Gerry Adams: It’s not about the oath

On BBC NI’s Talkback the Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams, was asked whether, if elected, Sinn Féin candidates would take their seats in Westminster if they didn’t have to take, or affirm, the Parliamentary oath of allegiance.  Answer, “No”.  There’s a Parliamentary research paper on the history of the oath and Sinn Féin’s legal challenge in 1997 here [pdf file]. The research paper contains a quote from an Irish Times report dated 5 December 1997.   Mr Adams said the question of the oath was “a bit …

Read more…

A picture worth a thousand words

As the Belfast marathon made its way through the streets of West Belfast it negotiated a white line picket of hundreds protesting over conditions faced by Republican prisoners  in British gaols. At Sevastapol Street there was this striking shot of a PSNI armoured jeep acting barrier between the iconic image of Bobby Sands, at a closed SF HQ, and those that would take to streets on behalf of current Republican prisoners. Blank

Northern Bank robbery – redux

In an under-reported move on Friday, 63 year-old George Hegarty, of Donnybrook Cottages, Douglas, Cork, pleaded guilty to money laundering at his address in February 2005, knowing or believing that the £66,000 Sterling found at his home represented the proceeds of a robbery at the Northern Bank, Belfast in December 2004, or being reckless as to whether that money was or represented such proceeds.  As yesterday’s Irish News noted Mr Hegarty was originally arrested in February 2005 at the same time as …

Read more…

Sinn Féin’s hidden crisis? *updated*

In the comments on Pete’s entry covering Padraig McShane’s resignation from Sinn Féin I noted the following list (now substantially updated) of Councillors that have resigned recently (this list is confined to those that have left during the current council terms north and south – those that left in previous terms are excluded): Dessie Ward Padraig McShane Briege Meehan Domhnall O’Cobhthaigh Gerry McHugh Bernice Swift Barry Monteith Gerard Foley Michael Tallon Poilin Ui Cathain Killian Ford Christy Burke John Dwyer …

Read more…

Another Sinn Féin councillor resigns from party

The BBC reports that Moyle District Councillor Padraig McShane has resigned from Sinn Féin. From the report In a statement on Friday, he said he was leaving Sinn Fein. But he remained tight lipped about the reason why. He said that his decision followed “certain allegations” which might be taken up by “certain hostile media elements”. “My adjudication on this matter leads me to believe that those hostile elements within the media would use any allegation to attack my party and …

Read more…

You’ve gotta fight for the right

As previously noted (SF and DUP seek to restrict right of Public Assembly) proposed legislation (not approved by Justice Minister) could seriously undermine the right to Public Assembly. This theme has been picked from two very different angles. The News Letter reports, Rev Brian McClung, minister of Newtownabbey Free Presbyterian Church has serious concerns on the impact to open air religious meetings: Freedom of peaceful assembly, which our forefathers fought and died for, instead of being a fundamental right will now become …

Read more…

“Let [Gerry Adams] take that legal action, we’ll meet him in the courts”

Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald’s clash with the Sunday Tribune’s Suzanne Breen on RTÉ’s Today with Pat Kenny [mp3 file] yesterday is notable mostly for the numerous breaches of Slugger’s ‘play the ball’ rule. For background see the Liam Adams timeline, and some questions about Gerry Adams’ declared ignorance of his brother Liam’s involvement with Sinn Féin in west Belfast. But if, as Mary Lou McDonald claims, Sinn Féin are committed to revealing the “full facts” about this, here’s another …

Read more…

An Insider’s view: Sinn Féin has become “bloated, slow and predictable…”

The excellent Sinn Fein – Keep Left blog has (see also Neil at The Beautiful Room) published a document prepared by Killian Forde and sent up to the leadership after the local elections in June last year… It was, we understand, completely ignored by the party’s leadership… Which is a shame for them, because instead of it remaining a private report, it has gone public… In essence, he argues that the party is driven not by an independent party structure, …

Read more…

“that same glorious tradition of self-indulgence”

Whilst someone is telling Brian that Sinn Féin “will in effect pull the plug on powersharing next week” – and news that the party intends to table an emergency motion in the Assembly asking the Northern Ireland First Minister to answer questions about recent allegations suggests they’re in a trouble-making mood – in the Irish News Patrick Murphy provides some useful clarity on Sinn Féin’s latest manufactured “crisis” [further background here]. “With only a few exceptions in Irish history, republicans …

Read more…

Undercover Diplomat – “addicted to negotiations”

Jonathan Powell’s surprisingly interesting TV version of his diary, the hour long The Undercover Diplomat, is still available on the BBC’s iPlayer – but not for long. But, courtesy of Typhoo, I can post a few clips of interest. The first one is Powell’s record of hearing about the Northern Bank robbery in 2004 whilst on his way to a meeting with Adams and McGuinness – and subsequent events. Pete Baker

Sinn Fein’s failure an intellectual embodiment of partition…

Anthony McIntrye, writing just after the Republic’s election, argues that partition was the key to Sinn Fein’s poor performance in last month’s election. Not least in the sheer unfamiliarity with the political economy of the south of the party leader: …he more resembled a luminary of the 1850s American Know Nothing Movement than a serious modern European political leader. His awareness of the issues in the Republic has improved little since attention was first drawn to this handicap by Paul …

Read more…

The IRA’s criminal investment programme

At the time of the Northern Bank robbery, we re-iterated over and over that this story will continue to muddy the political waters for years to come. Although the IRA has denied being involved the tide of evidence appears to moving in the opposite direction. As Pete noted yesterday, the two governments yesterday (including Justice Minister McDowell) were at pains to stress that no criminal activities were now being organised centrally by the IRA. But Conor Lally reports this morning …

Read more…

Sinn Fein and the problem of the “two captains”…

Although others have suggested that the DUP was being set up to take pressure over its self declared unwillingness to engage with the largest nationalist political party Sinn Fein, it is the latter that continues to take the political heat this summer. Some of the damage would appear self inflicted. The last two years have seen its previously near faultless PR efforts veer off on several unseemly wobbles (sound file). Not least over the IRA’s (unnecessary?) reaction to the Police …

Read more…

Sinn Fein: between the lobby and the street

The Andersonstown News editorialises on the current deadlock, picking up on the recent murder in Ballygowan to suggest that Unionists seem more intent on keeping Sinn Fein out of government. But what’s more interesting about this piece is the detailed analysis of how recent political decisions have effected the social and economic life of nationalist West Belfast, along with a hint that the professionalization of Sinn Fein politics may be causing rifts between them and their traditional power base: “If …

Read more…