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The Best Woman To Succeed

Revolutionary Unionist journalist and commentator Dr John Coulter maintains Sinn Fein's Southern MEP Mary Lou McDonald would be the best person to take over as party president when Gerry Adams retires from the post.


Dr John Coulter • 19 February 2006

Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald is the best person to replace King Gerry as the Shinners' top cat.

In spite of vehement denials from the Shinners' spin doctors, Unionists are equally adamant the Sinn Fein President is preparing to step aside in a Tony Blair-style departure later this year.

Is this just wishful thinking on the part of Unionists, or did someone let something slip during one of the special 'lines of communication' meetings between the Shinners and Unionist representatives?

Election spin or just stirring the pot in advance of the 26 March deadline it may be, but the reality is – like Ian Paisley in the DUP – Gerry cannot go on forever.

Unlike Blair, who is facing an ever-growing campaign to push him out of office, Adams has the luxury of deciding when and how he'll quit the top republican post – and that's as President of Sinn Fein, not Chief of Staff of the Provos' Army Council is case there's any misunderstanding!

His best tactic would be to quit on the Twelfth. By that time, a power-sharing Executive would be established at Stormont, and the Shinners would have probably more than doubled their present five-seat tally in the Dail elections.

Adams' legacy would be to have restored Sinn Fein as a movement back to its iconic all-Ireland status of 1918 when it dominated the republican vote across the island.

He could then bog off on a fund-raising lecture tour of Irish America, charging ten thousand dollars a plate for the privilege of Irish stew and listening to Gerry's jottings.

Chuck in a Nobel Peace Prize like John Hume and Davy Trimble, and the former republican internee is perfectly placed for either the Irish Presidency or a top seat in the United Nations.

Resigning on the Twelfth would certainly be one way of throwing cold water on the Orange celebrations – but it still would not solve the key question; who is the best woman to succeed him?

Yes, I did stress woman, as it seems the 'cool trend' in Northern politics is to replace male leaders with women. Could it be the auld maxim working its way into political life – behind every good man lies a better woman?

Sure Dawn Purvis replaced the late Davy Ervine as PUP boss, and Anne Dickson succeeded former Northern Premier Brian Faulkner in 1976 as chief of the short-lived pro-power sharing Unionist Party of Northern Ireland.

And then there was the Coven, sorry, that should be the Women's Coalition under Queen Monica – and don't forget Alliance's Eileen Bell was the Assembly's highly competent outgoing Speaker.

Unionists may have discretely warmed to Adams because of his decision to attend Ervine's funeral in the heartland of loyalist east Belfast last month.

But the future of the peace process and a power-sharing Executive could rest on which female the Shinners select to 'do the business' with Unionism.

While there are four selections on the political menu, the favoured dish is still Mary Lou. For Unionists, she's a so-called 'squeaky clean' – no links to Provo death squads.

And Unionists did not fail to notice her role in heavily supporting the pro-PSNI stance of the SF leadership in the run-up to the historic ard fheis.

Its also likely she'll take a Dail seat in Bertie Ahern's Dublin constituency, so Unionists will have a Shinner TD they can talk business with.

As for the other runners, there's South Down MLA Caitriona Ruane; Northern MEP Bairbre de Brun, and Fermanagh/South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew. All of them are non runners in Unionists eyes.

And especially with Ruane, her close connections with the Colombia Three campaign would probably spark a UUP-style walkout of the Northern Executive and the collapse of the Stormont Assembly. Ruane would be a real red flag to the Unionist bull.

As for de Brun, or Babs as she is unaffectionately dubbed in Unionism, she cooked her goose when she started plastering the Irish language on every document imaginable during her stint as Northern health minister on Trimble's watch as First Minister.

There was always the suspicion in Unionist minds she allegedly abused her ministerial role to send a larger dose of health services into republican West Belfast compared to the other 17 constituencies, and especially Protestant areas of the North.

For Unionists, Gildernew is the lightweight of the Shinner coven. Given dissident republican support in the border regions against SF's PSNI stance, it is only a matter of time before an agreed Unionist candidate wins back the Westminster seat.

Perhaps, its only a matter of months before Unionists sing the lines from that famous Country and Western ballad – Oh Mary Lou, I'm so in love with you!

Then again, could the DUP hit back by setting up their leadership team of political Bond girls – Iris Robinson and Diane Dodds? As for the UUP's sexy dream team, well, let's just leave that debate for another day!







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Index: Current Articles

22 February 2007

Other Articles From This Issue:

Litter & Glass
Anthony McIntyre

Not Worth the Paper Its Written On
John Kennedy

Ballot Box Pressure
Mick Hall

Commission of Truth Needed, Says O Hara
Peggy O Hara

RSF Election News
Press Release

Help Sinn Feign
Brian Mór

British Policing Must Never Be Acceptable in Ireland
Francis Mackey

The Next Step
Dr John Coulter

Conclusions from the Ard Fheis
Brian Halpin

McAleese Should be Criticised
David Adams

The Best Woman to Succeed
Dr John Coulter

Fred A. Wilcox

The Critical History of (Irish pop) Noise
Seaghán Ó Murchú

No Clean Hands
Anthony McIntyre

13 February 2007

Compromise, Compromise, Compromise
Helen McClafferty

Martin Galvin

The Heart of Collusion
John Kennedy

Bad Tactics
Anthony McIntyre

The Clothes Make the Man
Mick Hall

Follow the Leader
John Kennedy

Dry Your Eyes
John Kennedy

The Foreman
Anthony McIntyre

Mc Cain and Northern Ireland
Fr. Sean Mc Manus

Rumours of Retirement
Dr John Coulter

Liam O Ruairc

If MI5 rules, What was the 30-year war all about?
John Kelly

PRUC Service
Brian Mór

Nationalists Divided Over Sinn Fein Support for British Policing
Paul Mallon

Remember the B Specials?
Dr John Coulter

The Boyne Harriers
Brian Mór

Coming Full Circle
Seaghán Ó Murchú

The Need for an Anti-Imperialist United Front
Philip Ferguson



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