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.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty