If you missed it, I had a good conversation with Sinn Fein’s Senator Padraig MacLochlainn on Matt Cooper’s The Last Word on Today FM a few weeks ago about the mega bonfires and other forms of tribal egregiousness:
In it, Padraig talked about the leadership he had personally given over attacks on Orange Halls in Donegal.
But as I pointed out at the time, this was fine in Donegal where he’s actually doing the job of representing his electorate (and the whole electorate, as all elected reps are obliged by law), but in Northern Ireland, his party’s actions mean there’s no such leadership.
So there were condemnations by Sinn Fein spokesmen, over two attacks in Kilkeel and Cloughmills (just take a look at the steel shutters on the door and windows to get a sense of the general conditions Orange Halls have to endure in parts of NI).
The Senator called the perpetrators of such attacks “bigots and racists”, and I would not disagree with him. But without government action, the politics of condemnation is a cheap (literally, it costs nothing, and is worth little more than nothing) alternative.
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