SDLP members helped McCartney sisters

Strange hands afoot? It seems that some members of the SDLP did have a role in helping the McCartney sisters get to America. A travel agency which is part owned by the party’s deputy leader Alisdair McDonnell made the arrangements whilst another unnamed party member allegedly acted as an ad PR for them in Washington. Something that they may now consider not to have been a very smart move.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Thankfully, Sinn Fein will understand that the SDLP did not help the sisters. It looks like the work of two individuals. You can’t prove it was the ‘SDLP’, since it wasn’t sanctioned by the leadership.

    Or something.

    The PR guy was Ruari somebody from Ballymena, I think. It’s already in the public domain anyway.

  • slug9987

    Wouldn’t it be a positive thing to have helped them? I am afraid sometimes NI the perversity of thinking is beyond me.

  • factfinder

    “It looks like the work of two individuals. You can’t prove it was the ‘SDLP’, since it wasn’t sanctioned by the leadership”

    Hasn’t some other party used the same argument regarding the McCartney case.

  • Davros

    What’s the fuss about ? Sinn Féin have been shipping an Fhirinne over the water …..

  • fair_deal

    1. They booked their flights at short notice with a holiday company that specialises in flights/holidays to North America. Big Deal.
    2. Also from watching the interviews on CNN etc their PR advice seems to have been “Don’t comment on the disbandment of the IRA in US interviews, just say you are trying to get justice for your brother.” It was the big political guns (no pun intended) like McCain, Kennedy and King who put the big pressure on for disbandment.
    3. The SDLP has been upfront in pledging its support for the McCartney’s did people expect this support would be simply press statements and photocalls with the leader could it not include practical support?
    4.It certainly undermines the claims it was ‘dissident’ republicans behind it all. However, with the republican love of conspiracy theories, I’m sure they can re-jig it to fit everyone into it.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    factfinder

    That was kinda the point of my post!

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    The integrity of the Mc Cartney case stood alone and should therefore have been left well enough alone.
    The campaign can only be successful with local support and the campaign lost all focus when it went to the USA.
    It was apparent from the start of their USA trip that another agenda had entered the equation and that fell off the lips of Catherine Mc Cartney on arrival at the airport.

    For those aware on the internal dynamic within the nationalist community this will have dealt a critical blow to their campaign and exposed them to the charge that they were being used after all and were in fact active and willing participants. Previous statements by the family and the SDLP on the matter are now exposed as false.

    Anthony Mc Intyre tried to distance himself from the campaign but only succeeded in confirming that it was him that got it off the ground.
    Liz Mc Manus (a person not noted for her interest in all things Belfast) has now admitted acting as a conduit for money from a ‘concerned’ party in the 26 counties.
    Now the SDLP have been found to have been directly involved in the USA trip to a degree that does warrant further questions of the role of all concerned and the overtly political nature of the campaign.

    One of the sisters is now quoted that such was their dilemna that they would have accepted help from Osama Bin Laden. Given the views of the people from whom they are seeking evidence Osama would have been more acceptable than Alasdair and the aptly named Dim Tim.

  • Davros

    Pat – if any whiff of an SDLP connection damnages the integrity of The McCartney sister’s case, where does that leave an Fhirinne and the relatives of the victims of Bloody Sunday ?

  • fair_deal

    “their dilemna that they would have accepted help from Osama Bin Laden”

    Well they did accept the offers of help from Sinn fein and the IRA why would Osama be any different

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Davros,

    i’ve no interest in whataboutery and playing one campaign off against another. The real politik that exists on the streets of Belfast and elsewhere ensures that this campaign will be damaged.
    It is no great political master plan, it is simply a matter of ‘we knew someone was pulling the strings all the time.’ It will spread like wildfire.

  • Mick Fealty

    Guys, whatever about the whataboutery of it. This was an avoidable gaffe. How do you make a case that Sinn Fein should be completely open when you won’t do the same yourself?

    Certainly no one in the SDLP stands accused of hacking open a man’s throat in front of a crowd of people which contains high profile members of their party.

    But if you are going to set standards, you need to be seen to keep to them yourselves!

  • George

    Mick,
    slightly loaded post in my view.

    Nobody in Sinn Fein has been accused of slashing a person’s throat, in front of high profile members of their party or otherwise.

    You also seem to be implying that Robert McCartney’s murder took place in the bar and in full view of “high profile” Sinn Fein members Cora Groogan and Deirde Hargey.

    That’s news to me.

  • Mick Fealty

    George.

    Okay, it may have been a bit loaded. But then again there’s a difference between a bit of shiftiness behind the ball on the part of a few SDLP members and a murder inquiry.

    These are accusations that have been left hanging in the air. In current circumstances there is no way of knowing whether any of them are true or not.

    And there seems little prospect of any of them getting cleared up to the satisfaction of either victims family or those (perhaps falsely) accused, as the issue gets kicked into the long grass before the election.

  • Davros

    i’ve no interest in whataboutery and playing one campaign off against another.

    LOL I’ll accept that in this case the hypocrisy of SF must make such whataboutery uncomfortable to even
    the thickest-skinned apparachik Pat 😉

  • Mick Fealty

    Ball please Dav!

  • Davros

    Mea Culpa Mick … the open goal called !
    I’ll grovel >>>>>

    Sorry Pat ! That was gratuitous.

  • aquifer

    The sisters have the civil right to run any non-violent campaign whatever including an electoral one if they chose, and are entitled to ask for assistance from anyone or from any party.

  • peteb

    Mick

    I would just point out what the report claims about the extent of Alisdair McDonnell’s involvement – “who authorised credit approval to pay for the flights”[emphasis added]

    That somewhat undermines the claims by, to quote Suzanne Breen, those “apparatchiks” promoting the “black propaganda” that a political party here, the US government, etc, etc, had paid for the McCartney and O’Haggans’ journey to the US.

  • fair_deal

    I agree with aquifer – oh dear I’m going to have a lie down over lunchtime.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Davros,

    apology accepted, doesn’t answer why you tried to play one campaign off against another?

  • Circles

    Yer absolutely right aquifer.
    However the fact that the sdlp “involvement” wasn’t laid out clearly from the very start, and the fact that once things hit washington a lot of things were used as a big stick to beat Adams and co. around the coupon does make it look like the campaign has been tampered with for political reasons.
    Whatever way this goes, as pat said, this incident will be interpreted as “they were being used after all”. Whether that is right or wrong is not a question that can be asked – it just is. Thats real politik for ya.

  • George

    Mick,
    It just seems contradictory. You don’t look to shed light on an incident like this by making some unfounded accusations of your own.

    This merely adds more grist to the rumour mill not to mention confirming in many people’s eyes the view that, for some, perhaps the objective here isn’t justice but rather to inflict damage on SF.

  • Davros

    Pat mate – I wasn’t “playing campaigns off against each other” – I was looking at the bigger picture. In this case it was SF, but God Knows politics is full of incidences of politicians using tactics they have themselves criticised their opponents for using.Look at “Nua Labour” whinging about Tory Opportunism.

  • factfinder

    There was very little mention in USA regarding the killing and justice etc, but more about disbandment of an organisation, which is a different matter altogether.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Davros,

    100% right, but SF involvement with an Fhirinne does either little or no damage. SDLP involvement with the Mc Cartneys damages both, given that it was originally denied.

  • J Kelly

    Aquifer the point of this is not about the campaign and who supports or helps but the reasons why people help and support. Tim Attwood, Anthony McIntyre, Liz McManus all support this campaing and have an absolute right to do so, but many people ask about their motives. What have these three got in common very little I hear you say but they all strongly oppose Sinn Fein. And when the McCartneys say no one is helping because they are strong women and then we hear of these events is it any wonder many people become scepticle, not of the campaign, but of those who are using it for their own ends.

    Very few politicans/political activists do anything without thinking what will I/we get out of this. This case is a very clear sign of that thinking. The involvement of these people behind the scenes will without doubt tarnish the campaign among many republicans.

  • J Kelly

    sceptical

  • fair_deal

    I thought the republican movement was opposed to political vetting.

    Is it now the case that the McCartney family is only to be ‘allowed’ its campaign for justice as long as the republican movement has a veto on where it gets its support from (including subjecting the reasons behind that support for non-republican tendencies) and to vet what they say to ensure there is no criticism of them?

    Otherwise it refuses to help their campaign and tries to balcken victims of a crime.

  • factfinder

    I support justice for the family, but will shy away if my support for justice is transferred into support for anti republicansm, and that is the problem facing the family if they let themselves be used by anyone with a political agenda.
    I could give them advice on this but that would be construed as a ‘threat’.

  • factfinder

    The killing itself is now too political and should be investigated by an outside police force, then no potential witnesses can have problem coming forward.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Isn’t it odd that republicans who were so quick to draw a distinction between ‘the IRA’ NOT killing McCartney, and ‘individual members of the IRA’ allegedly killing him CAN’T do the same when individuals from parties provide assistance – and pretty pitiful assistance as well.

    Pat, perhaps you can prove ‘the SDLP’ was involved in the McCartney campaign, as opposed to individual members of it.

    Smacks of complete double standards.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Gonzo,

    unfortunately there are stabbings and beatings that sometimes lead to murder outside bars the length and breadth of Ireland. What made the Mc Cartney case so newsworthy and meritting political intervention was the involvement of the IRA.
    There are very few observers and commentators to this case that have used the ‘individuals connected to the IRA’ line. It was the IRA pure and simple and that is the line flogged day and daily on this site and other elements of the media.

    As for the distinction you talk about in your first paragraph i’m afraid someone else is going to have to help you as I made no such point.

    Pitiful assistance or not Alasdair Mc Donnell is the Deputy Leader of his party unlike Cara Groogan and the other SF candidate described by Mick earlier as ‘high profile members of the party’. Let’s not forget the input of that other heor of ‘Stalingrad’ Tim Attwood.

    No one is denying the Mc Cartneys the right to seek assistance where ever the urge takes them. No one is denying the SDLP the right to provide assistance to the family. No one is denying Liz Mc Manus the right to act as a conduit for money or indeed Anthony Mc intyre the right to kick start the campaign.
    Just don’t deny it ever happened it is plain dishonest and turns people off. It also makes the ‘we’re smart women speech’ appear a bit crass .

  • mickhall

    Very few politicans/political activists do anything without thinking what will I/we get out of this. This case is a very clear sign of that thinking. The involvement of these people behind the scenes will without doubt tarnish the campaign among many republicans.

    Posted by: J Kelly at March 23, 2005 12:34 PM

    J Kelly
    This attitude is one of the reasons why so many people have become cynical about SF attitude to this campaign. Myself down the years I have been involved in a host of campaigns, in which I have joined with people who are light years away from me politically, including, anti internment without trial, against the use of plastic bullets, withdrawal of British troops from Ireland, anti nazi/racism and opposition to the war in Iraq to name but a few. Last year I marched in London with a million other people protesting against the war on Iraq. During the course of the march I chatted to British Conservatives who opposed the war, Lib-Dems, Trots, Islamic fundamentalists, Christians and many others. We disagreed on many things political, but for that day and the course of the war we were able to put aside our differences on the one issue we had common ground on. The same goes with the McCartney campaign, instead of continuously searching for weaknesses in the McCartney sisters and posting them up in triumph, people would do far better in getting behind the campaign, as many members of SF have, then hopefully we might get a result.

    You know J Kelly, some of us get involved in things simply because we beleive it is/was wrong! and by so doing are willing to work alongside all others who think likewise.

    All the best

  • Davros

    What made the Mc Cartney case so newsworthy and meritting political intervention was the involvement of the IRA.

    No Pat – What made the McCartney case so newsworthy and meritting political intervention was the involvement of the IRA and SF.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Pat

    Can you prove the SDLP was involved, and not individual members of that party?

    Do you find it odd that Daily Ireland can accuse the SDLP of being involved in the McCartney campaign, but not the IRA of killing him?

    Perhaps you are not guilty of such hypocrisy yourself, but I haven’t the time to trawl your comments to confirm that.

  • Circles

    factfinder hit the nail on the head for me with:
    “I support justice for the family, but will shy away if my support for justice is transferred into support for anti-republicanism, and that is the problem facing the family if they let themselves be used by anyone with a political agenda.”

    Fro me this thread is not about whataboutery of proving who was involved with what. We’ve jumped throguh that hoop a thousand time already. I find the discussion of how the perception of the McCartney case has now changed (if it has) as a result of possible behind the scenes string pulling, turning it from a search for justice to a big stick to beat republicans.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Well it would make a nice change from republicans beating people with big sticks.

  • Circles

    Swift Gonzo – very swift!

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Davros,

    ‘No Pat – What made the McCartney case so newsworthy and meritting political intervention was the involvement of the IRA and SF.’

    difference of opinion there.

    Gonzo,

    these people haven’t fully explained whether they were acting as individuals or not. At present we have O Donnell not knowing Attwood was involved and Mc Donnell forgetting whether he offered the family travel or not. As you put it so succinctly, ‘you would think they’d get their stories straight’.
    Not very convincing and feeding the belief that something is at work here.

    Daily Ireland have their own spokesperson.

    While not trawling yourself, you can bet someone is.

  • Belfastwhite

    Pat Mc Larnon said

    Liz Mc Manus (a person not noted for her interest in all things Belfast) has now admitted acting as a conduit for money from a ‘concerned’ party in the 26 counties.

    I wonder if Liz remembers her days connected to the Official IRA when they took Hugh O’Halloran and kicked him to death outside a Sticky Shebeen in the Upper Springfield. Somehow I don’t think Liz would be happy to act as a conduit for a “concerned” party in this case.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Daily Ireland have their own spokesperson.

    Yeah, but he doesn’t have to do ALL his ‘speaking’ on Slugger!

    ;o)

  • big white dove

    Just been given a copy of CLOSER Magazine by my wife, they pay 500 quid for true life stories, it appears they were in the USA accompanying the McCartney sisters and it is their centre spread in this weeks magazine.
    Maybe this explains where the money came from!!

  • sean32

    I find it admirable that the SDLP, Anthony McIntyre and Liz McManus provided assistance to this family.
    For evil to triumph all it takes is for good people to do nothing.
    The bottom line here is this case has brought people to their senses re Sinn Fein/ IRA.
    I would like to see one of the sisters challenge Gerry Adams in West Belfast.

  • tom luby

    Guys, whatever about the whataboutery of it. This was an avoidable gaffe. How do you make a case that Sinn Fein should be completely open when you won’t do the same yourself?

    Certainly no one in the SDLP stands accused of hacking open a man’s throat in front of a crowd of people which contains high profile members of their party.

    But if you are going to set standards, you need to be seen to keep to them yourselves!

    By Mick Fealty

    except of course if you say that leaders of the obscenity that is called the Provisionals disappear defenceless widows or murder their own hunger strikers! then you get accused of being personal, are censored and threats are made to silence you permanently!

    your provo slip showed again, mick!

    and as for you mclarnon if anything happens to mcintyre, i’m going broadcast your posting around the world!

  • tom luby

    just came accross this quote from orwell – fits mclarnon et al like a glove:

    “Political language. . . is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind”: George Orwell

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘and as for you mclarnon if anything happens to mcintyre, i’m going broadcast your posting around the world!’

    what post was that then tom?