‘Gone too far’ by two.

The Guardian carries two articles today. In the First, Paper to sue over minister’s IRA claim Dan Milmo reveals that 3 men associated with Today Ireland have instructed lawyers to issue libel writs against Michael McDowell. Elsewhere, Time to lose the men in berets, Gerry David Aaronovitch expresses frustration and outrage that Gerry Adams kept company with men in combat fatigues and berets at a commemorative event in StrabaneQuite a contrast. On the one hand Mairtin O’Muilleoir, Robin Livingstone and Peter Quinn are taking on Michael McDowell for “repeated allegations that the Daily Ireland, an all-Ireland republican newspaper, is backed by the IRA. Last month he compared the Belfast-based newspaper with Völkischer Beobachter, a Nazi propaganda sheet of the 1930s.” Minister McDowell also named Senior SF officials as members of the IRA Army council – Mairtin O’Muilleoir is reported thus:

he was not surprised that the attack on his newspaper had come in the “same breath” as criticism of the largest republican party in Northern Ireland.
“It’s open season on northern nationalists and especially northern nationalists who are sympathetic to Sinn Féin. There is an attempt to criminalise that body of opinion.”

Meanwhile, David aaronovitch, who admits that Adams is a “man I’ve come to admire” describes a scene which would come close to a modern-day version of a Nazi Rally Where Mr Adams addresses men who
participated in a :

“republican rally in the town of Strabane last weekend, a rally in which 1,000 marchers paraded through the streets chanting, “IRA! IRA!”

and asks

But what the hell is he doing still in that company? Behind him and around him are men in combat fatigues and berets, some in the stand-at ease position, one with a flag. Whose army, exactly, are they? Whose taxes maintain them? What parliament or assembly appointed or regulated them? The newspapers call them a “colour party”, but what battle honours are on their flags? Enniskillen? The Baltic Exchange? Warrington?

To quote Dan Milmo :

Mr O’Muilleoir said he was not surprised that the attack on his newspaper had come in the “same breath” as criticism of the largest republican party in Northern Ireland.

“It’s open season on northern nationalists and especially northern nationalists who are sympathetic to Sinn Féin. There is an attempt to criminalise that body of opinion.”

Photographs such as those taken Strabane, February 2005, of the President of Sinn Féin as seen in various newspapers do not help Sinn Féin and indirectly the Daily Ireland’s cause.

When one’s admirer writes:

There isn’t another mainstream party whose leaders make speeches flanked by members of their own private armies; there isn’t another mainstream party whose activists carry out punishment beatings; there isn’t another mainstream party whose overt political organisation is covertly interlinked with that of a secret paramilitary organisation. In a normal democracy you can expect just a little criticism for these practices.

surely it’s time for some serious reflection?