Friday, March 24, 2006

The Sad News from Ireland

Commentary by Martin Kelly
October 25, 2004

It’s not often one reads something in a three-day-old newspaper that causes one to do a double-take, but it happened on October 20. Within recent weeks, I had started buying the Irish Sunday Independent newspaper for my Irish fiancée, and its edition of October 17 contained a news report of massive significance that, according to my own basic investigations, has caused a storm in Ireland, has been carried on a couple of weblogs, was mentioned on the local BBC news in Northern Ireland and has otherwise been ignored by every newspaper in the United kingdom and the United States.

In an answer to an allegedly planted question Dermot Ahern, the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Ireland, said that his Fianna Fail party was ‘willing to form a coalition government with Sinn Fein’, the political wing of the IRA.

If this is true then Ireland will become the first independent English-speaking nation outside South Africa to have terrorists in its government.

Just where are the neocons when you need them?

A government that includes the ghoulish disciples of Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness is something that the Irish people most certainly do not want. According to the Sunday Independent’s own poll, 60% of the population is against any kind of role for Sinn Fein/IRA in Ireland’s government. 91% do not want any role for it while the IRA continues in its obdurate refusal to disarm. Two Fianna Fail members of the Irish parliament, The Dail, have threatened to resign over the issue.

Immediately the Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, the smoothest of smooth operators, began soft-soaping the people by saying that ‘There has to be an end to paramilitarism’, and that ‘there can be no place for private armies’. But the blistering pens of Jody Corcoran and Emma Blain reported that the real rationale for this announcement was pressure from the majority hard line Northern Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of the Rev. Ian Paisley, as effectively a gesture of goodwill from Fianna Fail, without which the DUP would not be prepared to enter into a coalition government with Sinn Fein in the North. Sauce for the goose must also be sauce for the gander.

If all this is true, then the people of Ireland have been sold down the river, because it has all the markings of a Great Anglo-Irish Carve-Up. Firstly, somebody says something (Dermot Ahern). The purpose of saying it is not to enable debate to take place, but instead to let the people know that a decision has been taken. Other people either deny it outright (Bertie Ahern) or say nothing (Ian Paisley, Tony Blair). The matter will be a hot issue in the press for a week or two, and will then die down. In the background, all interested actors (politicians and civil servants) will be working like Trojans to ensure that the original declaration is implemented.

That is the way that government in the UK and Ireland works. The pattern has been repeated on a number of occasions from continued expansion of the EU to expansion in the social liberal agenda. For 50 years Ian Paisley has used the sectarian slogan ‘No Surrender!’ as a battle-cry. Is he now prepared to surrender because the prospect of having real power in Northern Ireland is dangling before his eyes, and he wants it before he dies? Who knows?

Sinn Fein formed part of the last coalition government in Northern Ireland, which was suspended two years ago because of their continued failure to respect the workings of a democratic society. They were alleged to have used spies against other representatives. Martin McGuinness, a genuine terrorist, was the Minister of Education, and his last act before the suspension of the Assembly and the Executive was to announce without consultation the abolition of Northern Ireland’s outstanding system of selective education, an announcement that the Blair government has backed up! If this is what they would do in the school, then God only knows what they would do when faced with the challenge of running a police service in another country, a country which is extremely proud of its young democracy.

Where is the Prime Minister? Silent and absent. Where is The President? Out chasing the Irish vote. It seems they’re only interested in fighting terrorists who don’t have cousins in Glasgow or Boston.

If what Dermot Ahern has said is true, it is not just a sad day for Ireland; it is a sad day for democrats everywhere, because it means that if you kill enough people, you get taken seriously. The gangs of thugs and hoods in the interim governments of Afghanistan and Iraq will not do anything to better the lot of the people but will merely use those countries as vehicles for their own enrichment and aggrandisement.

Adams and McGuinness would do the same. Shame on you all.