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Gerry Adams is very smart, very articulate, very in tune with public opinion, he's a very consummate politician. I hope that he recognises and tells his friends that they have lost all public support here; that the time has come to disband the IRA, that we should not have a private army - Senator John McCain

Anthony McIntyre • 22 May 2005

The news that Rita O'Hare had been refused a visa waiver to travel to the United States came on Thursday in a concerned e-mail distributed by a Noraid activist. O'Hare, once a firebrand socialist, has long since given up on that and now cuts her cloth to fit the conservative tastes of the US political establishment. Whatever it was, radicalism did not figure amongst the O'Hare attributes most winced at by the Bush administration.

As Sinn Fein's Washington representative O'Hare has been a frequent visitor to the States where one of her tasks has been to journey throughout the country persuading Sinn Fein supporters that because party policy looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is in fact something other than a duck. She was due to travel with Martin McGuinness who, for now, has no difficulty in meeting US government conditions. He complained:

We are concerned about the refusal to grant a visa waiver to Rita O'Hare, someone who has made a huge contribution to the peace process, who has travelled extensively throughout the United States over many years now, promoting the peace process, and has built up many vitally important contacts … it is worth noting that since January Ms O'Hare has applied for and received two visa waivers to visit the US in March and April.

Despite this, McGuinness put a brave face on:

We have been told by the State Department that this doesn't affect their relationship with Sinn Fein, they are citing this issue of a change of venue, so it appears to be a minor matter … I don't have any doubt that I will get the usually very warm reception that I receive when I go there.

His Noraid colleagues were not so sure, claiming that, 'we know that this was a punitive action.' If so it is hardly blemishing what is becoming an established pattern in the US approach to dealings with Sinn Fein. McGuinness has been around too many corners not to know this. It was upon him that it fell to attempt the kiss and make up trip to the US in the wake of the party president having been effectively snubbed during the St Patrick's Day festivities. Symptomatic of the sentiment coursing through the veins of the US political class was a New York Sun Staff Editorial:

Apart from the ludicrously credulous William Flynn, chairman of Mutual of America, nearly everyone has blamed Sinn Fein/IRA for the robbery ... It is intolerable that the commander in chief of the world's only superpower should be humiliated in this way by a group of two-bit provincial hoods masquerading as freedom fighters.

Little has emerged since that would suggest a thaw. Last week saw Mitchell Reiss visit Ireland. While here he made it clear that the biggest obstacle to the successful consummation of the peace process is the continued existence of the IRA. As the dust kicked up by the recent local and Westminster elections settles down and there has still been no sign of a response from Gerry Adams to Gerry Adams, in relation to Gerry Adams having called on Gerry Adams to embrace purely democratic means, the denial of the visa application may be a sign of growing impatience on the part of the US administration. In calling it as he did the US point man for the peace process was leaving little room for doubt that all the smoke and mirrors do nothing to disguise what has rapidly become an immutable verity of Northern politics: the April 6 statement by leader of Sinn Fein to the leader of the IRA is little other than Gerry Adams telling Gerry Adams that the alternative to one group that Gerry Adams leads is another group that Gerry Adams leads. The smoke signals - minus the mirrors - coming out of Camp Bush is direct: 'piss or get off the pot. The US has bigger fish than your endless Irish peace process to fry.'

Dress it up as it may, Sinn Fein must be smarting from the embarrassment of having its Washington rep denied access to the country. It portends poorly for the future. Who next will be denied the visa waiver? The party leader himself, perhaps. It is the third substantive US shot across the Sinn Fein bows. When the party leadership announced in early March that it had opted to cancel fundraising events in the States that month, in the eyes of some observers it only did so because it had been made clear to it that any application to raise funds would be turned down. Later in the month the Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams was given a Washington welcome worthy of a flea in a sleeping bag.

The Sinn Fein leadership is no longer being asked to complete its task of killing off republicanism and replacing it with constitutional nationalism. It is being ordered to.



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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

22 May 2005

Other Articles From This Issue:

How Those In Power Respond
Anthony McIntyre

Seeking Clarity — And Safety
Justice for Jimmy Campaign

Behind the Betrayal
Philip Ferguson

Self-Deception and Distortion
Tomas Maguire

Civil Case/Witch Hunt
N. Corey

No Entry
Anthony McIntyre

The Moral Reason Never to Tell
Dr John Coulter

Venezuela: Beginning to Borrow Some Revolution
Tomas Gorman

Dangerous Drugs
Sean Fleming

Rebel City
Liam O Ruairc

15 May 2005

'The SDLP Hasn't Gone Away, You Know'
Tom Luby

Facing Fire
Anthony McIntyre

Venezuela: Arrival
Tomas Gorman

Fred A. Wilcox

Support IRELAND and PALESTINE on June 4th
Mags Glennon



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