Tochais Síoraí

    Actually, Canavan like most SFers is probably trying to stay very low key on this one – Gildernew is the only high profile SF ‘supporter’ . Be interesting if there was an election round the corner as to whether the Quinn supporters would run candidates. By the time there is an election however, I reckon the momentum will have gone out of the campaign.

    However, a point has been made about who’s not there from the GAA as opposed to who’s there. I didn’t notice any prominent personalities from any of the local GAA counties (MH maybe but hardly local). Kernan, Boylan, Harte and O’Rourke is hardly a great cross section. But I have noticed in the photograph shown in the Irish Times, the Irish Examiner and local papers there’s is a convicted fraudster in a very prominent position.

  • Tochais Síoraí

    (re above last sentence I’m not referring to anyone in the Quinn family on this occasion)

  • son of sam

    Tochais Siorai
    Fair point re Canavan.If as we are led to believe,there is another rally,it will be interesting to see who the platform speakers are and where it takes place.The volume of support for Quinn may be variable the further one moves away from Cavan/Fermanagh .The hand of Peter Quinn(Sean’s brother)is evident in assembling the G A A celebrities .Will they try and broaden the base of speakers the next evening?