The Taming of Sinn Fein…

Vincent Browne et al in The Village with a consideration of how far Sinn Fein has moved from its revolutionary and socialist ethos of twenty years ago when, he argues, it was a mere adjunct to the IRA’s Army Council.

  • TAFKABO

    Everybody sing along.

    Here comes the new boss, same as the old boss……

  • Browne has an awful tendency to try and present SF as a genuine political party and disregard their extremist nature. Too many times has he put Adams and co. forward as right-thinking rational people, or the saviours of Ireland and Republicanism… He seems to overlook the fact that they’re systematically destroying the word Republican and my flag too.
    Everyone knows that Bertie won’t consider SF for government, the IRA exist even if they have no weapons. I’d say their army would need to disband now if SF were to face any chance of being in government next time (2011).

  • ingrammartin

    Dermot Ahern to his credit nailed Sinn Fein to the mast late last year when he made it clear to the press that,If Bertie and his ministers wanted a British representitive to sit at their cabinet table he would have invited one. Today more and more of the people are understanding the depth of the British penetration of the Republican movement/ Sinn Fein.

    I wrote back as far as 1999 in the Sunday Times about this level penetration and it was dismissed, today the people of Northern Ireland and beyond are no longer dismissive.

    The Republic`s authorities are now moving against Sinn Fein`s criminal infrastructure, this set up allowed a massive advantage to the criminals over the normal political parties. Sinn Fein is tame and compliant in the North, Sinn Fein will be tamed in the South too given time and patience. Time is an asset Republicans do not enjoy nor have any control over so I would urge the Republic to maintain the pressure upon those who chose to ride rough shod over the genuine and decent Nationalists upon these Islands.

    Martin

  • Mayoman

    I take it, Martin, you think the 12% (and growing) vote for SInn Fein is a myth then?

  • ingrammartin

    Mayoman,

    Not a Myth because we can see it at the election box. What I am saying though is the cheques that have been written over these last few years about a United Ireland. policing, criminality, etc will in time erode this 12%. The leadership of Sinn Fein are getting on in age and I believe Adams will leave Sinn Fein to fight for the office of the Irish presedency and he will win it. The void that this would leave is a real one. As we all know unlike, normal political parties there is not the mechanism nor the individuals brave enough to have a normal “beauty” leadership contest. The party is too rigid and issues like policing etc will poison the movement for years to come, it will be like the tories over Europe and it will take time to heal those rifts.

    Cast your mind back a few years and ask those genuine Republicans who are still around what Bobby Sands would have said about today`s Republican movement and its political aligned party?

    The talk about dissidents makes me smile but I am old enough to remember anybody who advanced these Sinn Fein belief`s today being described then as Dissidents or at least not conforming to traditional Republican beliefs.There will always be an element who will want to wage a war for Republicanism, this generation have been tamed and it is those who have to follow who will decide if they want to resurrect this conflict but without any doubts, whatso ever that this Sinn Fein political party or Republican movement as the title of this topic correctly describes has been ” Tamed” in my opinion.

    Martin

  • Mayoman

    A couple of things. You seem to have absolutely no concept that an organisation can change. For example, you say that Sinn Fein will be tamed in the South to the benefit of “genuine and decent Nationalists upon these Islands”. As I see it, Sinn Fein is now in the position that Fianna Fail was in the 1930s. Remember? Those “genuine nationalists” who were previously called terrorists and who went on to be the most successful party the State’s history?

    Another point. I am a non-violent person, but am with the people who consider the IRA as a natural consequence of a violent and repressive society. I think a key factor in the rise of the IRA was the cowardice of the South to even politically tackle the problems of the North. It is my true belief that a lot of the vitriol directed towards Sinn Fein stems from the shame that the South has (even sub-consciously) for this cowardice. It is easier to blame Sinn Fein/IRA for everything than acknowledge the collaborative role played by the South in the subjugation of their own citizens in the North. When the South finally comes to terms with its own cowardice, the need to slam everything republican will fade, and Sinn Fein’s prospects will rise even faster.

  • Stephen Copeland

    Martin,

    Surely the very fact of being ‘tamed’ gives Sinn Féin the possibility to move beyond its current 12%?

    A party of perpetual protest has limits to its support base, but if SF moves beyond being a ‘protest’ party into being a mainstream'(‘tamed’) party, complete with local and national power, the giving of contracts, jobs and influence, then it will in turn start to attract the ambitious and power-hungry.

    There is nothing particularly wrong with being a mainstream party, especially if it gives you the ability to actually effect some change, and in our increasingly comfortable and peaceful new Ireland there is less and less to protest about, and more and more to administer.

    The older echelons of SF’s leadership are all aging, that is certainly true, but there are younger people there too. And those younger people are much less associated with the ‘old style’ SF policies and practices, and more more like their brothers and sisters in FF, FG, Labour and the DUP. ‘Tamed’ they might be, but maybe they are deliberately tamed, because they know that that is how to get what they want. Ironically (and probably for the better) it is also how the rest of us get what we want too, because cooperative and constructive politics is better for all of us, whether we are republicans or not.

    [Posted by Stephen Copeland]

  • ingrammartin

    Stephen,

    You predicated your remark about Sinn Fein and it being a protest party by big ” IF”

    Sinn Fein obviously could if it so chose decide to move further than it has todate to the centre and occuppy a position within normal acceptable politics. The trouble with that is it it light years away and would clearly alienate a major portion of it`s current 12 % who voted for Sinn Fein in belief that it can deliver what it promised re: A United Ireland.

    The next Generation of Republicans like Pearce Doherty , Ruanne etc are not yet in that league and could not be pitched against a Mark Durcan , Peter Robinson, etc.

    The movement needs to open up and allow these people to develop within the normal confines of a ” Normal political party” which Sinn Fein is today, surely not.

    Imagine what would happen if Gerry Adams was found dead tomorrow, like what happened to the former labour leader and heir to the British PM.The Labour party had Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Who do Sinn Fein have? Nobody. The party would be lost and the next few years are going to be difficult enough without having one eye upon who is going to lead us to the promised land.

    I remain convinced the next decade are going to be very, very difficult for Sinn Fein.

    If you would like one example of the fact that Sinn Fein and the Republican movement have indeed been ” Tamed” as I and others contend, please consider your paragraph from your last post below.

    Quote”There is nothing particularly wrong with being a mainstream party, especially if it gives you the ability to actually effect some change, and in our increasingly comfortable and peaceful new Ireland there is less and less to protest about, and more and more to administer”Unquote

    A increasingly comfortable and Peaceful Northern Ireland, to be fair Stephen I could not have described it better myself.To move Sinn Fein from a Republican party to mainstream political party is Job done. I rest my case.

    Martin.

  • Stephen Copeland

    Martin,

    I have to disagree with you on a few points:

    (1) The 12% or so in the south who voted SF did not all do so on the basis of the national question. They did so, in large measure, because they saw SF as an “other” party; i.e. not tainted by the corruption and cynicism of all (yes, all) of the other parties. Many voted SF because SF was the only party that actually had reps living in their estates, and they could put faces to them. SF is, in many areas, the genuine ‘peoples’ party. Whether it stays so is an open question. But to lose one working-class vote and gain two middle-class votes (by going ‘mainstream’) is still a good bargain if you want to get into government.

    (2) The younger SF people are not as inexperienced as you might think, and in 5-10 years will be in their middle years.

    (3) “move Sinn Fein from a Republican party to mainstream political party …” is rubbish, and is evidence only of prejudice. You can be mainstream and republican. SF may cease to be ‘physical-force'” republican, but there is no reason whatsover for them to compromise on their core beliefs. Those beliefs are entirely valid, and entirely consistent with their other policies. The idea that to be ‘mainstream’ you must be anti-republican is a goal of the revisionist movement, nothing more.

  • Tochais Siorai

    Martin, you’re pretty spot on about the lack of younger talent in SF but you’re way off the mark about Adams winning the Irish presidency. Even if he were to leave SF, the only way he’d have even a remote chance would be if he somehow got the backing of Fianna Fáil. That isn’t going to happen, because even if they liked him which they don’t, it’s FF we’re talking about – they wouldn’t back someone who would probably lose and they wouldn’t want to be associated with the dirty linen that would go with him (they have enough of their own).

    However, don’t rule out the possibility he might run as a SF candidate to further increase the profile of the party. His voter recognition could get him 25% and if it did it’d be a very good day for SF.

  • kensei

    “Martin, you’re pretty spot on about the lack of younger talent in SF but you’re way off the mark about Adams winning the Irish presidency.”

    Connor Murphy? Michelle Gildernew? Mary Lou McDonald? In fact, I don’t think there is another party that has brought through as many younger candidates. Considering the speed of growth, it can’t help but have a young base.

    Anyone who raises this point in any seriousness is offically mental.

  • ingrammartin

    Stephen,

    We shall agree to disagree upon the broad base of an electorate that Sinn Fein would and does appeal to.

    In respect to the younger Sinn Fein members. Once more I have to disagree with you although only time will tell but I tend to agree with Tochais Siorai on this matter.

    Quote”“move Sinn Fein from a Republican party to mainstream political party”Unquote

    As you remarked in your last but one piece. Quote”Ireland there is less and less to protest about, and more and more to administerUnquote

    You put your finger upon the mark when you stated that Sinn Fein had moved from a protest party to a party that administered rule and may I had that is British rule.Thank You.

    Tochais Siorai,

    I have a feeling that FF will do a deal with Adams, Adams would then be removed from the ” Normal” politics. This would render Sinn Fein damaged and in turn would remove Adams from the front line of politics when the good ship Sinn Fein enters “choppy” un navigated waters.

    Adams is no fool he knows he can not deliver upon his promises and he is not going to hang around in his sixties. He will retire to Gortahork and write his memoirs and his name will be seen in history in a positive light. To stay on would be asking for the poison chalice to be rammed down his throat.

    Only time will tell whether you or I am right on this one.

  • ingrammartin

    TAFKABO0,

    The point that I and Tochais Siorai are making is not the QUANTITY but the Quality.

    Connor Murphy? Michelle Gildernew? Mary Lou McDonald? In fact, I don’t think there is another party that has brought through as many younger candidates. Considering the speed of growth, it can’t help but have a young base.

    Conor Murphy is from the old hands on dirty wing of Sinn Fein who frankly is a sandwich short of a picnic. He stood on the steps of Westminster weeks after the NI offences bill was published and with the full knowledge that the bill as published would facilitate state Agents to avoid justice.He looked a fool and he remains one. He was used as a ” Patsy” by Adams for this job, none of the leading shinners would have flown to London and stood in the lions den and defended this legislation, please note he has not commented upon this lack of judgement since the event upon the Westminster Parliamentary steps.

    As for the others you mentioned lightweight and given Sinn Fein`s reliance upon Adams are sadly lacking in experiance.The best bet is Pearse. A very, very bright lad. He has none of the old baggage and is a reasonable and dedicated Republican, but he needs to be tested.

    Good Luck.

    Martin

  • Stephen Copeland

    The best bet is Pearse.

    Exactly the man I would put my money on. We agree on that.

    Do you not also think that Toiréasa is a bit of talent too, in a certain kind of way?

    [Stephen Copeland]

  • andy

    I remember being quite impressed by Eoin O’Brien in a TV interview a couple of years ago. Seemed very bright and actually quite reasonable talking about the “legitimate complaints” of unionists in North Belfast.

    He seems to have disappeared into EU obscurity…

    Andy

  • ingrammartin

    Stephen,

    Pearse has a secure base in Gweedore. Pat the “Cope” will be hard pressed to fight one more election and FF in that area (Donegal) are weak. Pat the copeenjoys a similar profile of the now deceased and missed Mr Blaney.Once Pat has gone the area is ripe for Pearse and once gained he can forget about a life of an Engineer. He is married with a new born child and is articulate in both Irish and English.

    He needs to make sure he avoids the murky world of Letterkenny and after that the world is his Oyster, the King is dead long live the King.

    Martin

    Martin

  • watchingthehypocrites

    “Conor Murphy is from the old hands on dirty wing of Sinn Fein who frankly is a sandwich short of a picnic”

    This man and ball rule is yet again allowed to lapse for Ingram.

    Seems a controversial character is more of a ratings puller than fair enforcement of the site rules (again).

    Sure just ignore it Mick and ban someone else for similar.

  • kensei

    Me earlier, btw.

    “The point that I and Tochais Siorai are making is not the QUANTITY but the Quality.”

    We could debate the quality, but regardles a critical mass of younger politicans will lead to at least some of them being good. Not mention the competition aspect, and the fact that they have at least 5-10 years before Adams et al exit the stage.

    If the senior leadership was to disappear tomorrow, you may have a point. But this simply isn’t a serious issue, and in fact is probably less so for SF than any of the Northern parties, at least.

    kensei

  • ingrammartin

    TAFKABO6,

    Connor has a conviction for terrorist related offences he was caught in possession of a very large bomb( Tout set him up) In June 1981 Operation Vehement.

    So I do not think the man is being played here just plain Facts. You should not be scared of the truth if you require further details of Connor please just ask.

    Marty

  • George

    Mayoman,
    If SF are where Fianna Fail were in 1933 then we should be seeing Adams putting together an Offences Against the State Act to crush the IRA any day now.
    He isn’t because SF aren’t. Not yet anyway. Until SF are as dogged about taking on the Provos and any other private army as the State is, they won’t be party to running the State. Them’s the rules.

    Martin,
    Gerry Adams will not become President of Ireland in my view and I could never see FF supporting his candidature. Even if they did he wouldn’t win the election. A man who is still campaigning for the early release of Garda killers won’t make it to the Aras, unless the Irish electorate undergoes some kind of Damascus conversion.
    You are having a laugh if you think Gerry will be elected Guardian of the Irish Constitution.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    The Browne article is seemingly highlighting the emergence of SF and by default the political arm of republicanism as the dominant arm within the republican family.

    That this should be surprising and even provoke some of the comments on this site is bizarre. SF, as it has grown, has made massive strides outside traditional republican areas in the northern six counties. Is the complaint that SF have become too sophisticated?
    No doubt there are many who prefer the soap box whackoes who inhabit what passes for the left in Ireland. Likewise I have no doubt that these same people would prefer to see SF marginalised in that narrow constituency, dream on.

    Who is now trying to move onto SF ground on the national question? FF scrambling for the Easter high ground, the SDLP leadership dumping John Hume’s post nationalism like a hot potato.

    Go and read the Ard Fheis clar people and then come back with an argumwent on who and what are progressive on this island of ours.

  • Mayoman

    TAFKABO – I didn’t say they would become as evil as 1933 FF, just that they are in a similar position!

  • ingrammartin

    TAFKABO9 ,

    You may be right but like the Sunday Independant said a few weeks ago ” Martin Ingram” the man with the good record of getting it right.

    Martin.

    PS. It is a joke ABOUT THE INDO please do not give me stick about that.Gerry is the most popular leader of any political party down south, his profile is solid . I think he has a very good chance but only time will tell. What I do know is tthis, he will not stay and watch Sinn Fein start going backwards and risk the upsurge of Republicans willing to take up the chalice of ” Active” OPERATIONS.

  • ingrammartin

    Please disregard the last Ingram post at 21 it is the Sinn Fein blogging committee who hate to see the truth or a decent debate.

    Martin

  • sean

    ‘Do you not also think that Toiréasa is a bit of talent too, in a certain kind of way? ‘

    Toiréasa is much more than a pretty face! If you check out educational qualifications of politicans across Ireland, Toiréasa would be in the top 1%. The political experience will, naturally, come in time through her growing role in the Republican movement.

  • sean

    Post 25 is mine,
    Sean

  • it is the Sinn Fein blogging committee

    ROFL!!

    You have lost it Ingram, no such committee exists except in your mind!

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Post 21 was mine, the antics of the posts is still labelling posts across the board. I myself have been labelled as making a few dozen posts when in fact I have made very few. It also gives the impression that I am giving answers to certain posters who i have consciously decided to ignore.

    Pat Mc Larnon

  • ingrammartin

    blogging committee again at work sad people . Please disregard post 25.

    Marty

  • ingrammartin

    Sean,

    No probs did you do 21 also?

    Martin

  • Links

    Is Martin Ingram the last person to figure out that the random user names are the result of a software problem with the board, and not, as his conspiracy-laded mind sees it, the result of the “Sinn Fein blogging committee again at work”?

  • Glen Taisie

    Sinn Fein claim to be the fastest growing party in the island of Ireland.

    Last year they celebrated their 100th year.

    If it took them 100 years to win 5 Dail seats, can they really call themselvesfast growers.

    The Greens have 8 Dail seats and only came into being in the 90s.

    Mathematicians please!!!!

    .

  • Glen Taisie

    Sinn Fein claim to be the fastest growing party on the island.

    Last year they claimed to be 100 years old.

    So it took them 100 years to win 5 Dail seats.

    They Greens have won 8 in less than 20 years.

    Are my maths correct?

  • JTC



    Gerry Adams is no deValera,(many would say thank goodness for this).Though no admirer of Michael Collins,apparently, Hugh Leonard wrote -he (Collins) could walk over Adams and he would’nt notice him.Sinn Fein are a crowd of third raters. They are hopeless debaters.At least twice Mary Lou has been demolished by Brigid Laffan. These people waged a hopeless war for 25 years. A ten year old child could tell them in 1972 that they had no hope of beating the British Army.

  • Cahal

    “Mathematicians please!!!!”

    You are totally wrong.

    The change in a quantity with time is determined as the difference between the value at two particular times, divided by the difference in time i.e. (x_b-x_a)/(t_b-t_a). Of course, the growth rate at any particular instant in time is found as the difference (t_b-t_a) becomes infinitesimally small and the above quantity becomes a derivative with respect to time.

    Hence growth rate is a function of current time only. The size of the quantity 100 years ago has nothing to do with the current quantities rate of change.

    If you were driving at 30 mph yesterday, does that have any effect on your current acceleration?

    There is a fundamental difference between the size of a quantity and its rate of change.

    This is taught in year 9.

  • sean

    ‘No probs did you do 21 also? ‘

    No, only the one I claimed.

    To the Mathematician: Sinn Fein’s abstentionist policy mean anything to you?

    Sean

  • sean

    ‘blogging committee again at work sad people . Please disregard post 25.’

    I had already claimed it as mine Martin, so what on earth are you raving about?
    Blogging committee? Now that is paranoid.

  • ingrammartin

    Sean,

    Good try , have a nice day.Marty

  • Stephen Copeland

    So it took them 100 years to win 5 Dail seats.

    Since Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, the Workers Party (now part of Labour) and the PDs are all off-shoots of the original family, I think your comment is entirely wrong. The original SF party has provided every Taoiseach the south has had (I think) and all Presidents (bar bad bad Mary Robinson) have needed support from at least one SF-derivative party to get elected.

    Thats pretty successful!

    [Posted by Stephen Copeland]

  • Glen Taisie

    Back to school for me then.

    You will have guessed that my comments where tongue in cheekand I know it is not scientific to base evidence purely on seats won. But consider this.

    1997 Dail seats: Greens 2 Sinn Fein 1 PDs 4 Others 6

    2002 Dail Seats: Greens 6 Sinn Fein 5 PDs 8 Others 13

    Sinn Fein will be the fastest growing party in the 26 counties after the next election unless they repeat their 2005 Meath by-election result when they added a massive 45 votes to their 2002 total.

  • ingrammartin

    Glen,

    QUOTE”Sinn Fein will be the fastest growing party in the 26 counties after the next election unless they repeat their 2005 Meath by-election result when they added a massive 45 votes to their 2002 total”Unquote

    How dare you have the neck to take the michael out of these Shinners. Next pints on me.

    Martin