Sorry I’ve been away most of today. John Fay over at Newshound was earning his money today with an excellent round up of more analysis of the only story in Northern Ireland for the last month. Ferugs Finlay has an excellent piece in the Examiner, which examines Sinn Fein’s impressive (and seemingly impregnable) electoral mandate.HOwever, he believes in attacking the integrity of the Republic’s government Sinn Fein is simply propagandising its way out of a difficult situation:
…on the RTÉ News on Sunday, I heard Gerry Adams saying that the only reason the Government had decided to attack Sinn Féin over the Northern Bank robbery and the issue of criminality was because they wanted to hide their own embarrassment over the Ray Burke affair. I don’t carry any torch for the present Government, but it is simply not true to say that they decided to use Sinn Féin criminality as a diversion to try to mask the publicity surrounding the jailing of Ray Burke. Gerry Adams knows that he is making the crudest of propaganda points when he says that.
He also argues that in continuing remain effectly outside the constraints of either state’s criminal justice system, it leaves itself open to many charges:
For as long as the republican movement feels that it alone will decide what constitutes criminality, and what doesn’t, and for as long as they feel free to dismiss any and all criticism on that basis, they have no-one to blame but themselves for the criticism they get. They seem to have entirely forgotten the Proclamation of Independence by which they claim to set so much store. The call to arms in that document ends by calling on republicans to ensure that “no one who serves that cause will dishonour it by cowardice, inhumanity, or rapine.”
With the maturing of the peace process (at least eleven years old this summer), he believes it is time for Sinn Fein acquire some political maturity of its own:
In a real sense, and not a derogatory one, this is a time for growing up on their part. We are years past the ceasefire, years past the Good Friday Agreement. But the maturing of the process hasn’t been accompanied by the maturing of all its elements. If they care about the process, if they really believe in their own mandate, the republican movement will get away now from the carping criticism and the bullying behaviour. It’s their peace process as much as anyone else’s.
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