McCartneys ignite the US blogosphere…

Richard Delevan notes that there’s an unprecdented groundswell building of opinion behind the McCartney sisters in the US blogosphere. The Big Guns are not yet there, but it may only be a matter of time. Whether they will do anything like the damage to Sinn Fein’s fund raising powers stateside that they were able to do to through the like of the Dan Rather affair, remains open to question.

  • Richard Delevan

    Cheers for the link, Mick. It’s not nearly an exhaustive list. I’ll be keeping an eye on it. Brainster even has a bin-lid .gif (geddit?) with “Gerry Adams is Coming” that he’s gotten a few smaller mammals to put up.
    People here do need to remember one thing about Irish America (here comes the overbroad generalisation): they love Sinn Fein because Sinn Fein are the only Irish people who love them back (at least to their face).

  • Davros

    they love Sinn Fein because Sinn Fein are the only Irish people who love them back (at least to their face).

    Ouch 🙂

  • Two Nations


    you wouldn’t mind elaborating on that.

  • Richard Delevan

    Didn’t realise it was controversial.

    Sinn Fein has solid support among Irish Americans because:

    1. SF has an excellent narrative. “We are the true heirs to the fight for Irish freedom. You didn’t give up on us and we won’t give up on you…”

    2. SF isn’t embarassed by Irish Americans. Other parties are. When Terry O’Quinn, a NY trade union guy with a Queens, NY accent, gets up at the Sinn Fein ArdFheis to speak about how he’s proud to be Irish and a Kerryman to boot, they don’t laugh at him. They cheer. And when they do snicker about it later, it’s with some fondness.
    This is either because they’re better at hiding it, or because they genuinely like Irish Americans.

    3. SF in the US goes out of its way to make Irish America feel included in a definition of ‘Irishness’ and a vital part of the peace process. No other party ever bothered to try to tap this support. When’s the last time an Irish minister bothered to go on any sort of speaking tour in the US? Unthinkable. Why? They’d say, why bother? Which is my point exactly.

    4. SF keeps its anti-American bent well-hidden in America. It goes to Wall Street and with the help of Bill Flynn convinces them that the party’s all about free markets and thanks them for their cheques. It doesn’t tell them about Niall Connolly in Cuba and their fraternal socialist brothers in Colombia and Venezuela, FARC.

    The desire to have your sense of your own identity – to belong – is one of the more powerful psychological motivators. SF (naturally, perhaps) understands this, and grants that desire to Irish America in spades. From everyone else on this island they get sneers. Ultimately that’s why Irish America is willing (still- although we may be at tipping point) to give SF the benefit of the doubt.

  • Two Nations

    Not controversial. I was just curious.

    Thanks Richard.

  • Alan McDonald


    Here’s my two cents (from upstate New York).

    First of all, your aside (at least to their face) gave me my first laugh of the day. It reminded me of the time An Phoblacht wrote a scathing anti-American editorial in Irish on the front page. Yassar Arafat was also famous for saying one thing in English and a different one (for the troops) in Arabic.

    Second, the Friends of Sinn Fein (FOSF) have completely co-opted all of the Irish-American organizations, starting with the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Our local chapter of the AOH was truly ancient a few years ago when a group of “young Turks” (i.e., Irish-American Catholic men in their 40’s) took over. They revived the annual Irish fest and did lots of other good works, while providing the local papers with the latest FOSF spin on the Irish situation.

    I promised only two cents, so I’ll stop there.

  • Emily

    One thing that I would add to Richard’s excellent list is that, at least in my experience with a lot of Sinn Fein or IRA supporters in the US (and to a smaller degree, a few loyalist supporters I’ve come across – they can be just as MOPE-y) is their tendency to romaniticize the “armed struggle.” It’s an easier thing to do when it’s not your loved ones being injured and buried.

    One of the things that never ceases to stun me are the number of cairde Sinn Fein Americans I meet that are politically conservative in general. The subject of a united Republic aside, even a careless glimpse of the party’s manifesto would otherwise arouse scorn from these people.

  • Two Nations

    “a few loyalist supporters I’ve come across”

    would you elaborate on this Emily please?

    I’m being very curious today.

  • Alan McDonald


    All of the hard core Sinn Fein supporters I have met in the USA are leftists, pro-Cuban, anti-Israel. That amounts to four people in the past 35 years. The other millions are either (US) Republicans or Reagan Democrats. The best description of these folks, often derisively called “Plastic Paddies,” can be found in Jimmy Breslin’s 1973 novel “World Without End, Amen.”

    Remember, in America, Ignorance is Strength!

  • Emily

    Two Nations – my apologies, but I do not understand exactly how you would like me to elaborate “a few loyalist supporters I’ve come across”?

    Alan – I will pick up a copy of Breslin’s novel. Thank you for mentioning it. I have to say, however, I’m slightly offended by your “ignorance is strength” remark. It’s not entirely true.

  • Alan McDonald

    Two Nations,

    I, myself, have never met a loyalist supporter in the USA, and I’ve lived here for over 50 years.

  • Two Nations

    what type of person were they. were where they from, background, ancestry, knowledge of ulster/ireland.

    that sort of thing.

    I have never heard of an American who could ever be described as a loyalist supporter. A Scotch-Irish yes but not a loyalist supporter.

    That’s what has intrigued me.

  • Alan McDonald


    I did not mean to offend with the quote from “1984.” It is just that Americans (and I am one) seem stronger when they argue passionately but without facts. This is certainly the current state of politics in this country. Try raising the issue of the non-existent Weapons of Mass Destruction to a conservative, and the angry reply (with raised fist) is “Why do you liberals all hate America?”

  • JD

    Irish-American: living in another country, but with a powerful identification with another national identity.

    Can someone explain to me how that is so different from NI?

  • Alan McDonald


    Canada is like Northern Ireland, in that the Loyalists who lost the war for American Independence went there and remained part of the British Empire.

    The United States is more like the Republic of Ireland, but with the native people all moved on to reservations by Andrew Jackson (often called the Cromwell of America by those four hard core Sinn Fein supporters I spoke of earlier).

  • Vera

    I’ve never met an American loyalist supporter in real life either, but I’ve seen a few on the internet, so they do exsist. I think they could best be described as the Scotch-Irish branch of the “white power” movement, and thus very, very much an insignificant fringe.

  • Alan McDonald


    You meet all sorts on the Internet, don’t you? I used to frequent a forum where the two sides would slag it out. That’s why I came here, where the dialog is rational and interesting.

  • paddy

    The only thing I would add is that a lot of the support that SF has/had in an America should be viewed as a Civil Rights issue. SF is/was perceived as the standard bearer for civil rights for Catholics in NI and the IA support was not so much support for Sinn Fein per say but support for civil rights for Catholics in NI. I think that is why it matters little what SF actually says as what it is perceived to do. I would think that the support for SF in America is from a generation that came of age during the civil rights era in the US and displays a self-identified to desire to have a person connection to that type of movement. I would think that if you asked an Irish-American under 30 who SF is or what they stand for, most would have no idea.

  • Emily

    I myself have never had the misfortune of colliding with a loyalist supporter in person (Unionist supporters are another story, though they are rare), though as Vera mentioned, I have encountered them on the internet. The experiences have been invariably unpleasant.

    Alan – I think it depends with whom you argue. I know people on the right and the left that are guilty of passionate, fact-free debating. I’ve seen many conservatives give reasoned arguments to answer that question. Not every one of them is an ill-tempered Ann Coulter clone.

  • Emily

    I agree with you that for a lot of supporters in the US it was a civil rights issue more than anything else. It just strikes me as odd that people would support SF on a single issue. It would be like me joining the Republican Party because I agree with their policy on limited government but little else.

  • JD

    Hi Alan:

    I’m not sure that answers my question.

    I was just pointing out how in NI there are two sections of the population that identify strongly with other countries (“Britain” and “Ireland”). That doesn’t seem to me to be a million miles away from what Irish-Americans are routinely slagged off for.

    I was just noting the irony (which, I realise, is dead).

  • Alan McDonald


    If I killed the Irony, I’m terribly sorry. Maybe it’s just on life support. Anyway, I always think my analogy of Northern Ireland to Canada is ironic. So is the analogy to West Virginia, which split from Virginia in 1861 to remain with the Union.

    As to Irish-Americans, they (we?) often identify with the Ireland of John Ford’s “The Quiet Man” rather than P. O’Neill’s “The Hard Men.” My aunt (on my father’s side) was an Anglophile and identified with the Royal Family. My mother thought my aunt was full of you know.

  • Jimmy

    QUOTE: “I’ve never met an American loyalist supporter in real life either, but I’ve seen a few on the internet, so they do exsist. I think they could best be described as the Scotch-Irish branch of the “white power” movement, and thus very, very much an insignificant fringe.”

    My name is Jimmy, I’m from southern Ohio in the U.S.
    I am a “Loyalist Supporter” At least when it comes to the Ulster Scots of N.I. I’m assuming that’s what you mean. I support the Loyalists there. I don’t support American loyalism to the UK if that’s what you meant. I’m also not in any kind of “white power” movement. [edited Moderator]

    Evidentally those on this board from the U.S. aren’t from around southern Ohio, eastern KY etc.
    The numerous Ulster Scots/Scotch-Irish festivals,
    organizations and clubs around here might clue you in as to how many “loyalist supporters” there are here in the U.S.

    As for myself I am, of course, first and foremost American. But my forebearers came from the Emerald Isle. My mother’s side were predominantly Ulster folk. Bailey’s from Antrim. My father’s side are a mix of Irish from around Co. Cork and Ulstermen and women (Thomsons) from somewhere in Omagh. So I have both Irish and Ulster Scots folk in my history. But my support lies soley with the Loyalists of Ulster. Why? A long list of reasons, too much to type here. But at least partially because almost every Irish Republican or supporter of such speaks like the woman who’s statement about the “white power” movement I refered to previously.

    Take care