Bertie gets Sinn Fein’s sympathy?

Phoenix Magazine had an interesting piece on the ‘Bertiegate’, most of the Sunday’s seem to be moving towards backing Bertie, and away from McDowell, for allegedly losing his nerve. But Phoenix remarks on the strange silence from Sinn Fein on the subject:

Fact is that SF is horrified at the prospect of Bertie’s downfall so close to the late deadline for agreement in the Assembly. In particular, the Shinners are concerned that a new team of Irish government negotiators, minus Bertie, would be easy meat for Ian Paisley’s DUP and would be less able to prevent backsliding from the British government. Other arguments used to mollify SF members queasy about soft peddling on the Taoiseach are that most working class voters feel sorry for Bertie and would not thank SF for going along with the middle class ‘right wing’ parties and media in downing poor Bertie.

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  • That’s very poor of the Phoenix. If they’d bothered to check the press section of the SF website, or the Dáil transcripts, they would have found we’ve hardly been “silent” on the matter. The media, for whatever reason (and I can guess), have simply blanked us out of the debate.

  • aquifer

    “Fact is that SF is horrified at the prospect of Bertie’s downfall”

    Then why is Snoddy shooting feathers out of bertie’s tail with calls for this ‘developer government’ to resign?

    Bertie knows them too well. I would say SF could prefer him gone and the cards thrown in the air so that the blame for talks failure would gravitate towards the DUP, to be inherited later by an incoming FG led coalition. For SF to succeed electorally in the south against FF, the northern settlement must be kept in play to rienforce which of the two is the real ‘republican party’ and which the party of gombeen land rezoners.

  • Quaysider

    Phoenix is not as well informed on all things Sinn Fein as it used to be, since the party realised that its association with editor Paddy Prendiville was more of a liability than an asset.
    The rot really set in about three years ago. Prendiville spent some time following the murder of Veronica Guerin claiming to have been her “best friend” and touting his opinions around various media outlets – until May 2003, when he accused Guerin’s brother Jimmy of writing “repetitive and insincere anniversay tributes”. Mr Guerin’s crime was his refusal to criticise Sindo management, which was Prendiville’s only agenda all along. This piece explains all:

    http://www.unison.ie/irish_independent/stories.php3?ca=36&si=981059&issue_id=9252

    Prendiville’s attempt to place himself over Guerin’s family in his ‘grief’ in order to produce one evening of half-arsed student union street theatre proved beyond any remaining doubt that he had lost the plot. Sinn Fein has since slowly distanced itself from Prendiville, who has become an increasingly tragic figure in Dublin media circles.

  • I don’t know. I interviewed Gerry Kelly for the Irish World last week, and he declined the opportunity to say whether the Mahon payments were a resigning issue, saying he would see what Ahern had to say for himself in last Tuesday’s debate.

    The impression I got from other Sinn Fein sources was pretty much in line with the Phoenix analysis.

    It’s true that Ó Caoláin called for the Government to go on Tuesday, but he also expressly said that there “are far bigger issues than the current controversy,” and avoided detailed questions on that controversy, which was the only thing that was going to force the Taoiseach to resign.

    Ó Caoláin did hit home on Thurday with the question about the PDs,but that was not an aspect that had the potential to force Ahern to resign. (It might however bring about a minority Government, which might suit SF)

    I don’t think Fianna Fail in opposition would suit Sinn Fein, as they would be better placed to compete for the soft republican vote out of office. For that reason, I don’t think a Fine Gael Government would suit them either.

  • As Wednesday has already said we have been anything but silent.

    Certain sections of the media have decided that in order to hype up the “alternative coalition” (i.e Blue Shirts, Stickies and Greens )they, and only they, should get coverage.

    Sinn Féin’s stance has been very clear on this all along, we oppose Fianna Fail’s cute-whoreism and cronyism

  • William Joyce

    Paddy Prendiville was closer to the IRSP than to Sinn Fein. This would explain his antipathy to Anne Harris who was a Stick and the one time wife of Super Stick and political flip flop Eoghan Harris. Jimmy Guerin does owe his job to Veronica who should not have been sent on those suicidal misisons to boost circulation. Guerin’s article is simply a suck up to his bosses who sent his sister to her fate.
    As regards Sinn Fein and Bertie: it would indeed be a tragey if Sinn Fein lost some of the fruits of collaboration.

  • Rory

    While Googling “Paddy Prendiville” for more info I came across this entry:

    “Roger Greene’s newly published book on journalism has two big omissions: Kevin Myers and Paddy Prendiville.”.

    Obviously a clever publisher’s ploy to make the book more attractive to buyers.

  • William Joyce

    Whatever about the Killorglin Irspy, Myers is not a journalist but an op ed kid. There is no way Vinnie Jones would have taken him into the Indo. The new editor has a different model, more akin to the Sindo. He says the most outlandish and unsubstantiated nonense about his pet hates: Republicans. Muslims etc. But he does get a rise out of some and has a following of sorts and so he fits well into the Indo, which is becoming a Sindo mark 11.

  • Tom, I would guess that Gerry Kelly’s reticence on the subject had more to do a lack of complete familiarity with it than anything else (a not uncommon occurrence when northern reps are asked about purely 26 County matters).

    There has never been any real risk of the Government collapsing because of the number of independents willing to prop it up. So that’s a red herring.

    The suggestion by the Phoenix that we think of Bertie as our knight in shining armour, going to single-handedly hold the Brits to their promises, is just laughable.

    If we were going to approach this from a viewpoint of what it would do to Bertie personally, surely the weaker he is the better Mary Lou’s chances and from that perspective we would have been happy to jump on the bandwagon.

    The fact is that what Caoimhghín said in the Dáil last Tuesday reflects the general view within the party (and of course there will always be exceptions): that this is a minor scandal compared to what the Government has done to the health services, Part V etc.

  • páid

    “Sinn Fein has since slowly distanced itself from Prendiville, who has become an increasingly tragic figure in Dublin media circles”

    Well SF is slowly distancing itself from more than Prendiville.

    e.g. a united Ireland.

    And becoming a tragic figure in Dublim media circles may be a prerequisite for having IMO a fairly accurate take on things.

    Jokes and front pages still crap though.

  • andy

    I didn’t know Prenderville was from Killorglin. That’s interesting.

    Wasn’t there a Maurice Prenderville (RIP) from around the same area who was a fairly well known Republican? I wonder if they were related. I may have the name slightly wrong on that.

    Regarding the substance of the post, I appreciate the comments that the media may not have been covering SF comments enough but I would have thought they have a sophisticated machine to make sure they got comment through if they really wanted Bertie Ahern to resign. I’ve certainly heard a stronger message from them on other issues.

    However I think they played it well. They made their displeasure known -but why shake the tree for a resignation which would not have happened and would simply have alienated one of the most powerful people on the island? I take the point that Ahern isn’t SF’s shining white knight etc but if I were SF I’d trust him more than a coalition involving Fine Gael and an ex-stickie lead Labour party.

  • Rory

    Prendiville, who has become an increasingly tragic figure in Dublin media circles”

    Surely not? Whatever the man’s perceived failings can anyone deserve such banishment to the Seventh Circle?

    Perhaps like Henry Kelly, one-time Northern Editor of the Irish Times (and just as the North was kicking off), who after a fall from grace later found redemption as a game=show host on commercial television in England, he may yet turn up as host of Name that Granny! * ( a show still “in development” from an original idea by Rory Carr). His Clongowes education may yet stand him in good stead.

    *Copyright: Rory Carr 1957

  • It could be argued that there is a chasm in political nous between the SF leadership and some of the donkeys who support them.

  • pith

    What on earth is a tragic figure in media circles?

  • circles

    what you asking me for, I didn’t write it?!

  • As it happens I knew Prendiville quite well back in the day when I was in the WP and later DL.

    He was indeed warm towards the IRSP and had a profound antipathy towards WP/DL, but struck me as fairly cynical about PSF.

    Not sure about how accurately he can read SF these days…

  • Rory

    What on earth is a tragic figure in media circles?

    I think it’s one who has been asked to provide receipts with his expenses claim, Pith.

  • I would have thought they have a sophisticated machine to make sure they got comment through if they really wanted Bertie Ahern to resign.

    I’ve heard this before and it makes me scratch my head. How on earth are we supposed to be able to force the media to cover us if they don’t want to cover us?

    I take the point that Ahern isn’t SF’s shining white knight etc but if I were SF I’d trust him more than a coalition involving Fine Gael and an ex-stickie lead Labour party.

    True but as I said, nobody (apart maybe from FG and Labour themselves) ever thought there was a risk of the Government collapsing anyway.

    Michael, I’m aware of no chasm between the leadership and the grassroots on this issue. All the feedback we’ve got from supporters and sympathisers has been positive.

  • pith

    Rory, that is tragedy wrought to its uttermost (as you know who had it).

  • Tom Griffin on Oct 09, 2006 @ 12:01 AM seems to be using cut and paste quotations regarding the Shinners position on Anorakman. I think the thrust of Caoimhghin’s statements is in the lines…“…the Taoiseach admitted appointing people to State boards because they were his friends.”

    Judge for yourselves…. http://www.sinnfein.ie/news/detail/16089

    And NO, before you even think of posting about me being a SF blogger…I just don’t like mis posts like those made by Tom Griffin and I’d being using CC’s statements on the same subject but elsewhere.

  • I’m not disputing that SF don’t approve of the payments/ don’t think Bertie is the best thing since sliced bread.

    All I’m saying is it wouldn’t have suited them for the Government to fall/Taoiseach to resign just at the moment, with the November deadline in the offing.

    Now maybe neither of those things were a realistic possibility, but that’s what the other opposition parties were going for.

  • Martin

    A delightful summer read—can’t wait for the film to be released

    [url]http://thumbsnap.com/v/3AOhfxUy.jpg[/url]