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Speaking of tweets… December 4, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Interesting that in the furore over Brian Stanley’s tweet(s) this has been somewhat sidelined. But the manner in which Social Democrat TD Holly Cairns was described on twitter by a member of the Irish Greyhound Board was both telling and depressing. As indeed was the fact an FG TD ‘liked’ the original twitter from the IGB member. But beyond that the issue she referenced in the first place is one where she has done a real service in shining a light. That is the greyhound industry and state funding of same:

Beginning the debate today, Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue said both industries “make a significant and valuable contribution to our economy”.

“It is estimated that the thoroughbred industry has an annual economic impact of €1.9 billion, with direct and indirect employment of 29,000 people, while the greyhound sector provides an estimated 12,000 people with economic benefit,” the minister said. Successive governments have acknowledged the importance of these industries and have supported them through legislation and policy initiatives. The support provided by public funds through investment in these industries has enabled Ireland to develop a world class reputation for excellence in horse racing, greyhound racing and breeding.

Speaking in response to the minister, Cairns said there was “extraordinary public support” for an end to state funding of the industry, 

“The industry receives extraordinary sums of money from the public purse while breeding 6,000 dogs annually to kill them. The vast majority of the general public cannot understand why government continues to blatantly ignore common sense on this issue,” she said.   

The figure of 6,000 comes from RTÉ here. Disturbing.

Comments»

1. alanmyler - December 4, 2020

I’m happy to hear that Brian Stanley has deleted his Twitter account. If only everyone else would too. I’ve no good impressions of Twitter, it seems to be a medium designed to suck the worst from people. If anyone here has a convincing defence of Twitter, in particular or in general, I’m genuinely open to hearing your thoughts on that.

About the greyhounds, yes 6000 is a big number. I’m a dog person myself, always fond of them and since moving out to Meath I’ve been privileged to have lived with our first dog for 15 years and after grieving his loss for a few years we’ve since had a second dog as part of our family. I love him not quite like one of my children but not far off. But having said all of that, by way of context, I’ll return to a point I made here earlier in the year when we were discussing farming or food production or something along those lines, which is that the 6000 deaths of those greyhounds is completely overshadowed by the elephant in the room which is the industrial scale slaughter of animals for human food. Let’s stop killing the greyhounds for sure, but let’s stop killing the chickens and pigs and sheep and cattle too.

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EWI - December 4, 2020

I’m happy to hear that Brian Stanley has deleted his Twitter account. If only everyone else would too. I’ve no good impressions of Twitter, it seems to be a medium designed to suck the worst from people. If anyone here has a convincing defence of Twitter, in particular or in general, I’m genuinely open to hearing your thoughts on that.

The only two good words I have about Twitter are that it’s the only way to make social contacts with useful in some spheres (even less use FB), and that it bypasses the gatekeepers in the corporate and State media.

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EWI - December 4, 2020

*with useful activists and experts

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alanmyler - December 4, 2020

I get that it’s a way to connect, but what is the quality of the connection? I used Twitter very briefly and found that the signal to noise ratio was such that I wasn’t getting anything useful or informative from the engagement. I used FB for a decade and found that meaningful connections could be formed over time, but I’d put that down to the different format of the dialog on FB compared to Twitter. Do you find yourself feeling good after a Twitter engagement, or does it bring out mainly negative emotions?

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EWI - December 4, 2020

Do you find yourself feeling good after a Twitter engagement, or does it bring out mainly negative emotions?

I’ve used it as a social network for a variety of academic, professional and activist spheres of interest to me, and for which no alternatives exist. And it really is great as a way also of keeping tabs on the state of play in those areas.

But it’s toxic in many other ways (between centrist dads, the nazis, the anonymous libertarian edgelords, and certain openly misandrist feminist lesbians) and doesn’t usually encourage bringing out the best in people.

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Aonrud ⚘ - December 4, 2020

I find Twitter genuinely useful for news – especially with the poor state of Irish media. Though I have an account mostly for reading and following rather than engaging.

I often hear Twitter described as toxic, and it’s not without problems, but you can avoid most of that nonsense. Just don’t follow Trump or whoever, and you won’t have to look at that; if someone is obnoxious, you don’t have to engage. (You can crane your neck when you drive past an accident, and be disturbed for the day, or you can look away.)

No doubt if you follow all the right-wing journalists and FG etc. it’s a different world, but if you avoid the outrage-seeking then Left Twitter can be grand 🙂

Of course, I will recommend everyone move to a proper de-centralised system! Off Twitter and move to the Fediverse

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alanmyler - December 4, 2020

I take your point about avoiding the car crash voyeurism but surely that’s an intrinsic part of the platform and one is swimming against the tide in trying to avoid it? I gave up FB two months ago as I found it impossible, despite various approaches both active and passive, to avoid the negativity that permeates the corner of my FB bubble, and I’ve no reason to think my bubble is unrepresentative of all the billions of other bubbles. Their engagement model is built on triggering the brain to go down the rabbit holes, to bring out hostility, and ultimately it just became too difficult to attempt to work around the design of the system. I do miss the news feed aspect of it, and do snoop for a few minutes each day to see what I’m missing that isn’t in the mainstream media, but most of the time I’m happy to be missing it. To echo something from Orwell’s 1984, it seems to me now that FB and other social media has taken the ritual of the collective daily two minutes of hate and individualised it and extended it into a constant daily outrage where the topic of that outrage becomes a personal choice and where the topic is of lesser importance than the outrage itself. On balance I’m just not convinced at this stage that those social media forms are a nett positive. I’d exclude the CLR from that of course, that’s a very different form of interaction altogether.

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NFB - December 4, 2020

I’d echo what people have said and say that Twitter is useful from a news perspective if you do the work in pruning useful accounts. I also find it really valuable for up-to-date info during election counts and the like. Apart from that, I use to directly scroll through very specific accounts of columnists and comedians I like, and nothing else.

My blog auto-generates links to new posts for Twitter, but I stopped actively writing on it years ago. It got too toxic from that perspective, and to liable to cause what I believe they call “doomscrolling” nowadays. As a medium to actually talk to people I consider it beyond useless, and actively dangerous.

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Pasionario - December 4, 2020

Melvin Kranzberg: “Technology is neither good, nor bad; nor is it neutral”.

Social media have done much to draw attention to police brutality.

Cops have always shot unarmed black people in the US. There’s been no statistically significant increase. The numbers are bad, and they always have been bad.

The difference now is the appearance of camera phones and social media, which allow victims and bystanders to document individual atrocities.

So that’s progress of a kind.

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yourcousin - December 4, 2020

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yourcousin - December 4, 2020

*gets my soap box out*

All animal breeding should be ethical up to the point of regulation if need be (Germany requires licensing and testing to have a hunting dog, America does not). That should be common sense.

The behavior displayed towards Miss Cairns is deplorable and should be called out. Unfortunately as she noted it is all to common of a thing.

Now let’s get back to beating the dead horse. Conservation and biodiversity should reign supreme. I think that animal production has a place there. That being, said I’ve got one cervid and two pronghorn in my freezer that were procured in a more direct field to table manner along with a handful of birds.

Just to highlight, actual production farming of vegetables and fruit is essentially an ecological desert. I’m thinking of California here which produces the lion’s share of fruits and vegetables here on the US.

As always, ethics and husbandry are key to any endeavors involving animals, but we would do well to maintain a balance.

*puts soap box away*

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2. sonofstan - December 4, 2020

The tweet from greyhound guy was appalling and even more telling was Cairns’ response where she said she wasn’t that surprised because she gets this kind of stuff all the time.

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CL - December 4, 2020

There are 18 TDs from Cork city and county. Cairns is the only woman.

” “As the only female TD in all of Cork City and County, I feel the need to address the sexism that we are all so used to,” she said.

“I needed to put it on the Dáil record that a board member of a State organisation, in 2020, spoke about an elected woman in that way.”
https://www.newstalk.com/news/cairns-everyday-sexism-greyhound-debate-1115478

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sonofstan - December 4, 2020

Yep. I’ve noted it before, but the further you get from Dublin and the further from the left you go, the harder it is to find women TDs. FFG are much worse than even the Tories in terms of gender equality.

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alanmyler - December 4, 2020

Meath (East) isn’t that far from Dublin of course but our local FG TD here is female and she’s doing a great job on the potholes (speaking as a weekend cyclist), and the local Greenway project too by all accounts. Apparently she’s also the Minister for Justice but that’s by the by compared to the local payoff of having her at the cabinet table. I’m all in favour of having more female politicians, and while I’m sure there are probably good reasons why people object to the 50/50 campaign I think that there’s a strong argument for a period of positive discrimination to push things along in that regard. I’d prefer if all of those additional female public representatives were of the Left of course.

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sonofstan - December 4, 2020

I don’t think it’s accidental that the Finnish government, a coalition of 5 parties, all led by women, is tabling legislation to introduce a 6 hour working day as standard.

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alanmyler - December 4, 2020

A 6-hour workday would be very welcome indeed. And/or a 4-day week. I suppose the fact that such legislation is being proposed by women also raises the issue of domestic work and the lack of balance generally in terms of males doing their rightful share of that work.

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sonofstan - December 4, 2020

Yep.
I wonder if the control over the working day that some people have wrested away from management during COVID will have longer lasting outcomes?

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alanmyler - December 4, 2020

I think it will have longer lasting outcomes but as ever under capitalism the process is one of class struggle and capitalism isn’t going to give in easily where it doesn’t suit it. Witness the post there about Microsoft developing software which allows management to more closely monitor remote working and the increased automation and metricisation of much office work generally. Not to say that we as workers have to just roll over and accept all of that without a fight but office workers generally don’t seem to have the organisational tools and structures and prespectives that would help them fight that battle. I’m struggling to remember the last office worker strike for example.

The other side of this situation that I think tends to get overlooked, although I see it up close in my own experience in work where I’ve been into the office in Dublin a few tmes in the past couple of weeks, is that a good number of my male middle-aged co-workers are more than happy to be in the normal office environment precisely in order to escape the home situation. Those tendencies were visible pre-covid too of course, where some individuals immersed themselves in so-called workaholism, but it’s more pointed now that people are being actively discouraged by management from coming into the office and yet they make the effort to come in despite that. Some of it of course is just to get a bit of normality, to be around people, to have a space to work in that is quiet and conducive to performing the work, and in fairness some of the work just can’t be done from home because of the equipment required for testing the electronics, it’s not all just PC based, but there’s definitely an element of the male role to be out there doing the bread winning and the female role to mop up everything else. And that really needs to change.

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EWIA - December 4, 2020

Yep.
I wonder if the control over the working day that some people have wrested away from management during COVID will have longer lasting outcomes?

Both that and the four-day-week depend on the big two unions standing fast, which is not encouraging.

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baalthor - December 4, 2020

These are the stats (women TDs)

West is best, Munster and west Dublin are the worst.

Connacht: 7/19 (37%)
Dublin S.Side: 5/15 (33%)
Ulster: 3/10 (30%)
Dublin N.Side: 5/17 (29%)
RoLeinster: 11/43 (26%)
IE 36/160 (23%)
RoMunster: 3/25 (12%)
Dublin W.Side: 1/13 (8%)
Cork: 1/18 (6%)

The contiguous area of Cork, Tipperary and Limerick has only one female TD (H Kearns as mentioned).

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CL - December 4, 2020

” As the Republican Party top brass continues to fuel conspiracy theories, stoke divisions, and cause general mayhem in Michigan, the state’s Democratic women politicians have emerged as models of competence, strength, and leadership. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, while weathering vitriolic and even violent attacks from the far-right extremists in their state, have earned national admiration…..
Michigan may indeed be a nexus of ugly right-wing extremism, unrest, racism, and conspiracy theories. But it is also a nexus of high-profile female leadership providing the country with a much-needed sense of stability in turbulent times, as well as forward-looking leaders and inspiration for future structural change in the United States system of government.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/michigan-gretchen-whitmer-rashida-tlaib-feminist-b1748208.html

“Detailed in their paper, Leading the Fight Against the Pandemic: Does Gender ‘Really’ Matter?, data confirms that COVID-19 outcomes are better in female-led countries.”
https://www.forbes.com/sites/avivahwittenbergcox/2020/09/08/women-leaders-competence-on-covid-the-proof/?sh=6b5afd4d6fb6

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3. NFB - December 4, 2020

Given how many times it has bitten them in the not-too-distant past – Cronin, that Councillor – you’d think SF would mandate all elected reps to go back through their social media feeds and delete stuff they will end up deleting later anyway.

I didn’t pay too much attention to the British Army tweet, a little tactless from a TD but I’ve heard far worse from SF reps, and worse still from others. But this 2017 one about Varadkar is bizarre, especially Stanley’s attempt to frame it as “I was actually supporting gay rights”. You don’t put the phrase “Do what you like in bed” before “but don’t look for a pay rise in the morning” when talking about a gay man if you’re making a positive statement on gay rights. Read another way it’s “Just because you’re gay doesn’t mean you should get a pay rise”, as if that’s the only reason Varadkar could get one. It’s a messy, childish looking scrawl you’d expect a far-right troll.

But discussing tweets from years ago is tiresome. No Finucane inquiry, that’s what should be generating more headlines right now.

I did like Cairns response to the blatantly sexist abuse. I doubt Mr IGB will have the courage to take her up on the offer, as its much safer to fire off insults from the keyboard.

My father was involved in raising greyhounds when he was younger than I am now, and he has some amazing stories from that time. He loved dogs and never countenanced any project or partnership that involved abuse, though I’m sure he was witness to some. Back then it was the wild west when it came to regulation, and doesn’t seem like much has changed up to recently. Recent revelations about the industry broke his heart a little bit and led him to stop going to races, though he only went a few times a year now anyway.

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4. irishelectionliterature - December 4, 2020

I’ve no problem with Greyhound racing and would have gone to Harolds Cross regularly before it closed. However as an industry it does seem to have an enormous influence politically. The problem is that it’s current model is totally uneconomic and requires massive public funds to run.
It along with horse racing are the recipients of money from the betting levy. No other sports get anything from it. Personally I’d prefer if The League of Ireland got that money!

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5. pettyburgess - December 5, 2020

Speaking of tweets, this is quite an interesting insight into Sinn Fein and its attitude towards public dissent from members. You can take different attitudes on the subject of how monolithic a party should strive to be in public, but if you were to put parties on a spectrum, this is certainly closer to the kind of attitude taken by “democratic centralist” groups than that of most mainstream parties:

https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/arid-40149383.html

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CL - December 5, 2020

” Ex-IRA members still play a crucial role in the movement, both in public and in private. It gave rise to an organizational culture that was tightly centralized, where the leadership tended to make big decisions on policy and then go out and sell that new policy to the membership, rather than throwing the debate open. For better or worse, Sinn Féin is by far the largest party in Western Europe that still practices a kind of democratic centralism.”- Daniel Finn
https://www.jacobinmag.com/2020/07/ireland-sinn-fein-ira-one-mans-terrorist

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WorldbyStorm - December 5, 2020

It’s quite an over reaction

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WorldbyStorm - December 5, 2020

On the part of SF

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roddy - December 5, 2020

I suppose you all know what’s coming here.Does anybody in their right mind think that Garland and co would have let a party official (I think she’s an ogra officer) bad mouth the party or its elected members on a public forum without sanction?Similarly I dont think the SP or PBP would either.I know nothing of the events but would hazard a guess someone was telling her in a friendly manner that she was doing the blueshirts work for them.

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WorldbyStorm - December 5, 2020

I’ve a couple of thoughts on that. First up let me defend Brian Stanley. Got to know him a bit some years back and he’s a very very decent guy and not in the slightest bit homophobic, quite the opposite and a very interesting history in SF having been there long time through thick and thin (and would have remembered ROB et al and had a lot of time for him even if disagreeing with strategy). Secondly I think he’s being piled on very unfairly in all this particularly in relation to the first tweet which while unnecessary was clearly off the cuff, was retracted etc (and let’s not even get into the actual history and why republicans of many stripes might remember other events that would contextualise in part attitudes towards those involved that day in the late 70s). However, for there is a however, while I know his other tweet wasn’t meant in a homophobic way – and while badly put articulates something many on the left feel which is that social liberalism while good and necessary isn’t the entirety of things and that right parties that adopt it aren’t the right vehicles to deal with that entirety – that’s not necessarily the way others will read this, particularly those who are younger or for obvious and completely understandable reasons will find a huge identification with various struggles. And here’s where it all gets particularly messy because their view and yours (and I guess to an extent mine) aren’t the same and while you and I in a party would follow the line to a greater rather than a lesser extent they don’t feel the same. Moreover they live their political lives a lot more openly (and I know, I know, we’re discussing this on social media but not publicly as such) online than we do and feel that’s a closer part of their personality. And I kind of feel that rather than damage control in the old ways some other approach would have been better in terms of dampening down matters – not least something from Brian Stanley himself on the second tweet which didn’t just say his record stood for itself but pointed to the specific record and perhaps explained how the wording was very clumsy and for that he was sorry that it came across less clearly than it should have. It is a different world, even if that is a more ephemeral and fast moving one on line. And even though there’s no end of hypocrisy involved in some of those who are now complaining the most particularly about the first tweet that means more adept footwork is needed in relation to the second.

BTW, said it before, I’d get every public reps phone and drag it away from them and give them to others to keep watch before they tweet or comment or whatever. Or better still just don’t allow them to full stop.

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roddy - December 5, 2020

Saw a tweet from a GAA clubman .His club would be 10 miles from me and he was hinting what he would do(big talk!) if anybody came to his door to call him into line about his tweets.Thing is the club he represents has a reputation for being total mad men both on and off the field.If any member of that club went online to ridicule that club or another member ,the back lash would be off the scale and would in my opinion be much worse than “advice”.I could’nt even be bothered answering his tweet as life is too short. By the way I would agree with you that public reps should be barred from the twitter cesspit.It is a minefield.Finally who is ROB.?

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GearóidGaillimh - December 5, 2020

It does seem partly like a clash of cultures between extremely online younger people who’ve grown up with Twitter as the norm (closer to their personality as WBS puts it) and older party structures which aren’t always sure how to respond to that culture.

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WorldbyStorm - December 5, 2020

roddy, Ruairi OB. Agree completely minefield.

GG, I completely agree. And it’s very difficult for people who’ve fought for LGBTQ campaigns to feel happy in the context of comments/tweets that while not intended as derisive may seem to be. It is generational, and attitudinal. There’s also the pace of stuff. People understandably see red, and make decisions faster than perhaps a slower paced media would see them doing. I’ve a lot of sympathy for everyone caught up in this, Stanley, the reps, etc. None for the IT etc who are egging this on.

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GearóidGaillimh - December 5, 2020

Speaking about politicians and social media, Paul Murphy tweeting about the Spart and CYM rumours in the last week must have confused the poll corrs following his account. 🙂

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pettyburgess - December 5, 2020

Roddy, the point I was making was exactly that this kind of micro managing of dissent at a very low level in the party ranks (a student society officer) is what you’d expect from organisations on the SP or WP model than from a much larger, much more mainstream, party with short term aspirations to power (and already in power of a sort in the North). Particularly when the dissent involved was quite mild.

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CL - December 5, 2020

Brian Stanley committed an offence that dares not speak its name;
He conflated the killing of British troops in Ireland by the IRA in 1920 with the killing of British troops in Ireland by the IRA in 1979.

Pushing him under the bus,-however gently-should lead to calls for Mary Lou McDonald to disown the following statement:
” SINN Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has said the IRA’s campaign was “justified” and there is “every chance” she would have taken up arms during the Troubles.”
https://www.irishnews.com/news/northernirelandnews/2020/05/25/news/ira-campaign-was-justified-says-sinn-fe-in-s-mary-lou-mcdonald-1950719/

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CL - December 6, 2020

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” William Faulkner.”

“The battleground may be policy and politics – but it is also history….
The claim that the Provisional IRA was the heir to the guerrilla army that fought the War of Independence is even more fiercely contested. Micheál Martin, who has more than any other politician engaged in the history wars with Sinn Féin, has said the idea of an “unbroken chain” from Patrick Pearse to Gerry Adams is a “dangerous and corrosive myth”….
History is important, because disputes over history are almost always about the present….
Seeking to link Sinn Féin and the IRA to the revolutionary period is not about the War of Independence; it is about the Provisional IRA’s campaign, and an effort to retrospectively seek legitimacy for it….

Stanley’s tweet wasn’t about Kilmichael; it was about the Troubles. …
In 1985 Sinn Féin’s director of publicity and IRA volunteer Danny Morrison published a pamphlet, The Good Old IRA, attacking the “hypocrisy”, “ignorance” and cynicism” of those who drew a false distinction between the IRA who fought the War of Independence and the Provisionals.
Speaking to The Irish Times this week, Morrison was just as sharp, condemning the “hypocrisy and double standards” of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil. The War of Independence and the Provisionals’ campaign, he says, had “exactly the same objective – to get British rule out of Ireland”.
However, Fine Gael’s former minister of justice and foreign affairs, Charlie Flanagan, a long-time IRA and Sinn Féin critic, believes the linkage is a bid to “to launder the IRA campaign”….
The decade of commemorations approaches more contested territory.The wars over history – and the battle for the future – will only grow hotter.”- Pat Leahy
https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/the-history-wars-a-new-battleground-in-irish-politics-1.4427538

The battle over history isn’t new as Leahy suggests.

The revisionist historians apology for the British empire in Ireland can be traced back to the 1930s, – at least
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revisionism_(Ireland)

” The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living.” Karl Marx

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CL - December 7, 2020

“Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said Brian Stanley would not be stood down as PAC chair…..

Ms McDonald said the initial tweet conflating the Kilmichael and Narrow Water ambushes depends on “your political vantage point”, and she added the soldiers concerned were members of the Parachute Regiment: “The same regiment that went into Derry [on Bloody Sunday] and Ballymurphy and caused absolute murder and mayhem.”
“The problem with the tweet was tone, and tone, when we’re talking about the past, isn’t a trivial matter,” she said.

“I have made no public comment on the Brian Stanley tweets but listening to Mary Lou McDonald this morning equivocating & justifying glorification of violence, latent homophobia & internal party intimidation is truly nauseating. This is not the kind of change Ireland needs, ever.” -Varadkar.

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CL - December 7, 2020
CL - December 10, 2020

” A Sinn Féin TD has defended a controversial tweet by Public Accounts Committee chairman Brian Stanley and says the party must stop apologising for the IRA….
The Tipperary TD said the party should not apologise for what he deemed their ‘core beliefs’.
‘It is my core belief that we have been occupied for 800 years in this country and at all stages down through our history there has been conflict.’…..
Speaking on Tipp FM yesterday, Mr Browne said that people needed to learn their history as he defended Mr Stanley’s ambush remarks.

‘It’s history and people need to learn their history. Brian [Stanley] apologised, not for the context of the text but the way people took it up,’ Mr Browne said.’

Mr Browne said that acts of violence up until the 1980s were part of a conflict against an occupying force. ‘We had an occupied country – a foreign force there,’ he said.
Mr Browne also told Tipp FM that the ‘aim of conflict’ in any circumstance is ‘you strike before they strike you’.
https://extra.ie/2020/12/10/news/irish-news/martin-browne-sinn-fein

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6. sonofstan - December 5, 2020

A further index of how unwelcoming Irish politics is to women: Helen McEntee has announced that she is pregnant and it turns out that TDs are not entitled to maternity leave. Apparently other expectant mothers (who?) have had to take sick leave.

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7. Alibaba - December 8, 2020

The minute I read Stanley’s tweet that referenced Varadkar’s sexual orientation, I knew this was a no-no, even supposing it was unintentionally offensive. Not only did Stanley refuse to express any regret for that tweet, he went on to worsen the problem by offering an explanation which showed fuzzy logic at best and disdainful dismissal of concerns at worst (“nothing to apologise for”).

It should go without saying that Stanley’s record and integrity must be defended, but there’s more at stake than this. The overarching issue is that the establishment is fixated on targeting Sinn Féin about gotcha moments. Stanley’s comments were checked after the most recent controversial tweet and two substandard tweets came to notice, including the 2017 one and the one at the start of the pandemic. Most disquiets, of course, are false, although many pointed responses will result about similar comments in the future, no doubt.

I do not hold with vetting or banning public reps’ comments on twitter and won’t countenance silence when opportunities to express dissenting sentiments arise, unlike some of you, I think. Public dissent is tricky. Yet it should not be a question of reps censoring personal political beliefs but rather urging them to have an awareness of when one is using social media in controversial circumstances they should be noting the necessity of being considerate and showing occasional sensitivity. 

Open and frank dissent should follow in a parallel way inside SF party ranks. Enabling this to happen from the bottom up is not exactly SF’s best mode of operation, don’t you think? Knocking on doors of members and demanding tweet deletions will be seen for what it is: an intimidatory act by those who want to control critical narrative. Making a phone call or email (or having a one-to-one chat when appropriate) to suggest a member might go more lightly and advising of internal complaint mechanisms would be better done. No wonder some young members have decided to resign. And the media whooped it up with malicious intent. Pity.

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8. roddy - December 8, 2020

The “knocking on doors ” in this case was carried out by a neighbour and close friend of both O’Mahony and her parents.She refused to name him on account of this and demanded FG retract their “intimidation by heavies” story.You wont find this in media accounts or also reports on how FG themselves have had members descend on homes in large numbers and ordered people to resign.

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Fergal - December 8, 2020

I think Ali has it when he says the media will be/are itching for SF gotcha moments, and these will be amplified and gain traction, meanwhile Leo’s leaking is forgotten about…
Remember how anti-semitism was flung at Corbyn, and is still being flung…
Meanwhile, back home at the capitalist ranch it’s business as usual

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Alibaba - December 9, 2020

Thanks roddy for clarifying the O’Mahony incident and as you rightly say some details are omitted in media accounts. Still, I share O’Mahony’s objection to being told to delete a critical tweet. I get the impression you don’t think so. Moreover, for a cumann member to come knocking on the door of a young SF adult and telling their parents to tell that person to stop using critical tweets is completely out of order. Eoin O’Broin effectively said so when he called this “a mistake” on TV last Sunday.

For the record, I think Stanley should retain his place on PAC. I hold freedom of expression to be a defining element, best-practised by public reps in thoughtful ways online and ideally critical commentary is best done inside party ranks in controversial circumstances. To impose a restriction on this right is wrong in principle and to become guilty of self-inflicted damage to the party and much to the delight of Fine Gael and all the snakes in the grass ‘itching’ to have a go at every opportunity.

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9. WorldbyStorm - December 8, 2020

I felt the same Alibaba. Just not easy to explain and as the saying goes when you’re explaining you’re losing. To me re twitter it’s more a case of so many people make inarticulate or incoherent stuff on it and other platforms perhaps it’s better to just stop and use means of communication that allow for a bit of nuance. I don’t want to censor anyone, it’s more I want them to say what they actually mean in suhc a way that it cannot be twisted.

roddy, in more normal times I’d agree that that would be innocuous and you’re right how she herself said she wasn’t intimidated. But she clearly felt something was a problem in how it was dealt with to the extent she felt alienated from the party. And I wonder if the fact it’s a pandemic just makes the turning up at the door seem a little less innocuous in addtion to whch it can be framed in a very negative way. As Alibaba says a quiet word on the phone would probably have been better (and easier!).

The point is that SF has to be better prepared for these lines of attack from the media and FF/FG etc. That’s the thing I find most odd, it’s as if all this happened in a vacuum where such over the top criticisms came out of the blue. But we all know that FF/FG and some others spend a good amount of time fashioning such political attacks on SF. Got to up the game in that respect. I’m sure lessons will be learned.

BTW, I would not like to see BS step down from the PAC.

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roddy - December 8, 2020

I have long held the view that SF’s publicity department is underperforming.If FF/FG are going to keep at this ,then there’s enough stuff kicking about to fight fire with fire.For a long time up here,they’ve followed a “no negative campaigning line” which has allowed the SDLP a free hand to attack them without repercussions.In my own area alone the actions of SDLP members and their families in every day life would be in sharp contrast to the public image.SF never highlight incontrovertible facts which would deliver that party a body blow and expose their hypocrisy big time.Martin McGuinness bent over backwards to keep the peace process progressing and overstretched himself in “reaching out” at times. From the first power sharing govt in 98 the SDLP tried to undermine him from within govt and are still doing it with Michele O’Neill.Martin refused to hit back and unfortunately Michele is carrying on the same policy.Personally I think it’s time to take the gloves off North and South.

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WorldbyStorm - December 9, 2020

I can understand that but I can also understand why some would be cautious about such an approach. The gains of the past ten years are very real, but there are structural problems north and particularly south. The current government is likely cemented in for a couple of years, perhaps for a full three and a half more years. That’s a lot of time for things to change. I don’t know what the answer is – agree that SF can’t just hunker down throughout, but… necessary to keep the lines of communication within the party better to ensure people don’t get alienated and to not have any hostages to fortune from the likes of twitter – which means that explanations better be a lot more prepared for stuff which may not scan particularly well at this remove.

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10. gypsybhoy69 - December 14, 2020

As we’ve been discussing the evolution of our involvement into politics in earlier threads, I can’t help but think, at a bit of remove from the day to day politics, that what SF/FG are involved in, as being somewhat similar to what became known as MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) in the 70’s/80’s.

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