Sinn Fein’s defence of the appointments can’t be the last word

Well which is it?  A Robinson- McGuinness-led  joint move to take over the centre ground as well as the “extremes,” or a new wave of sectarian politics? I ask genuinely because I can’t be sure but hesitantly because I fear the sound of grinding axes. The lack of cool analysis so far suggests uncertainty over how to rate SF defiance of unionist sensibilities. Trite reactions like “moving on” are clearly not appropriate and serve only to irritate further.

The Sinn Fein appointments may be pay-off for the former prisoners and an answer to the dissident republican charge of sell-out. Outside the SF closed circle the human reaction to Anne Travers’ heartrending interview can only be sorrow and revulsion far beyond political allegiances. What do the SDLP think by the way? The pat responses from Gerry Kelly and Caral Ni Chuilin – “that’s it “- are not to put it mildly in the spirit of the reconciliation. But I wouldn’t be surprised if a second more soothing wave of SF comment will follow from the DPM at a moment of his own choosing.

Alex Kane’s strong article typically displays all the emotion which the Sinn Fein reaction equally typically denies. What do we think if this? Is the natural expression of righteous anger a sign of weakness or strength?  If the only available answer is that it depends on your audience, unionist or nationalist, we have retreated a few significant steps from the unity displayed at the murder of Constable Kerr.  Sinn Fein should accept that the division between conflict and post conflict is not rigid and absolute. If it were, why would we bother continuing to inquire into the past?

Which is the stronger political position, just wrath or the cold denial of any problem?  Alex can’t resist trying to hurt Sinn Fein back, a very human reaction to callous behaviour. He points to the natural limitation of their victories and rubs their noses in it as they pass the statues of Carson and Craigavon. Any hurt inflicted simply doesn’t compare, as of course  he knows. Might he have been better to adopt a more incisive approach, requiring a statement of regret and asking for ideas on where we go from here?

It is easy to make too much of Sinn Fein’s strategic ability. They probably feel under some threat from the dissident appeal despite their electoral successes, while they also like to exaggerate pressure for tactical advantage as we’ve seen for decades. This produced results for them when disarmament was the priority. That priority has not quite disappeared but it is much reduced

Unionists along with all opponents of violence over 30 years should take credit for their own willingness to come to terms with the past and stop beating themselves up about it. This is no one-off act. Many people chose to make a conscious adjustment every day for the rest of their lives. This is a big part of the price of peace.  It behoves all political parties to remember that.

Alex’s reaction to the appointments is psychologically authentic on the unionist side. Sinn Fein’s response is to say the least, seriously incomplete. A unionist-only response to the appointments is not enough. What is surely required is a political approach to everything including how to handle appointments, appropriate for a coalition of minds if not yet hearts, that all can live with.

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  • Cynic2

    Watching John O’Dowd on Spotlight it was clear her was just going through the motions on this.

    Dodds missed a torpedo chance when D’Dowd called for an International Truth Commission pledging full cooperation from PIRA while conveniently forgetting that his Party President publicly denies he was ever a member of that organisation

  • J Kelly

    This story has left me a little bit confused, people say Sinn Fein have been insensitive, that this woman could have done another role maybe in the background. Mary McArdle is doing a backroom advisory role, to make the point can anyone tell me who are the advisers to lets say John ODowd, Alex Attwood, David Ford or Nelson McCausland. Better still who were the advisers in the last executive. The role of special advisers is supposed to be a background out of the way party role. The role that Mary McArdle is playing very well by the fact that the only photo available of her seems to be dated. No photo calls or interviews with the nedia thats left to elected reps. As Eamon Mallie and Alan McBride said last week why are people so surprised that former prisoners are working at Stormont.

    This issue was made and fed by the Media, the first Ann Travers knew of this issue was when the BBC phoned her to get her reaction to a story or issue she knew nothing about. This is not to say that she doesnt have feelings or issues but this was not as some people are attempting to say a deliberate move by Sinn Fein. Not knowing Mary McArdle but knowing some of the other Sinn Fein advisers I would say she is there on ability and merit, nothing less.

  • Brian Walker

    J Kelly
    However it happened her appointment caused a reaction as everbody knew it would. The issue it seems to me is not the appointment but how the controversy is handled Gerry Kelly a more senior figure dealt with his own appointment effectively. Agitprop from him and the new SF ministers isn’t good enough. Special advisers may not be public figures but they have to deal with people from other poltical parties every day so some sensitivity and mutual respect is surely required.

  • PaulT

    the prisoners were released in 1998! bit of a wait for a pay-off, which, also only seems to have been to those prisoners who progressed thro the party.

    If its part of the propaganda war within republicanism, than isn’t Travers and unionism actually helping SF

    And surely it’s to their benefit for SF to win, or is it

  • Brian, a Travers and McArdle search on the SDLP website brings up nothing about the McArdle appointment.

    “However there has been widespread criticism from other political parties. Alban Maginness of the SDLP has called the appointment “grossly inappropriate and insensitive.”

    He said: “I do not believe that this person has ever expressed any contrition to this very savage incident. There is no need to appoint someone like this to a high profile position.” .. UTV link.

    A McArdle and Travers search of the Alliance Party website brings up nothing and I’ve not found any quotes from an Alliance Party spokesman.

  • Independent Ulster

    Brian, you say

    A unionist-only response to the appointments is not enough. What is surely required is a political approach to everything including how to handle appointments, appropriate for a coalition of minds if not yet hearts, that all can live with.

    That would need SF co-operation and that is very unlikely as they would lose far too much face with their own supporters.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    How would the appointment of long standing members of the SF backroom tean to the position of ministerial advisors answer the ‘dissident’ charge of sell out?

  • Brian Walker

    [Pat McL I said AN answer to the charge.. In their ideology, it asserts the legitimacy of the armed struggle now carried on by politicla means. The switch is therefore a matter of political judgement, not principle.

    nevin, etc Perhaps contrition in some form may come later, but distanced from pressure. I can’t see mass objections from SF voters but a balance would be struck for hardliners.

  • Gerry Lvs castro

    As a Unionist I’m honestly not sure what all the fuss is about.

    The DUP and UUP signed up to govern with an unrepentant party inextricably linked to murder, intimidation, punishment beating, extortion, robbery, kidnapping and breathtaking hypocrisy. A party who recieved over 178k assembly first preference votes, despite their military wing murdering more of their own community than the Brits and the police combined.

    Gerry Kelly, Martina Anderson and Martin McGuinness, just for starters, have well documented pasts, yet have highly prominent assembly roles. Other than Ann Travers heartfelt and heartbreaking interview, what possible reason is there for Mary McArdle’s appointment to be attacked in this way?

    SFs choice of ministries indicates what many suspected — a one issue party obsessed with window dressing and a minority language. Nothing of substance to impress anyone, north or south outside of their traditional base. Their reaction to QE2’s visit was a mis-step — IMO their ministerial choices are another.

    The McArdle incident though personally appalling for the Travers family, is a media-led storm in a teacup distracting from the wider issues of SF competence in govt.

  • “contrition in some form may come later”

    Sadly, Brian, such contrition may well carry the stench of hypocrisy. If saying a simple sorry – no caveats – would assist victims then I can see merit in that but sorry delayed is sorry denied.

    The electorate will continue to vote for politicians and parapoliticians for a whole raft of reasons.

    In your reply to Pat you use the word ‘switch’ whereas the Grapevine indicates that intimidation is still in play.

  • I think McGuinness will shortly put on what I’m beginning to think of as his ‘human’ face to make the soothing noises SF seem to think will cause mass amnesia. I don’t believe it will work as well as it has on previous occasions: its a case of diminishing returns.

    If SF are more interested in promoting their tarnished operatives than in promoting a united Ireland then they should get out of the way of those who take a UI seriously Had I been living in the north I would have voted for Martin McGuinness, next time? hell would freeze first and he and his accomplices would be there to watch.

    If however there is an internal battle of ideology taking place within SF then the general public should be made aware of it so that some understanding can be placed on irrational decisions like these.

  • Billy Pilgrim


    I agree that this is a media-led furore. The headline here is: “Sinn Fein’s defence of the appointments can’t be the last word.”

    There is a priceless impotence implicit in this sentence. It’s the sound of a journalist stamping his foot in frustration that, despite the media north and south throwing everything they’ve got at this, Ms McArdle is still in post. “That CAN’T be the last word!” they cry.

    But it is.

    Brian Walker describes this as “SF defiance of unionist sensibilities.” But unionist politicians have been pretty reticent in pursuing this. Sure, they have issued statements when asked, putting their “disgust” and “outrage” on record, and saying exactly what one would expect them to say about it.

    But with the exception of Gregory Campbell (and of course, Gregory will always be Gregory), unionist politicians have been content to leave it at that. There is no apparent desire among political unionism to make a crisis out of this, and they have been followers, not leaders, throughout.

    In fact it has been a media-driven campaign from the start, and that’s where the real battle lines are. The media north and south, servants of power that they are, are doing their job and attacking the counter-hegemonic force that is SF. And they are astounded and affronted that SF refuse to roll over and do what the leader-writers of Ireland demand.

    “Trite reactions like “moving on” are clearly not appropriate and serve only to irritate further.”

    Irritate who?

    “The issue it seems to me is not the appointment but how the controversy is handled Gerry Kelly a more senior figure dealt with his own appointment effectively.”

    This, I think, goes to the heart of it. The issue is not the appointment: the issue is SF’s refusal to back down in the face of media pressure. The media don’t like it. Brian’s headline here demonstrates the frustration felt by a media more used to having its chimerical power respected than exposed.

    In a way, this is the media’s almost universal visceral antipathy to SF come back to haunt it. Imagine the conversation in Connolly House: “We’d better back down on this: otherwise we might get some bad headlines in the Independent!”

  • pippakin, the Grapevine indicates that SF has had internal problems in North Antrim for quite some time. The MSM asks questions but somehow feels unable to speak openly.

    London and Dublin at times have danced to the SF tune; they’ve even provided tactical support. It’s been fairly clear for quite some time that much of that support has ebbed away and SF is now more likely to lurch about like a bull in a china shop.

    Parts of the MSM may well continue the sanitisation process but, in parts of North Antrim, it would appear that a significant part of the Nationalist electorate will now tick the independent republican box. It would appear that SF lost two seats to such republicans in the recent Moyle Council elections.

  • Nevin

    As I said its a case of diminishing returns. SF really do need to decide what they want. Gerry Adams pontificates from a position of total ignorance in Dublin and Martin McGuinness, in the north, is apparently silent about an appointment he must have known would cause enormous pain and anger. If SF have an internal ‘debate’ taking place then SF, the masters of well timed leaks, would do well to let the public find out.

    In both cases the impression given is one of arrogance, ignorance and indifference. Its not good enough. The MSM have shielded SF for years so nothing new there.,

  • J Kelly

    Not to turn this into whataboutery but this is a two way street, its not easy for the republican nationalist community to feel comfortable seeing politicians with histories in the NIO, RUC, UDR, third Force, Vanguard, UDA, uvf parading on our screen as if nothing ever happened. A few examples off the top of my head was Jimmy Spratt involved in the shoot to kill operations, did he ever past information or intelligence to loyalist killers. Did Tom Elliot ever assist the movement of loyalist in and out of nationalist areas before or after assinations.

    Will the BBC investigate the past of these people because the state wont lay bare what their individual roles were in the conflict. These stories become inflated and pushed by a lazy media who have known for years who is working at stormont and other places but as they say bad news is good copy.

    Do people really want only those with no hand, act or part in the conflict to have any role in politics.

  • pippakin, the public get much of its political information from the MSM so our ‘concerns’ will most probably go unnoticed – or will have been forgotten by the time the next election comes around.

    A smiling Peter and Martin may well be rewarded at the ballot box despite what’s going on in the undergrowth – which just goes to show how silly the UUP bill-board campaign was.

  • Brian Walker

    I began the post by asking if we were in for a a new round of sectarian poltiics or the main parties were heading for the centre ground. I don’t know which and was asking for enlightenment. Most comment so far suggests that unionists have already absorbed this kind of action from SF and the row is largely got up by the media. Interesting.

  • “The lack of cool analysis so far suggests uncertainty over how to rate SF defiance of unionist sensibilities.”

    Brian, are you sure that Alban Maginness and Ann Travers are unionists? SF actions of this type IM0 illustrate contempt for victims, for decency and for democracy. SF apologists will struggle onwards – and downwards.

  • Skinner

    Gerry Loves Castro

    I agree with you – this is an emotional, not logical, furore. If you’re going to accept people like Gerry Kelly into government then there is no logical reason to kick up a fuss about accepting another terrorist like McArdle to advise them. That is not to say the Travers family should keep quiet – quite the opposite we should remember how victims feel in all of this. The furore does serve to illustrate a frustration amongst the centre ground (which should include SDLP) that they have to accept unrepentant terrorists in government. The frustration is heightened when appointments like this come to light, because it is confirmation that the terrorists are not just unrepentant but indignant. There is the perception “they could have chosen someone else” because Mary McArdle is dispensible (unlike Gerry Kelly et al).

  • “Unionists along with all opponents of violence over 30 years should take credit for their own willingness to come to terms with the past and stop beating themselves up about it”

    A phrase like this comes close to suggesting that “unionists along with all opponents of violence” are the same. Unionists (yes even the legal types) have a very mixed attitude to violence.
    Frankly few people care.
    There is no Victims Group which can claim to speak for “all victims”. The impact of Ms Travers reaction is that she made it herself (possibly with BBC prompting) but without the blessing of those who claim to speak for victims…or “their” victims.

    Every action of the SF-DUP coalition is an insult to some victim somewhere. But we voted for it last month…..and more indirecty in 1998. It would be bizarre for people to think that this isnt what it said on the tin in 1998.
    It is not the role of Sinn Féin to see the sensitivities of unionists (was Ms Travers a unonist?). We criticised speculation that Constable Kerr or Ronan was a republican.
    Is the Kerr family victims?
    Presumably they still are….even as unionists are no longer fully signed up to the cross community outrage/sympathy which followed his death.
    Is the Kerr family outraged by the appointment of Ms McArdle? I have no idea. Has anyone asked them?
    Do individual victims (in this case Ms Travers) have a right of veto on appointments? Have they a right of veto on what many of us call the Peace Process?
    We didnt recognise that right in 1998.

    Seems to me to be a Media/SF dispute.
    Arguably the Media have been too reverential to SF.
    Arguably the Media have not been reverential at all and are bending over backwards to cosy up to the new situation (as they did uncritically from 1922 thru to the 1990s) .
    Arguably SF wonder why the Media suddenly developed teeth …or a conscience.
    Sinn Féin is in the same position as Fianna Fáil in the 1930s and likely to be so for about half a century. Dark mutterings in Dublin 4 and Abbey Street might have suggested that Lemass and Aiken were terrible people. But it had no impact.
    The core support of FF happily attended commemorations for Liam Lynch and other FF martyrs to show their loyalty. Most people voted FF because of their unapologetic stance, their power of patronage and their ruthless efficiency.
    Only the core SF support attend the latest unveiling of a memorial to the local Brigade. An enterprising career minded SF person would be foolish to miss one.
    But ultimately it is the unapologetic stance, the power of patronage and ruthless efficiency (acknowledging the sensitivities of unionists is not on the agenda) which brings in the votes.
    What exactly is the alternative for nationalists?
    Dissident nihilism? Hardly.
    SDLP? Efficiency is hardly their trump card.
    Get-along-ism? doesnt push many nationalist buttons.

    So its SF for fifty years.
    I wont be around to see it of course.

    (nor indeed to see replies….will be on another continent for a while)

  • Lionel Hutz

    If this is a media led storm – and I think it is – then it’s simply good journalism. They realised this would cause public outrage and it did. That outrage is not manufactured. Many moderate nationalists who have softened to the softened Sinn Fein are not happy with it. It’s very uncomfortable.

    The interesting thing is what happens when you point out that this is nothing new. Does this cause nationalists to pause and reflect? As I have said on other threads on this topic, northern nationalism is severely morally compromised but it’s unconscious really. This type of appointment does bring it all into focus. A conversation I had with my mother yesterday illustrates it. It went roughly like this:

    Mum- “I think it’s just wrong”
    Me- “Well sure it happens all the time, mayors and co-options for Sinn Fein politicians who did similar and worse”
    Mum – “but those people might have only been convicted for membership of the IRA or having explosives or something”
    Me: “what difference does it make. Do you think the 19 year old McArdle is more responsible than the people who told her to do it. They sent young people out to kill and sometimes die”
    Mum: “those people are elected, it’s different. This is just wrong”
    Me: “Sure McGuinness said that murder was ‘reasonable.’ this is what they believe. They believe it was right – it was all right’

    And there it is. How many conversations like that have happened in households across the country? Pause and reflect. She remembered why she doesn’t vote for Sinn Fein. Will others remember why they used to not vote for them?

    The past of Sinn Fein (and DUP) have been Disney-fied. When QE2 said in her speech about the brave N.I politicians who brought peace. The cameraman zoomed in on Peter Robinson. I thought ‘what the fuck?! What did he have to do with!’

    Anyway, I, like most people – I suspect, am bored with it all. Tired

  • Indeed I can truthfully say that the conversation Mr Hutz relates is something to which I can relate.
    Those who remember the actual killing are more likely to be “concerned” but basically we all know that it is not a “real issue” for Sinn Féin voters.
    The ruthless efficiency of Sinn Féin politicians in representing (now) constitutional nationalism will trump this.
    Good journalism?
    Where was it in 1998?
    Obviously back then Ms McArdle was not a Special Advisor but no journalist then would have broken the Peace at All Costs narrative.
    Now it is safer to so do…..and there might even be a different narrative.
    “How can nationalists vote for these awful people?” But frankly the Travers case has no more real impact than Jean McConville.
    I have in the past claimed that nationalists have effectively retrospectively endorsed the IRA campaign.
    And as Mr Hutz has pointed out consistently nationalists are morally compromised. (actually we all are). But life has been made too easy for SF because of no viable nationalist alternative.
    In that sense SDLP have failed their supporters.

  • HeinzGuderian

    It’s all quite simples………….if only that Unionist/British lead media would give the poor shinners a break…………*DOH*

    As someone else has mentioned above,the shinners are a One trick pony. Beyond the mantra of * Brits Out/sovereign ireland/ui,just around the corner*,they have nothing. Take away the tired old mantra,and it’s a big,fat zilch !!

    Sad really…….;-)

  • granni trixie

    Although the media have given much space over to this issue/event, I do not think that it has sustained because of that, but because Ann Travers articulated so clearly her perspective which triggered old style moral thinking in the minds of other people.(before the GFA, remember the days when murder was a big “wrong”?). I also think that Ms Travers brought home the reality of the legacy of the troubles.

    I also disagree on the portrayal here of responses as sectarian eg ‘unionis’ against – for apart from core SF supporters/Republicans I think that people across the board have been dismayed at this as a step too far.

    Now I know I tend to think in terms of conspiracy theories but could it be that this appontment is to “put up a flag to see who salutes” – that and a pattern of selection of other hardliners (such as Adams replacement in WB) – could be to test the paramatres in preparation for suggestion say Gerry Kelly for Justice Minister?

    Could also be ofcourse that this appointment shows that SF cannot think outside their own worlds and did not see that others would see this appointment as ‘insensitive’ (to say the least). An own goal in my eyes if they hope to appeal to voters outside the heartlands. .

  • qwerty12345

    Heinz I can see why you are full of beans. Sinn Fein really have nothing……except the votes of the majority of nationalists and seats in government.

    Brians thread title as pointed out by others smacks of the rattle hitting the floor outside the cot.

  • sonofstrongbow

    There is no doubt that Nationalists have endorsed the Sinn Fein murder campaign and a parade of victims from now to doomsday would not lose a single vote for Murder Inc. The only reason that Sinn Fein get a little shirty with the media and mutter about ‘silly’ questions is because for few brief moments their narrative of being the MOPE is clearly made suspect by the testimonies of those they made victims.

    Indeed the Nationalist community are, in addition to being ok with violence directed from within their community (yet crying inquiry when themuns are suspect), also not concerned with Sinn Fein’s performance in government. How else can you explain a Minister of Agriculture, I’ll type that again, a Minister of Agriculture saying she was not a politician and her only interest as a “republican activist” was advancing the “republican agenda”.

    WTF? Should I now be telling my guys to break the dairy herds’ habits of forming at the gates to use the same lanes to come in for milking? Surely it can only be a matter of time before the Minister sends out a circular banning such use of ‘traditional routes’.

  • Granni Trixie does of course raise a good point.
    Ms Travers is…….articulate.
    There are essentially two tiers of victim.
    The Articulate….who can give voice to their pain (and on occasions agenda) which makes us more uncomfortable than inarticulate victims who are a bit embarrassing to us.

    It was always thus. We here on Slugger are atypical. More of us have been to Uni than the proportion in the general populace. We are articulate and we identify with the articulate.
    Just like in the worst years of the 1970s we identify with people like “us”.
    When we heard the morning news”a body has been found or a man has been killed” we all thought thats terrible but we were not combatants like the British Army, the IRA or RUC/UDR. Not people like “us”.
    And we would not have taken that route home at that time of night or used that bar.
    The only real empathy we ever had was for people like “us” who might have used that restaurant for our kennel club dinner or whatever dinner…..or used that bus station in Oxford Street ….or walked past that bin lorry in North Street……or used the #16 bus from Stormont to the City Centre.
    Or leaving a church service with your dad.

    Ms Travers is one of “us” as was her sister.
    Alas most victims, however defined are not as articulate as the likes of you and me. But probably as much victims as anyone else.
    In the great scheme of things Ms McArdle advising Caral Ní Chuilín on whatever it is the Department of Culture Arts & Leisure does is hardly as important as Gearoid Ó hEara chairing the Policing Board in a couple of years.

  • RyanAdams

    There can be no doubt about it, McCardle’s appointment was to appease the hard core element of SF. Possibly a step in the aftermath of a drop in 4% in the assembly election in WB, and the loss of a seat in Lower Falls.

    However, I do believe, as far as the election results show a 0.8% increase for SF, they barely made any progress at council level and lost ground in some areas, while the vote didn’t turn out in some other places of the North.

    IMO the writings on the wall for Sinn Fein, They’ve peaked and they know it. The decline will be slow, and hasn’t started yet, but its coming.

  • Henry94

    For Sinn Fein to allow a distinction to be drawn between those who served time and those who didn’t would be a huge mistake. People who were prisoners are entitled to serve in any position and to disown one prisoner would be to disown them all.

    Of course that makes it a perfect no-lose issue for SF’s opponents. If SF stand over the appointment they can be portrayed as insensitive but if they climb down from it then it would be a political earthquake in the party. They simply can’t climb down. Nor should they.

  • USlass

    Part II
    If people are going to yell about Sinn Fein appointments then, people should look at the appointments made by all of the political parties in NI. What are the backgrounds of all the people who received appointments by: the UUP, the SDLP? etc. What are the backgrounds of the people who received appointments by Tom Elliott?

  • PaulT

    If SF are worried after the election than every other leader apart from Ford must have retreated to the office with a pistol and a bottle of scotch (rather dangerous in Toms case as he’ll prob drink the scotch and come out shooting.)

  • “But I wouldn’t be surprised if a second more soothing wave of SF comment will follow from the DPM at a moment of his own choosing”

    I think Nick Clegg would be rather reluctant to act as Sinn Fein’s mouthpiece.

  • Nunez

    “IMO the writings on the wall for Sinn Fein, They’ve peaked and they know it. The decline will be slow, and hasn’t started yet, but its coming.”

    Ryan, I would like to agree with you but I don’t think that’s the case. Sinn Fein are well capable of achieving substantially more first-preference votes than they attained at this year’s election.

    One example. They almost certainly have their eyes on Foyle for the Westminster election in 2015, and it’s not outside the realm of possibility that, should disaffected voters (those who voted for McCann) be convinced, a Sinn Fein candidate (Martina Anderson?) could topple Mark Durkan.

  • joeCanuck

    I’ve asked this before at election time in the hope that one of our SF friendly commenters might be able to supply an answer. Nobody said a word but here’s another go:

    Who decides on these SF appointees? Is it Adams, McGuinness or a committee?

  • Brian Walker

    Good question joe. How also are the DUP appointments made and double/-single jobbers decided?

  • granni trixie

    FJH: the assumotions you are making in your analysis of “us” is breathtakingly wrong.

    I also do not like your comments about Ann Travers being articulate either – as if you hold it against her. You remind me of the people who criticised Madeline McCanns parents for the same reason. Bear in mind that vistims/survivors only seemd to fiind a public voice since around 1994 when Wave was set up as mutual support group. (Rev Parkers Witness for Peace group of the 70s ndid not survive).

    I well remember meeting Helen McHendry in 93 when she could hardly speak in public. But she seemed to gather strength as the campaign for the return of her mother Jean McConville gathered momentum. The moral right of their case means they are more than a match to challenge the powerful SF and its leaders.

    So too with the Travers family. So dont hold their class and education against them – they suffer as much as anybody else (including the Queen!) through the death of a loved one.

  • Limerick

    “A few examples off the top of my head was Jimmy Spratt involved in the shoot to kill operations, did he ever past information or intelligence to loyalist killers. Did Tom Elliot ever assist the movement of loyalist in and out of nationalist areas before or after assinations. ”

    This is the sort of nonsense that needs to be vigorously challenged. One of the things that angers me is the description of police officers and soldiers as ‘combatants’ which suggests that they were equally culpable along with the terrorists in the murder campaign that was waged here. It is a word deliberately chosen by the terrorists in an attempt to legitimise themselves.

    The police and army were armed only for their own defence. They were only ever permitted to engage in ‘combat’ in order to defend themselves or others.

    The terrorist on the other hand was armed soley in order that he/she could murder people.

    There is no equivalence.

    Interestingly the poster above chooses Tom Elliot for his ridiculous comparison. Elliot served in the UDR in Fermanagh. A county in which the sectarian murder campaign was entirely one sided precisely because the Protestants who live there were too decent to engage in the barbarity that their republican neighbours excelled at.

    Jimmy Spratt iirc was a police union rep.

  • Granni Trixie.
    Any “criticism” was not of “victims” …articulate or otherwise.
    The criticism I implied (indeed I thought it was explicit)was of…..MYSELF and others like me (the so called articulate and allegedly educated commenters)..people who more readily identify with Ms Travers because she is articulate and one of “us”……and indeed prepared to identify with her deceased sister on the grounds that she was without qualification… innocent victim….again one of “us”.
    You may or may not choose to identify with this point I am making.
    But I dont think it puts me on a lower moral level to so say.

  • RyanAdams

    One example. They almost certainly have their eyes on Foyle for the Westminster election in 2015, and it’s not outside the realm of possibility that, should disaffected voters (those who voted for McCann) be convinced, a Sinn Fein candidate (Martina Anderson?) could topple Mark Durkan.

    I’ve thought that since 2001, but it hasn’t happened yet, nor have SF made any real progress to it. They were breathing down the SDLPs necks here this time, there being I think 1.3% gap between the two, but thats no different to South Down in 2007.

    Durkan can also be guaranteed many unionist votes too. However I think if Durkan were to step down, which realistically I can’t see happening, It would be the death of the SDLP here.

  • Granni……you havent got back to me.
    But whatever thoughts you have, youll have to hold them until the middle of August..
    Im demob happy and off Slugger for a while.

  • joeCanuck

    At the risk of a 4th yellow card, they are a bunch of bastwiches.

  • Blissett

    I begin to wonder, if SF had anticipated the media storm that has arisen, perhaps they might have done differently. I’m not sure, it’s hard to know.

    But they almost certainly didn’t forsee even so much as a line in a digest in a local paper. Thats the thing, and thats why even if it did in fact cause upset and injury, it obviously wasn’t intended to.

    She’s been working there about what 5, 10 years? To bend in the face of media pressure with Ms McArdle having been in place that long is inconceiveable, not just for SF, but for any other party too.

  • Blissett,

    “I begin to wonder, if SF had anticipated the media storm that has arisen, perhaps they might have done differently. I’m not sure, it’s hard to know.”

    I wonder too and I admit that I dont know either. What is clear is that they never suffer electorally from any moral wrongdoing. I use the word “moral,” advisedly, appreciating that this would not be unethical from the point of view of many Republicans.

    This scandal is no worse than the conduct concerning Sinn Fein’s aprroval of Liam Adams as a youth adviser after he became implicated in child abuse. At least the present scandal was not inconsistent with Sinn Fein’s objectives and ideology.

    What this sort of story does is to stir up political controversy on the Unionist side. It enables Jim Allister to make a point. It embarasses Peter Robinson. Sinn Fein seem to thrive upon anything which annoys unionists. It preserves the “us and them” outlook and perpetuates the sectarian loop.

    On that basis, you could make a case, from the point of view of Sinn Fein’s political interests, to plan another similarly controversial political appointment.