The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Flying the Flag

Dolours Price • 24 June 2004

A few comments around the recent Elections.

I am not a member of Sinn Fein and never have been but I have been watching this party closely over the last number of years. I watched the transformation of their candidate for Europe, Mary Lou McDonald, from card carrying Fianna Fail member to elected Sinn Fein Representative in a matter of, what, two or three years?

The Sinn Fein motto for all elections is "An Ireland of Equals".

Over the past twenty years I have been aware of the spade-work being done by
dedicated Sinn Fein members at times when that party was not flavour of the month, or any other month. I wonder why these experienced and articulate party members did not "make the grade" when it came to nomination time? Are nominations still the domain of the Cumann or is selection handed down by the "Leadership"? We have been told it is a "leadership led movement" (so was Stalin's Russia!).

Is it perhaps that the accents of the longterm member are more Donamede than Dun Laoirghe, that as politicised working-class people they did not, despite their obvious ability, have an opportunity to get a third level education?

Mary Lou has a fine political career ahead of her be that with Sinn Fein or Fianna Fail. I feel she will jump ship whenever it suits Mary Lou. What of the people who worked so tirelessly to put her on the career ladder; they will still be shinning up lampposts, manning the clinics, working for the party. I do not support Sinn Fein, but I give credit where it is due. It seems a pity that the "leadership" is more opportunistic than it is loyal to its members.

Can they call out for "An Ireland of Equals" from a Party that seems not to be all that "Equal"?

Briefly but importantly, Gerry Adams dismissed the disgraceful degradation of the National Flag at count centres throughout the State and up in the North as, "a few people getting carried away." People do not normally store a tri-colour in their inside pocket to be whipped out like a nose-rag to be waved in the faces of other Irishmen, be they political opponents or tribal opponents. The picture of the victorious Mary Lou Mc Donald clutching a tri-colour nailed to a bit of stick was a shame on her and on Sinn Fein.

Gerry Adams grew up in a traditional Republican home like my own. He would have learnt there the respect due to The Flag. For too long Sinn Fein have abused the National Flag and by implication claim it as theirs and theirs alone. Is that perhaps why they paraded down O'Connell street on Easter Sunday to the tune of "Take it down from the Mast Irish Traitors"? The words go on, "it can never belong to Free-Staters for you brought on it nothing but shame...." Ironic to me for several reasons, insulting to others for the obvious reason. The National Flag also flies prominently on the Falls Road in Belfast adorned with Celtic emblems, a defacement again, flags put there by Ogra Sinn Fein, a group of youths slightly reminicent of another group of boyscouts from the 1940s Germany. Take those down from the mast and save some of your dignity, Sinn Fein.





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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

30 June 2004

Other Articles From This Issue:

Flying the Flag
Dolours Price

The Police Process
Anthony McIntyre

Former IRA Prisoner Left "High and Dry"
Sean Mc Aughey

James Connolly and the Reconquest of Ireland
Liam O Ruairc

Venezuela 2004: Nicaragua's Contra War Revisited
Toni Solo

25 June 2004

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?
Fred A. Wilcox

Irish American Relations
John Kennedy

Challenging Collusion
Anthony McIntyre

Why Can't We?
Patrick Lismore

An Ego Trip for the Middle Class
Mick Hall

Palestinian Misery in Perspective
Paulo de Rooij


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