“After instigating a vicious campaign of vilification against Mairia Cahill over the course of the last week, it is of course welcome that Gerry Adams has belatedly acknowledged that his organisation did carry out internal investigations of sexual abuse allegations. However, it is deeply disappointing that even as he abandons a key claim he fails to do the right thing by Ms Cahill.
“He and his colleagues accept that Mairia was abused, but continue to refuse her testimony when it impacts on their organisation. Is it still Deputy Adams’ position, for example, that when he met her after she was interrogated by the IRA, that they did not discuss her abuse or the IRA investigation? That is unacceptable, unsustainable and further victimises someone who has been put through hell at the hands of Sinn Féin and the IRA over the course of a decade and more.
“It is also deeply disappointing that Deputy Adams has attempted to use his statement on this matter to rewrite the history of the provisional IRA and those who suffered at their hands. Deputy Adams muses at length about the work of the IRA shooting and maiming petty criminals, drug dealers etc. They were, he tells us, reluctant vigilantes, forced into their role variously by the British, the RUC, the criminal fraternity and demanding constituents.
“This self-serving analysis stretches credibility to breaking point, but is also completely irrelevant in the context of the accusations being made against Deputy Adams and his colleagues. The abuse perpetrated against Mairia Cahill, the internal investigation which subjected her to further trauma and the cover-up which then followed, all took place after the IRA claimed to have abandoned violence and embarked on a completely peaceful strategy.
“The Sinn Féin Leader needs to stop spinning and start facing up to his responsibilities to Mairia Cahill and those other victims that were failed by his organisation.”
It’s worth noting too from this quarter that Martin’s Wolf Tone speech at Bodenstown on Sunday was a pretty full on political attack on Sinn Fein:
Sinn Fein’s effort to promote the idea of an unbroken chain from earlier revolutionaries and themselves is sinister and dangerous. What is to stop the Real IRA and others from claiming the same justification for their equally illegitimate actions?
Over a decade and a half after the Good Friday Agreement the Provisional movement is still refusing to act in accordance with basic democratic accountability.
Few things are as striking as the Provisional’s approach is the enforced discipline in everything. There is no diversity, there is no dissent. No matter how appalling the action there is a vow of omerta taken even by its youngest members.
Justifying the movement is always the number one priority and it still seeks to crush and marginalise anyone who breaks their silence. If you sign up for their movement the first thing required is not that you support their policies it is that you justify their history and stay quiet about their darker elements.
Some of the revelations of this week have been shocking. What is even more shocking has been the disinterest of the so-called ‘modern’ faces in Sinn Fein to finding the truth. They are happy to collude in an approach which again seeks to undermine the victim.
This is not the place to go into the issues in depth. The incredible personal bravery which it takes to speak out deserves all of our respect and support. However it is important to make one point.
The measure of a republic is how it treats its weakest citizens and the measure of true republicans is how they put the interests of citizens ahead of those of party and faction. By any measure, Sinn Fein is failing even the most basic standards of republicanism. [Emphasis added]
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