You can buy the 1981 hunger strikers on ebay now
- €250 for a job lot of ten, with Frank Stagg
and Michael Gaughan thrown in as sweeteners.
Don't worry about where your cash is going. It's
heading straight into Sinn Fein's coffers to finance
the latest strategic advance towards the Republic
in next year's Dail elections. Any money left
over from that will then, no doubt, be channelled
into the party's forthcoming 'Snuggle up to a
Browsing through the local freesheet newspaper
here in west Dublin, I noticed an advert for the
banner carried by the Shinners on their recent
commemorative march past the GPO.
There they were, the faces of the 12 hunger strikers,
almost all of them not even out of their 20s when
they endured deaths better imagined than described.
Below their images was the phrase 'Fuair siad
bás ar son saoirse na hÉireann'.
They certainly did.
Accompanying the picture was an article, clearly
sent in by SF, explaining that the banner was
now up for sale on ebay, with opening bids of
€250 and all proceeds going to Cllr Felix
Gallagher's 2007 election fund.
The hunger strikers, men who suffered greatly,
both before and during their fasts, have been
stripped of their humanity and turned into mere
commodities to be sold to the highest bidder.
What next for Sinn Fein? Plastic statuettes of
each of the hunger strikers with 'Made in China'
stamped on the bottom?
None of us will ever know whether the hunger strikers
would have supported what Sinn Fein has turned
into. We do know, however, that several of the
men's families have publicly distanced themselves
from that party.
Three of the men were not even Provisionals. Yet
SF shows no compunction about continuing to use
the images of them to raise money for elections.
There is, I suppose, a certain cynical logic to
it. After all, if, as former blanketman Richard
O'Rawe claims, the lives of the Long Kesh men
were casually sacrificed in order to win votes
for Sinn Fein, it is only to be expected that
the same party will have no qualms about exploiting
their deaths for financial gain.