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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Dropping the Last Veil

Tommy Gorman • 23 November 2004

I never cease to marvel at the arrogance of Sinn Fein spokespersons and apologists.

Despite an ocean of evidence to the contrary spokespeople and apologists still attempt to portray themselves and their movement as radical republican. Bairbre De Brun’s recent attack on John Kelly fits into this particular mode. She takes John to task for daring to question her party’s attitudes, actions as opposed to stated aims and rhetoric.

I’m not certain where, in the political spectrum, John Kelly sits but it is a bit rich for Ms De Brun to brand anyone as right wing.

The former Stormont Health Minister, now a Sinn Fein representative in the European Parliament, oversaw the cutback in health provision in different parts of the North and with great zeal embraced neo-liberal the socio-economic policies, Private Finance Initiatives, and Public Private Partnerships within her department. It is significant, given the treatment to which he was later subjected, that John Kelly, alone amongst a host of erstwhile revolutionaries, was the only one to oppose the use of these Thatcherite policies.

Sinn Fein has long since given up on any real attempts to convince anyone, outside of the party faithful and wilful blind, of its socialist or revolutionary bona fides. Its relationships with Coca Cola, other moguls of corporate US and neo-cons on Capital Hill is, it would seem, a figment of the collective and fertile imagination of a group of “gainsayers, armchair generals and enemies of the peace process”.

As to Baibre de Brun’s claim that Sinn Fein are for ‘an Ireland of Equals within a Europe of Equals’, could they make a start by offering some equality to those within the ranks still relying upon the Provo £20-a-week ‘subsity’?

Some of their politicians, now supping at the Stormont trough, are claiming travelling expenses that are about three times the average household income in West Belfast.

In the early days our struggle was depicted as an odyssey of sorts and that, along the way we would come to and pass various milestones and road signs keeping us on track and giving us a clear vision of progress made toward the socialist republic.

  • An end to partition
  • No return to Stormont Rule
  • The disbandment of the RUC
  • A declaration of intent by the British Government to withdraw from Ireland

Through their efforts Sinn Fein have managed, in collaboration with other right wing partners, to negotiate

  • The copper-fastening of partition
  • A resurrected Stormont
  • A renamed RUC
  • A declaration of their intent to stay by the British Government.

In their eagerness to once again shore up a coalition of the unwilling to administer bad British rule in Ireland Sinn Fein has allowed IRA equipment and the integrity of the centuries old struggle to be mere bargaining chips in their unseemly rush to gain political respectability and acceptability in the eyes US / British imperialism and unreconstructed Empire Loyalists.

There is no precedent in the history of warfare of any army unilaterally dispensing with its armoury prior to having their aims achieved or at least being in a position that will lead inexorably to an equitable resolution. By their actions Sinn Fein have retrospectively criminalized the struggle for national and social emancipation. It is one thing to call for an end to conflict, as I and other ‘dissidents’ did long before any ceasefire but it is something else entirely to jettison all of those tents on which we went to war and at the same time criminalize the weaponry that we used.

Soon we shall witness the final demise of the IRA as Sinn Fein drops the last veil in its dance of deceit.

The biggest winner in this political swap-shop is the British Government as their authority has literally doubled in that they now have a GREEN card to use along side the ORANGE card in their efforts to control the working class from both communities.

As another republican once asked, “If I bumped into defeat at the corner of Sevastepol Street some dark evening just how would it differ from what Sinn Fein’s ‘winning team’ proudly proclaim as a great step forward?”





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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

23 November 2004

Other Articles From This Issue:

Dropping the Last Veil
Tommy Gorman

No Place for Silence
Anthony McIntyre

The Vacuum

The Unpopular Front: James T. Farrell then, Margaret Hassan now
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Reflection on an Election
Patrick Hurley

New Work on Perry Anderson
Liam O Ruairc

I, a Collaborator
Dorothy Naor

The Murder of Margaret Hassan
Ghali Hassan

The Orange Order and the KKK
Richard Wallace

19 November 2004

Another Fine Mess
Mick Hall

Dr. John Coulter

Address to QUB Vigil for Fallujah
Brian Kelly

Hearts and Minds
Fred A Wilcox

Smell the Coffee, not the Latte
Kristi Kline

Arresting Vanunu While Burying Arafat
Mary La Rosa

Weary of those stubborn indigenous resistance stains? Pretend they're not there...
Toni Solo

The Village
Anthony McIntyre



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