When two political cultures meet?

Nuala O’Faolain in the Sunday Tribune last week was in no mood for pulling punches. She was in no mood to accept Sinn Fein’s latest proposal that Northern Irish MPs should be given speaking rights in the Dail. But what really troubles her is the effects of unleashing a political project, whose development took place in the extreme political conditions of Northern Ireland, in what she calls ‘this peaceful Republic’.

Firstly she argues:

…if northern Sinn Fein activists are not the evil monsters of the usual rants, neither are they just like me. A sdie issue of the Colombia Three affair brings home how far apart south and north are, after decades of separate development, in one crucial aspect. We lie differently.

She goes on:

Gerry Adams looks us in the face and denies he was ever on the Army Council of the IRA. And similarly, Sinn Fein knows nothing about where the bodies of the disappeared are, and their people did not rob the Northern Bank and so on and so forth. The fact is we’re going to have to live with people to whom telling the truth has long since been subsumed to other aims.

In south, she argues, lying is also the poltlical weapon of choice. But she contrasts the relatively trivial nature of political spin around the changing of licensing laws and the shooting of red deer.

Looking forward she imagines:

There will be a certain comedy in watching the two cultures learn each other’s ways. But there’s a lot of fear there, too. Northern Sinn Fein is a creature of far more extreme conditions than we have ever known. Nobody knows whether it will turn out to be better at, or a scourge to, the habits of dishonesty of this peaceful Republic. Either way, here comes trouble.

  • bootman

    what is Northern Sinn Féin?
    partitionist republicans?

  • Deaglan

    As an aside – do none of these furious southern commentators have anything to say about the SDLP speaking in Dail committees?
    Anyone would think that the SF project for northern reps to speak in the Dail was just for their party alone.

  • Mick

    She does suggest that the chiefest victims would be other southern parties.

  • L.L.

    This was a significant article, Nuala O’Faolain would be a barometer of the thinking of those soft voters SF has been grooming and targetting. She is halfway attempting to excuse their lies and halfway fed-up with being lied to, and the bottom line for her is that fed-up wins with a dash of fear. To write off this as another anti-republican bash is to miss the point. When even your friends are worried about you and what you could do…well, if that worry is not misplaced then you wouldn’t be concerned anyway because you ARE the monster they are starting to think you just might be…

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    It’s grimly amusing that after decades of pandering to the provos via failed extradition warrants, the southern parties are suddenly getting cold feet when the ‘Northern Sinn Fein’ start banging on their front doors.

  • GavBelfast

    Why wouldn’t people in the South, even those who are fiercely and independently Irish, at best fear and at worst despise the idea of those who of a Northern SF/IRA ilk impinging on their successful, wealthy and altogether comfortable Republic?

    And that’s before you mention rabid loyalists.

    What’s the surprise in this sort of reaction?

  • dubliner

    “what is Northern Sinn Féin?”

    That is the part of criminal Sinn Fein that operates north of the border.

  • darthrumsfeld

    Now that’s unfair dubliner.
    They operate in Donegal too-especially during the summer when they’re all in their Creeslough cottages

  • Snapper


    What nonsense.

    If Nuala O’Faolain is a friend of SF I would hate to see it’s enemies.