The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Sinn Féin @ the Bush Party

John Meehan • March 17, 2003

In these early days of the 21st century, the rulers of the planet's only super-power have extraordinary powers - the rest of us celebrate Ireland's National Holiday, St Patrick's Day, on March 17, but USA President George Bush insisted on moving the date forward to March 13 for the annual White House "Shamrock Summit" - the date was changed to suit the timetable for war against Iraq.

The public relations presentations of this event merit some analysis.

A strange propaganda skirmish unfolded - Sinn Féin spokespersons, and media outlets close to Unionist parties (for example the Daily Telegraph) referred to speculation that George Bush would refuse to meet the Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams. The IRA, it was pointed out, still "had not gone away". Known republican activists - Niall Connolly, Martin McAuley, and Jim Monaghan - were on trial in Bogota, Colombia, under suspicion of aiding the anti-USA FARC guerrillas.

But no Bush spokesperson went on the record to confirm any of this speculation. On the contrary, as reported by the BBC's Mark Devenport :

"The President's point man, Ambassador Richard Haass has denied this, saying the report had no standing." (BBC Website, March 7 2003)

Sinn Féin USA spokesperson Rita O'Hare was very blunt. Under the headline "Begorrah" the Chicago Sun Times reported :

"It ain't true."The story is hogwash," said Rita O'Hare, an Adams spokesman. "I have the invitation in my hands and Bush officials have denied the report." (March 7 2003).

The purpose of Sinn Féin's presence at the Bush party was to save the "peace process" - that is, to get back into government with the reactionary Unionist politician David Trimble - who is a rabid supporter of Bush's war drive -

The Ulster Unionist Party leader told the Irish Times that :

"Ideally, we would like Washington to deliver a blunt, unequivocal message to Irish republicans. If Sinn Féin and the IRA fail this final test, then the US should reconsider its approach to them."

"Mr Trimble said the US was about to fight a "just war against a fascist and a dictator in the Middle East", a war Sinn Féin opposed."The US is right to pursue Saddam and remove him from power, but Sinn Féin side with the Iraqi tyrant and against America. Why? Perhaps republicans see Saddam as not such a bad guy. Maybe they see him as someone who is misunderstood? Maybe they believe he didn't murder, torture and terrorise opponents and ethnic minorities in his own country?"
(March 11 2003)

Isn't there something radically askew here? Why would any party which positions itself on the left - like Sinn Féin - be seeking to be in government with a reactionary politician like Trimble?

This puts the spotlight on one of the fundamental flaws in the Irish peace process.

For some time Sinn Féin has been trying to run with the left wing hare and hunt with the right wing hounds.

The party therefore found itself in an embarrassing position when opponents of the imminent war with Iraq called for a boycott of the Bush shamrockery in the letter below:

"In view of the Bush Administration's expressed intention to start an unjustified, illegal and inhumane war against Iraq, we the undersigned call on the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, other Irish politicians and Government representatives, not to meet with President Bush in the United States over the coming St. Patrick's Day events."


Paudge Connolly TD
John Gormley TD
Tony Gregory TD
Joe Higgins TD
Finian McGrath TD
Patricia McKenna MEP
Catherine Almond, Solicitor
Ivana Bacik, Law School, Trinity College Dublin
Moirin Moynihan, Solicitor
Peter Mullan, Solicitor
Conor O Briain, Solicitor
Dara Robinson, Solicitor
Ailbhe Smyth, WERRC, UCD
Irish Anti-War Movement

Joe Higgins brought this up in the Dáil The Socialist Party deputy suggested that if Ahern insisted on going ahead with this revolting meeting, he should present Bush with red fuchsia rather than shamrock - bright red to symbolise the colour of the blood that will be shed by innocent Iraqis in the imminent imperialist war.

Gerry Adams arrived late for the group photo with George Bush. When The Sinn Féin president finally made it to the shamrock ceremony, George Bush said "Where is Gerry Adams, I want to shake his hand".

Henry McDonald, Irish correspondent of The Observer claimed Irish "peaceniks" were hypocrites; why did they not "ask the Sinn Fein leader to refuse Bush's invitation to Washington?" (March 16).

The answer Henry is that they did : unless you think the phrase "Bertie Ahern and other Irish politicians" somehow, magically, does not include Gerry Adams. McDonald favours the Peace Process in Ireland - and backs the Bush/Blair War Drive on Iraq - and therefore praises the Sinn Féin leader for meeting Bush at the White House.

The example set by the "peaceniks" derided by McDonald can encourage people at other levels to campaign for a boycott of all government/embassy representatives from the USA and British governments - cancelling any invitations to public events, picketing and heckling them, making life unbearable for the warmongers.




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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crackpot' than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that seem important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.
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Index: Current Articles

17 March 2003


Other Articles From This Issue:


Death of an IRA Volunteer
Anthony McIntyre


Sinn Fein @ The Bush Party
John Meehan


Not In Our Name, Bertie and Gerry

Brendan Young


Republicans' Big Risk
Paul Fitzsimmons


The Good Friday Agreement? What About the St. Patrick's Day War?
Eamonn McCann


St. Patrick's Day Message
Jimmy Sands

Only Another Eleven Palestinians
Margaret Quinn


13 March 2003

Anthony McIntyre

One For All & All For One
Paul Dunne


Brave New World, Indeed.

Tommy Gorman


Ireland: Direct Rule Continues
Paul Mallon




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