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The Disappeared of convenience November 6, 2013

Posted by Oireachtas Retort in Irish Politics, The North.
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Darragh MacIntyre’s documentary is available on RTÉ Player here.

Included was one clip from An Taoiseach in the Dáil

Deputy Gerry Adams has made the charge; he should now cut out the waffle and engage in some straight talking. Perhaps some day he might tell the truth about the tragedy, the remorse and the compassion that should have been shown to Jean McConville.

Obviously TV time constraints prevent full showing of the exchange but how many would have known Enda Kenny was dodging questions about the diminishing respite care grant?

Likewise this from Eamon Gilmore

How many bodies are buried on this island because of Sinn Féin?

That was in response to Mary Lou McDonald and the question of primary care. Or more precisely that was Eamon Gilmore using the still missing sons and daughters to evade the issue of James Reilly speaking to NAMA before a site in the Minister’s constituency, owned by member of Fine Gael, was selected by criteria which remains as elusive as the truth from Gerry Adams. Phew

You would be surprised just how much Jean McConville and others feature in Dáil exchanges, particularly after a budget. What wont be surprising is how removed the routine frontbench deflection & backbench sniping is from scenes on Monday night. Like a mother awake with years in her eyes and visions of her son crying while looking into a hole.

Other people’s sleepless nights are irrelevant when your political career to date suggests you are probably incapable of them but on it goes. When not cowering behind the dead we are inundated with experts on Northern Ireland and the eager backbencher who’s interest so transparently ends wherever the ammunition stops. There was a voxpop on Drivetime earlier this year in which most people on the street didn’t know who Brendan Howlin was. One wonders if many scholars of cross boarder welfare rates could identify Simon Hamilton or Nelson McCausland. They know who Iain Duncan Smith is. Only a fool would pretend Sinn Féin and the NI Executive have anything approaching the powers or flexibility available even still to IMF captured government in Dublin.

I have beaten this drumbefore but the gushing and concern since Monday night is difficult to swallow from people whose conception every other day resembles BBC weather.

The only thing worse than being rose tinted about Sinn Féin is those who see that bit floating off the coast of Britain only as a rod to beat them. Search for ‘Northern Ireland’ on Independent.ie results in pages of Martin O’Neill, Gerry Adams and Rory Mcllroy. No news.  Fianna Fáil since inception have spent their stints in opposition dusting the republican rhetoric and no different now is Micheál Martin’s interest in the north all about cowboy and indian politics in the south.

Meanwhile coverage of Anne Cadwallader’s book was very much presented as an uncomfortable and collective problem to be dealt with as part of the process.

Those reassuring us of Gerry Adams unacceptability are the same aware of his inevitability. Careful to always frame these observations as benevolent advice in the interest of Sinn Féin. Terrified of a country where McGuinness took 243,030 first preferences. Adams was elected on the first count after our wisest sages predicted a struggle. Hard man Dermot Ahern didn’t hang around to be beaten. The same so loudly appalled at this island’s history barely blink as the names of IRA victims are kicked around for want of an excuse.

Nothing underlines the cheap dishonesty more than contrast when the peace process is actually on the agenda. Enda, Micheál and Gerry sit alone in the chamber. There is an atmosphere of sobriety and collective purpose not seen on any other issue in Irish politics and certainly not in Dáil Éireann. It even verges on respect at times. No one is under illusions about the present situation, never mind the past and yet.

The day Enda Kenny gets the truth from Gerry Adams is the day Enda Kenny needs a new excuse and if Northern Ireland only exists to beat Sinn Féin would it exist at all without them?

Comments»

1. EamonnCork - November 6, 2013

It’s a pity Kenny’s comments weren’t shown in their proper context because then the audience would have seen how Jean McConville and the other victims have become nothing more than the punchline in a political jibing match.
The documentary, following on from the Liam Adams child abuse case, will be extremely damaging to Sinn Fein electorally I feel. The lack of concern for the families of The Disappeared probably indicates that they deserve to sustain this damage.

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doctorfive - November 6, 2013

Agreed but I do wonder tbh.

Nothing has been a revelation with Sinn Féin for a very long time. I guess it keeps a cloud over them if nothing else but anyone floating beyond their base has little left to learn.

I am taking some dark pleasure in them getting hold of a few anglo tapes though, if only for who it makes uncomfortable.

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WorldbyStorm - November 6, 2013

Great post doctorfive. The use of the victims of the IRA in those contexts is deeply distasteful and has to make one question the sincerity of those making the attacks. I also would +1 your point re nothing has been a revelation for a very long time. There’s a lot to be said for a peace and reconciliation process with attendant honesty from all involved, but this sniping isn’t the way to do it, and arguably is counterproductive.

I’d be very interested to see if EC, you’re correct that SF will take a hit. Again, I think d5 may be correct that their base isn’t going to be overly concerned and almost simultaneously, well a day later, McGuinness was out and about too.

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Hong Kong Phooey - November 7, 2013

The use of the victims of the IRA in those contexts is deeply distasteful

Really, is that the most distasteful aspect of the savage abduction, torture and murder of a mother of 10 children?

That her children won’t just leg it go.

That politicians bristle somewhat when the author of this crime sits across from them in the chamber with his band of apologists.

Really?

Really?!!

That’s what keeps WbS awake at night, why everyone won’t just shut-up already about it and sport annoying good ol’ Gerry and Mary-Lou.

That you manage to maintain your usual holier-than-thou tone while engaging in such moral gymnastics, is a massive achievement (even for you, given your form on the matter).

Must be great to have such a malleable conscience.

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doctorfive - November 7, 2013

Think you’re missing the point HKP, or unintentionally being part of I dunno.

No one is down playing the abduction, torture or murder more than the very politicians who feign outrage about it to avoid accountability.

Gilmore here at ten minutes

We have all our old favourites

A Minister allegedly meeting NAMA (which is illegal),
A developer – who happens to be a FG donor
A site owned by FG member
A new primary care centre in the Minister’s constituency

What was the reply?

Dead bodies

Repeat that over and over from everything to mobility allowance to pupil teacher ratios and you get a a better idea of malleable consciences.

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Mark P - November 7, 2013

Doctor five: You are a more generous man than I when it comes to assuming good faith. That post essentially consists of an insinuation that you and WbS don’t care about TORTURE and MURDER because you pointed out the way that many of our politicians use the dead as a catch all excuse to evade any point made by SF. It’s a smear.

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doctorfive - November 7, 2013

No interest in outrage top trumps, that’s kind of the point

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Ed - November 7, 2013

Hong Kong Phoney, which party do you work for, Labour or FG? Not that it makes any difference, the song is the same.

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WorldbyStorm - November 7, 2013

What Mark P and doctorfive said, but just to add HKP, read what I said, I stated that I consider those victims of the IRA, I made it clear that it was the use of them in that particular context I found distasteful. Those people were murdered, those families were left without brothers sisters fathers mothers sons and daughters, precisely the point underlined by my use of the term victims of the IRA.

But also distasteful albeit in a lower key way because this is not public as those forums are is your effort to use their memory and the fact of those murders as a chance to take an highly personalised pop at me. And you lecture me about moral gymnastics?

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Hong Kong Phooey - November 10, 2013

Wow, you really do think you’re in the right here. Seems you’re not actually just making debating points, you really think the key problem here is that people won’t just shutup about Jean McConville already. Amazing! I doff my hat to your rock solid sense of your own holiness.
It’s like totally OK to point to Adams topping the poll, as if that obsolves him of responsibility for the McConville murder?
Similarly you’re on solid moral ground when referring to the 243k votes his odious little henchman gandered in the presidential election. Godwin’s Law prevents me from pointing out exactly how stupid and morally flawed an argument that it.
The real problem here is that the fiction that Adams insists on maintaining renders him useless to make any kind of moral points against austerity. A man so obviously devoid of morals himself cannot possibly argue for what is right.
Oh Christ, unless … unless that is, you really do believe his claims to have neither been a member nor a leader of the Provisional IRA. Could that even be possible, that anyone other than a small child could truly believe such a thing? But if that is the case, well, I pity you and your deluded sense of righteousness. I trust it’s not the case though, and you’re just suffering from some moral skew, not a complete reality distortion.

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WorldbyStorm - November 10, 2013

Hong Kong Phoeey, who are you addressing that comment to?

Who has said anything here about the key problem being that people won’t shut up about Jean McConville? Or said anything about Adams topping the poll absolving (it’s an easy word to spell right by the by)? And what mention was there about McGuinness during the Presidential election? And who has said they believe that Adams wasn’t a member of the IRA?

No one, so it appears you’re having an argument with yourself to be honest. Or to be less charitable, you’re just making this shit up.

But given that yet again you are mentioning Jean McConville in order not to berate Adams, but to berate people here suggests moral skew is something you have a fairly shaky understanding of.

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Hong Kong Phooey - November 10, 2013

Hong Kong Phoeey, who are you addressing that comment to?
At you.
You, wrote the post above, right? (Or was it a re-write of a press release from the Sinn Fein press office?)

And what mention was there about McGuinness during the Presidential election?
Do you even write the posts that appear under your byline? What election where you talking about when you wrote:
“Terrified of a country where McGuinness took 243,030 first preferences”
Was there another election in which McGuinness took 243,030 votes?

And Jesus, the spelling comment? FFS, what is this, 1st class in school? I thought you’d have grown out of that pedantic shit when your age hit double digits … /me imagines an 11 year old WbS correcting his class mates’ spelling of dialectical materialism.

And who has said they believe that Adams wasn’t a member of the IRA?
Well how can you simultaneously believe he has indeed blood on his hands, accept that he’s displayed near-sociopathic levels of self-delusion in consitently denying the obvious over many decades, and yet think that he (and his fellow travellers) can possibly lecture the rest of us on points of right and wrong?

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WorldbyStorm - November 10, 2013

No you idiot, I didn’t write the post. It clearly says doctorfive.

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WorldbyStorm - November 10, 2013

And by the way a more ludicrous misinterpretation of doctorfives OP would be hard to believe except from someone who can’t even bother toget the target of their vitriol right…

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Hong Kong Phooey - November 10, 2013

Oh right, that’s not just one of your many and varied noms de plume? 😉

(Given your propensity to throw around accusations of sock puppetry, I always assumed you were projecting …)

Seems you’ve created a regular little community here, complete with actual fellow posters, each with a more tenuous grasp of right & wrong than the last, but all mutually reinforcing their shared sense of holines. Carry on.

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Eamonncork - November 10, 2013

The fact that HKP thinks, and has just said, that the most important thing about the murder of Jean McConville is that it renders Gerry Adams unfit to criticise the government’s economic policy suggests that he’s actually the one who possesses a skewed sense of morality. The breathtaking cynicism of his interventions suggests he’s a Fine Gaeler trying to justify his party’s line to himself.
In any event are Mary Lou McDonald and Pearse Doherty also unfit to criticise austerity? Are the Taoiseach and Tanaiste allowed to decide who is entitled to criticise them? Are Sinn Fein voters not allowed to have concerns about the way the country is run because they opted not to vote for Fine Gael or Fianna Fail.
But mainly I’m gobsmacked that what Hong Kenny Buff has taken from The Disappeared is a justification of Enda Kenny’s behaviour during Dail question time. If that’s not getting the wrong end of the stick I don’t know what is.

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Hong Kong Phooey - November 10, 2013

The fact that HKP thinks, and has just said, that the most important thing about the murder of Jean McConville is that it renders Gerry Adams unfit to criticise the government’s economic policy …
No I didn’t. Read what I wrote.
As it happens, the most important thing about that murder it tore apart family of 11 in the most vicious way possible.

In any event are Mary Lou McDonald and Pearse Doherty also unfit to criticise austerity?
Yes of course they are unfit to pronounce on matters of right and wrong.
They’ve chosen to throw in their lot with a man that must know has blood on hands, and to actively promote the fiction that he spent the troubles doing crosswords. Well either that they know the vicious nature of the man that they work for, and yet continue to blithely follow him, or else they haven’t two brain cells to rub together. Either way, it renders them unfit.

Are Sinn Fein voters not allowed to have concerns about the way the country is run because they opted not to vote for Fine Gael or Fianna Fail.
Course they are … and they do. Though clearly Adams and his camp followers are not mere ordinary voters.

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doctorfive - November 10, 2013

Hong Kong Phooey,

get off the internet and work on your reading comprehension

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Eamonncork - November 10, 2013

So Kenny and Gilmore are under no obligation to respect the democratic mandate of Sinn Fein because their leader has blood on his hands.
Fair enough. So how do you stand on (A) The red carpet being rolled out by the government for Obama whose drone strikes have killed a huge amount of people, largely civilians. Even if they’re not white, they still count. (B) Fine Gael’s annual celebration of the legacy of Michael Collins, plotter of many killings during the War of Independence and Civil War and (C) This weekend’s commemoration across the water of the kind of slaughter the most dedicated terrorists would never have been able to approach. Among those being honoured are, for example, those who bombed Dresden causing a civilian death toll around a hundred times in excess of what the IRA inflicted. To very little military purpose as it turned out.
The bottom line is that distasteful and all as it is for some people to accept Sinn Fein becoming a mainstream political party is one of the byproducts of the Peace Process. Now I have a feeling that you’re one of those Fine Gael, or possibly Labour, supporters who’d prefer the Peace Process never happened so we could have maintained our unsullied polity down here. But if it hadn’t there would have been many more people killed in the North.
Having to stomach Gerry Adams being evasive about his past may not be ideal but it’s better than a continued conflict. The problem is that Fine Gael and Labour in government not only contributed nothing to peace in the North, they went very close to wrecking the Peace Process. Which makes their protestations of concern more than a little hypocritical.
And all this ‘no ordinary voter’ stuff is awful bullshit. It’s a democracy, a vote is a vote. Yours is worth as much as mine and as much as a Sinn Fein supporter. No more, no less.
Your constant harping on about ‘holiness’ is puzzling. I don’t know, maybe you missed Mass this morning.

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WorldbyStorm - November 11, 2013

Oh right, that’s not just one of your many and varied noms de plume? 😉

(Given your propensity to throw around accusations of sock puppetry, I always assumed you were projecting …)

Seems you’ve created a regular little community here, complete with actual fellow posters, each with a more tenuous grasp of right & wrong than the last, but all mutually reinforcing their shared sense of holines. Carry on.

What does that even mean HKP? What does it mean?

Holines?

Look, you’ve come on here, hurled dogs abuse at people for no reason I can discern, made risible interpretations (or misinterpretations) of what has been written (to both doctorfive and now EC, not to mention your rather pathetic constant insults of me), haven’t bothered to check even the most basic stuff about what you’re reading, and generally behaved like a fool.

Sock puppetry? Why would I even bother? What would I gain?

This line of commenting by you seems much less driven by any genuine concern for the McConville’s and rather by a wish to get the boot into us. Note how your most recent comment doesn’t actually mention them at all, it’s all about me and others on this site.

You come over as having nothing to offer but sour grapes and some childish animosity to the CLR, but why? I’ve never done a thing to you, nor has anyone else here. I don’t even know who you are, and could care less. So what’s the problem HKP?

Not feeling the love? Well don’t treat others, starting with those of us here, like mugs. Don’t attack people out of hand. Don’t act like a fool. Simple stuff really.

At the very least remember basic human courtesy. But if you can’t do that remember that WordPress has reasonably efficient IP blocking mechanisms. I haven’t forgotten.

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Mark P - November 6, 2013

Interesting to see SF taking a leaf out of Independent Newspaper’s book and deciding to keep the tapes contents secret.

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doctorfive - November 6, 2013

Anglo trial in January probably plays some part. Local elections the rest. No harm in FF and whoever sweating a bit tbh.

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Mark P - November 6, 2013

I doubt you’d bother with that kind of special pleading to justify the Sindo doing the same thing. Although to be fair to to INM, they did at least publish extracts.

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doctorfive - November 6, 2013

Well wouldn’t it suit everyone just dandy if the Anglo directors’ case collapsed in January and finger was pointed at Sinn Féin

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dmfod - November 6, 2013

Yes what the media would say about SF is clearly the most important consideration…

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WorldbyStorm - November 6, 2013

Hard not to agree with you doctorfive. SF couldn’t be certain of the provenance, authenticity of any tapes. Nor could it know the motivation of those who handed them to them or whether it was being set up for some sort of elaborate sting. No reason for them to act stupidly to satisfy others.

Just on what the media says about parties, I remember not that long ago that what the media said about the SP was the subject of affronted public meetings in city centre hotels.

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WorldbyStorm - November 6, 2013

Just to be clear that last was meant in a tongue in cheek way, but although I thought there was a bit of an over-egging of the pudding I didn’t think the SP was wrong to be exercised by the media etc.

But bringing this a bit closer, I’ve been the unwilling recipient over the years of one piece or another of supposed ‘information’ that anonymous individuals suddenly appear keen for the CLR to post up. I’ve never done so for the basic reason that usually when stuff like that is passed on its in a context of trying to use the site for some other purpose than that which it was set up for. Now the CLR is about as unimportant as they come, but SF is a fairly significant political player in this state and the North with a lot to lose and a lot of enemies going after it. There’s lots of reasons why they should be very cautious about being used by others. And I’d give precisely the same advice, and have precisely the same opinion of the SP if the circumstances were similar.

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dmfod - November 6, 2013

I doubt the authenticity of the tapes is an issue given Anglo tapes are already in the public domain and I haven’t seen that even mentioned anywhere as a possibility. The Indo notably didn’t use that as an excuse either. It’s a red herring.

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Mark P - November 6, 2013

Sinn Fein are behaving in exactly the same way as the Sindo (actually, a little worse). I don’t remember much clamour to defend the Sindo, which suggests to me that what’s going on here is special pleading. Or perhaps there were posts here defending INMs decision to hide much of their tapes from the public and I missed them? If so, I’ll still disagree, but at least I won’t be left bemused by the double standard.

The usual red herring about the SP doesn’t merit a response.

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Mark P - November 7, 2013

Or, to be a little fairer to those who may have expressed no opinion on the Sunday Independent’s decision to withhold much of the tapes at the time, are you now arguing that they were right to do so?

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WorldbyStorm - November 7, 2013

It’s great to hear the certainty expressed as to what others should or should not do or as to what or what those tapes are or are not. Or what the outcomes might be if they were published or not. As always though cui bono, and whose interest is this in.

BTW, I’ve never expressed any opinion about the Sunday Independent holding back some tapes, and frankly it’s a non-issue to me. Why should I expect any body, company or group to act simply to satisfy me or my demands where there might be – whether I like or loathe that body, company or group – legitimate, from their subjective perspective, reasons for them not to do so?

Not sure why it’s a red herring to gently point out that any party will take into consideration media attention in one form or another.

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dmfod - November 7, 2013

‘Why should I expect any body, company or group to act simply to satisfy me or my demands where there might be – whether I like or loathe that body, company or group – legitimate, from their subjective perspective, reasons for them not to do so?’ – I’m surprised to hear you apparently have no concept of public interest or transparency in relation to media disclosure. By that logic you would also see no justification for freedom of information regimes or wikileaks. And I didn’t say I ‘expected’ SF to disclose this material, I said they ‘should’. This is actually exactly the kind of shite I’d expect from them after all their giving out about secrecy and cover-ups on Anglo.

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EamonnCork - November 7, 2013

I think in fairness you can think that SF are entitled to hold fire for a short spell while pondering the significance of what they’ve got without being an enemy of the disclosure of information in the public interest and of Wikileaks.
We all want to hear the tape which proves that the government colluded with the banks. We all suspect that’s how the deal went down. But suppose that tape doesn’t exist because nobody said it out loud. Suppose no-one has it so no-one is withholding it. Suppose that SF, if they have anything at all and aren’t spoofing, just have some more middle management macho banter which for all its entertainment value doesn’t add anything to what we already know. They might have been as well off saying nothing at all. But I think right now it’s a bit previous to impute evil intent to them.

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WorldbyStorm - November 7, 2013

I’m surprised to hear you apparently have no concept of public interest or transparency in relation to media disclosure. By that logic you would also see no justification for freedom of information regimes or wikileaks. And I didn’t say I ‘expected’ SF to disclose this material, I said they ‘should’. This is actually exactly the kind of shite I’d expect from them after all their giving out about secrecy and cover-ups on Anglo.

That’s a fair old stretch there dmfod to argue that I know nothing of or am against any of those. I’m simply pointing out that there are limits to what is feasible in any given context, that there can be blow back and that everything is subject to assessment and so on. Sometimes however much one wants to disclose information it may not be possible, or as EC notes the information may be banal, or any of many different reasons may operate. I’ll bet my bottom dollar, because I’ve seen this in effect in relation to other political parties and individual politicians in the past, that there is information that’s been passed to your political party which it chose not to release for various reasons. I don’t condemn them for that or argue that they’re somehow against freedom of information etc. Why would I, it’s an absurd charge.

And in truth you’re hardly going to say you expect the best of SF, or even just the okay of SF.

Finally, is freedom of information quite such a sacrosanct virtue given as noted on this thread (link below) that it was absolutely impossible to get clarification as to basic democratic procedures within the SP itself none of which, including the party constitution, are available publicly as far as one can tell and the request for which was met with a fair degree of obfuscation (though in fairness not yourself or MarkP)?
https://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2013/07/25/weekly-worker-article-on-the-sp/

It’s entirely up to the SP to do as it sees fit, and I’ve no criticism of it for doing so, though I would definitely welcome greater openness in respect to procedures, but when others are attacked it’s fair to point out certain convergences, or divergences, in lines of arguments or approaches.

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Mark P - November 7, 2013

It’s not at all a stretch to gather that you have no concept of public interest in relation to transparency or disclosure, given your clearly stated blithe indifference as to whether SF or INM disclose to the public the secret information they claim to possess about the most important government and private sector decisions of recent Irish history. Either that or you do have such a concept but are excluding SF from it, which brings us back to that special pleading theme.

By the way, are you playing sort of game with yourself to see if you can introduce a new red herring about the SP every time you respond to a post by dmfod, regardless of the topic? Or is it something you do subconsciously?

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WorldbyStorm - November 7, 2013

To reiterate I’ve merely pointed out that there are factors that might, entirely legitimately stay the hand of any organisation or political party (and it’s worth noting that this decision and one’s view on it isn’t the totality of political activity in this state, there’s many many other battles being fought daily in many spheres which SF and others have to keep their powder dry for and expending it on this alone would be foolish and counterproductive) , I’ve noted that I myself have not put stuff out into the public sphere for good reason (and by the way you yourself have been one to actually assist in that when people commenting on something potentially make libellous comments, does that or doesn’t it fall within your enthusiasm for transparency et al).

But somehow you think that means that I’m against transparency. Pretty thin stuff.

As regards the mention of the SP and its constitution, etc, if think that’s a red herring then your concept of transparency (and the ability of organisations when not under any pressure legal or otherwise to be transparent about their processes and dealings) and mine are clearly very different things.

Re some special approach to dmfod, hardly. When you and JRG come up with similarly problematic statements I’m never shy to point it out.

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Mark P - November 7, 2013

Unconscious it is then.

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dmfod - November 7, 2013

You seem to be getting very worked up about me not assuming the best of SF, or more precisely that I don’t assume as you seem to do that what’s good for SF is good for everybody. You’re free to believe in them if you want but I don’t see why you should get so offended that not every one is so credulous – especially given the wider context of the party as basically compulsive liars.

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EamonnCork - November 7, 2013

Surely there’s a large amount of clear blue water between believing that ‘what’s good for Sinn Fein is good for everyone else’ and believing that the party ‘are basically compulsive liars.’ Isn’t the latter a bit of a sweeping statement?

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WorldbyStorm - November 7, 2013

Mark P, in my interactions with dmfod I doubt they’ve been 1/10th the length of yours and mine, and those with you hardly 1/10th the length of JRGs and mine. So what conclusion do you draw from that?

dmfod, I couldn’t care less about it being SF or whoever – and I’m just about the last person to assume that what’s good for SF is good for everyone ( a telling charge to be honest – the insinuation being that I’d have to be a partisan of theirs to give them any slack, which I suspect for most of us is not much of an argument on your part ), it’s the fact that in yours, and MarkP’s , exchanges then whoever is involved will be fitted up in the most florid language as the epitome of all that is bad to an absurd extent, SF, LP (though most of the time they absolutely deserve it), SWP, whoever.

EC refers to it as sweeping statements, but it’s not just that. You’re all too intelligent for that. It’s a tedious rhetorical device, which has a political effect no doubt and an expedient one, whereby all outside the circle are bad.

As to SF I don’t believe in them (but in truth that’s not we’re discussing here, or certainly haven’t been until now, we’re looking at one example of behaviour), but nor do I believe they are compulsive liars. To be honest it’s hard to take stuff like that at all seriously.

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EamonnCork - November 7, 2013

The public interest demands I release this damning piece of footage. Personally I’m shocked.

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dmfod - November 8, 2013

Eamonn Cork: you say “The usual standard of truth required in Irish politics is that nobody can prove 100% that you’re not telling the truth” – I say SF are compulsive liars. Can you spot the difference?

WbS: Maybe I’m taking what you say too much at face value, but when you say ‘there’s many many other battles being fought daily in many spheres which SF and others have to keep their powder dry for and expending it on this alone would be foolish and counterproductive)’, this would appear to infer that you think protecting SF’s political capital is a net positive and therefore that their political strength is in general a ‘good thing’. This doesn’t mean you’re a necessarily a ‘partisan’, but that you view them as part of a benign ‘broad left’. I don’t share that view, which is not ‘expedient’, but based on sincerely held political beliefs just as yours is .

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dilettante - November 8, 2013

Is it just me, or are the SP actually getting more hysterical these days?

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dmfod - November 8, 2013

zzzzzz

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WorldbyStorm - November 8, 2013

In essence your argument appears to boil down to the notion that because you, and presumably Mark P et al, feel so strongly about these things therefore any rhetorical flights of fancy are fine, otherwise how can one understand your continuing adherence to the idea that ‘SF are compulsive liars’?

Unfortunately from my point of view and that of at least some others that just make such contributions look almost entirely detached from reality because it goes against the experience of those who deal with or engage with or just see SF.

That’s not to say that they don’t ‘lie’, as does everyone, or that there aren’t some fairly significant evasions and one or two massive ones (as is almost inevitable for a group exiting a situation where it was a party to armed conflict). But that’s a different matter, with shades of grey rather than black and white as posited by you. Or black, definitely black.

As to the rest, the issue of my attitude to SF is an irrelevancy. The fact is they exist, they’re not going to vanish from the Irish political landscape for at least a generation, they are at this point mildly oppositional, there is no widespread (or even concentrated) class consciousness, no singular political vehicle to advance it, no evidence of any prospect of a phase shift from a situation where even today five years after the worst crisis of capitalism in our lifetime there is just shy of 60 % support for FG/FF and LP to left social democracy let alone further leftwards again.

So it’s not a question of my seeing the protection of SF’s political capital as a net positive, that’s not my problem, but it is that in a context where even the mildest left oppositional forces are so weak just as with the CAHWT (which was far from perfect and in some ways worse than SF in relation to the dilution of its message, and let’s not even start on the ULA) I’m dubious about seeing any diminution in what little exists even if I can and do have often deeply negative critiques of it.

And stuff like ‘compulsive liars’ or complaining that because they didn’t release those tapes into the public domain is evidence they’re malign just doesn’t engage in the slightest with the realities described above.

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EamonnCork - November 8, 2013

Now I have dmfod implying that my statement that the truth is not of paramount importance in Irish politics is basically the same as hers that Sinn Fein are compulsive liars. I’d expect a bit better from the SP emissaries than that kind of clumsy Richottoesque sophistry. Because I’m a naïve soul. Back in the eighties I used to believe that Militant were a bunch of people who read the same newspaper rather than an organised party. And then I believed that not admitting they were the latter was forgivable tactical sleight of hand as opposed to dishonesty.
I also believed they didn’t have any choice but to react as they did during the Mick Wallace/Clare Daly disaster, initially holding their fire to try and minimise the damage to the party and coming out with a ‘we never ask for anyone to resign’ line which had spooky echoes of the old SF ‘we condemn all violence’ number.
Which means it’s a bit of a pity to see them getting all outraged with everyone else over tapes whose contents nobody knows and which might not even exist. After all if SF are compulsive liars how do we know they have tapes in the first place?

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dmfod - November 8, 2013

Eamonn Cork, you yourself described the standard of truth in mainstream Irish politics as basically non-existent and then get all outraged when I apply the same standard to SF as part of that political establishment.

FG, FF, Labour and SF are all structurally compelled to lie, reflexively and often without even really thinking about it, because at bottom they don’t actually represent the interests of most of the people they claim to, but are fundamentally about keeping the whole system going, using varying legitimising strategies to appeal to different social bases. SF are no different in this respect but their lying tends to get exposed more obviously in the media because other sections of the elite are hostile to them.

That’s not to say 100% honesty and disclosure is the paramount consideration in all circumstances, but the reason I *personally* objected to SF not releasing the tapes was that I saw it as them ultimately protecting the system and covering their own asses when it comes down to it, like they did when they initially voted for the bank guarantee – to which this whole thing is directly related.

Anyone who suggests full public disclosure of the status of the Militant in the 1980s (when I was in primary school!) is in any way politically comparable to the truth coming about the decision to saddle us all with debt for the rest of our lives to bail out the banks needs their head examined, or is just having a pop. I also totally reject the inferences about the Clare Daly/Mick Wallace situation, which has been done to death on here before.

Maybe people are right that SF are bluffing and there’s nothing important on the tapes, but assuming that means taking for granted another level of bullshit, given they’re the ones implying that there is something there that reveals the extent of government collusion and going on about the public’s right to know – but just not yet.

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Eamonncork - November 8, 2013

‘Anyone who compares the bailout to the Militant blah de blah in the eighties needs their head examined.’ Yep. That’s probably why you shouldn’t have just done it. I’m not outraged at all, I’m engaging in a discussion. And I’m doing it, I hope, without implying that anyone who disagrees with me is some kind of a nutcase. You should try that some time.

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2. dmfod - November 6, 2013

Interesting how the spectre of ‘prejudicing’ a trial that no one expects anything but token sentences for a few scapegoats to emerge from (as happened on planning issues) has been used by first the Independent and now SF as an excuse for failing to make the much more significant political act of exposing the collusion between the banks and the state in its rawest form ASAP.

Every delay softens the impact of any eventual revelations as the establishment is all too well aware, given its strategy across the parties has been to endlessly stall the truth from coming out. There’s a reason state records are kept closed for decades before being made public.

SF is cynically playing this for its own political advantage, as in keeping mum it simultaneously proves its own reliability/’political maturity’ not to really rock the boat and at the same time gets to keep the tapes as a reserve weapon, rather than doing the right thing and sharing what it knows with the public.

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3. shea - November 7, 2013

Pure game of poker. Some are saying the shinners are bluffing and its reasonable to presume that given that few knows what they are holding. Was there some spat with pearse questioning the central bank fella during the summer on them reffering the indo leak to the gaurds and horihan coming out 1st saying they didn’t and then saying they might. Just guessing what there hand is. Dublin is a small town the central bank have the shinner tape the gaurds have it, the people who are sweating Will probably know the shinners hand by the end off the week and if they can relax or not, its either a shit bluff or a good one by them. That they have showed others their cards would it be confident.

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Bob Smiles - November 7, 2013

The bigger question is has anyone in SF even thought of asking Gerry Adams about his conduct during his brothers long ‘exile’. It may be hypocritical but do you think if SF had something like that on political opponents that they wouldn’t use it?

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WorldbyStorm - November 7, 2013

That’s rumbling away in the background for sure. Whether it has an electoral or political impact is a different question though. What’s interesting is how little that has been used politically in the South.

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irishelectionliterature - November 7, 2013

With regards to it being used here politically to attack Adams, It may well be the case that there are other TDs that have had similar issues within their family. Not all of those convicted of abuse are named in order to protect the victims.

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4. Johnny Forty Coats - November 7, 2013

The most interesting aspect of the whole affair is that Adams persists in denying any IRA involvement even though his denial has zero credibility. We know he knows that we know he was in the IRA, but still he says he wasn’t.

If he said, “Oh, yes, I was active in the IRA in the early days, but in 1971 (or 72, or 73, or 74) the leadership took a decision that I should concentrate on Sinn Féin work in order to help build up the political wing of the movement, so I ceased to be active on the military side after that, although I remained a member” – there’s a chance that a reasonably large section of his audience might actually believe him.

So why does he persist in repeating the incredible? From a purely functional point of view, surely a vaguely credible story would be preferable to an incredible one? Where is the political benefit in continually repeating the current fairytale? Surely it sends out the subliminal message “you can’t believe a thing these people say?”

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Dr. X - November 7, 2013

His persistence must be surely a matter of psychology, not politics.

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ejh - November 7, 2013

Well, if you’ve said something enough times you maybe have no choice but to stick to your story.

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5. EamonnCork - November 7, 2013

The usual standard of truth required in Irish politics is that nobody can prove 100% that you’re not telling the truth. They’re not actually required to believe you. Who believed all those far fetched stories from Bertie about his financial affairs? Probably nobody. But who could definitely prove that they weren’t true. So he was OK by the prevailing standards. For a while anyway. Similarly who believed that Labour wouldn’t sell out once they got into government, or that FF, having carried out austerity policies in government, have actually changed their spots and wouldn’t do the same thing if they got back in. Or that there wasn’t some kind of dodgy deal done to minimise the amount of money the church had to pay to the redress board? We’re always being enjoined to believe unbelievable stuff in this country. Gerry Adams is merely following in a proud tradition, ludicrous though his protestations may seem.

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Johnny Forty Coats - November 7, 2013

I can’t deny that you have a point Eamonn, but if the national gullibility glass is half full it is also half empty. Bertie’s fraught relationship with the truth did bring his term of office to a premature end. It would probably have happened a lot sooner but for a widespread assumption in the early days that his dodgy financial dealings were related to his marital problems – that’s something the Irish public would have been prepared to overlook, decent skins that we are. Labour’s collapse in the polls is directly linked to all those porkies they told before the last election. Fianna Fáil is a long way from the level of support it once took for granted. As for the church, have you been to Mass lately? The pews are a lot emptier these days than they were even ten years ago.

I accept that it may be too late for Adams to change his story, but it isn’t too late for him to step down from the leadership. What is the Sinn Féin equivalent of “men in grey suits”? Men in black berets maybe? It’s time they paid Gerry a visit.

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6. Séamus - November 7, 2013

if Northern Ireland only exists to beat Sinn Féin would it exist at all without them?

Ahem.

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7. Omar Sarhan - November 8, 2013

“Obviously TV time constraints prevent full showing of the exchange but how many would have known Enda Kenny was dodging questions about the diminishing respite care grant?”

YOU LOST ME HERE

This is what people with an interest in politics in Ireland always do, twin completely unrelated issue in order to push a specific agenda, it’s cheap, tacky and pointless. Overall a completely childish way to conduct politics and engage in discourse.
Rewrite the article in a more coherent way and I, and no doubt allot of others will give you an audience.

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doctorfive - November 8, 2013

Are you suggesting people with an interest in politics should stay on topic and avoid cheap use of unrelated issues?

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8. On (Not) Bringing Up The Bodies | Cunning Hired Knaves - November 13, 2013

[…] for the IRA’s Disappeared is not a matter of principle but of political opportunity. This, as a recent Cedar Lounge Revolution post showed, means that the Disappeared can be brought up as a means of wriggling out of mildly awkward […]

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9. Gerry Adams interviewed by PSNI re Jean McConville - Page 40 - April 30, 2014

[…] […]

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