Terry Prone argues in the Irish Examiner that, despite media reports to the contrary, the visit of the McCartney sisters has not made the United States a cold house for Sinn Fein.
The reality, she says, is that Sinn Féin is still sitting pretty in the USA, its fundraising pipelines as full as ever, and Gerry Adams still has his visa.
Prone points out that nobody from Ireland was on the front page of American newspapers on St Patrick’s Day and that American support for militant republicanism is more deeply rooted than some might like to imagine.
“Just how deeply rooted is that pattern of donation is shown in an account by writer Brian McDonald of his Irish American family where father, grandfather and great-grandfather were all New York cops. About his great-grandfather, he wrote that “it was his wife’s strong Irish will that drew him to her. He supported Julia when she began to collect nickels and dimes, kept in a coffee can in the cabinet over the stove, for Irish Freedom, an organisation that funded the Irish struggles against the English, and he never tired of Julia telling the story of her father being jailed by the English for harbouring Fenian rebels.
That coffee can, dating back to 1910, is replicated in the homes of millions of Irish Americans, and one confusing story of a murder in a pub was never going to shift it. “
She also makes the valid point that it was because SF “smelled of sulphur and gave the finger to everything the Establishment stood for” that many people admired it and that they will do so even more “with every condemning column inch”.
She concludes: “you can never move people by using reason from a position to which reason has not brought them.”