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With many thanks to: Republican Network for Unity for the original story 

Sinn Féin needs to become radical again

The areas with the highest unemployment and the worst health issues are republican heartlands. That equation is a poor reflection on those who have had the votes and the power for enough years to change those statistics, at least partially 

SCRIPTURE tells us to “let the dead bury their dead”. Sinn Féin used to call not just for a United Ireland but for a socialist republic.

Universal Credit designed by the Tories delivered to you by Shame Féin and the DUP


A policy, if my memory serves me right, most often articulated by Gerry Adams himself. For good reasons, the socialist part of that designation dissipated as the peace agreement became more prominent. With Sinn Féin in government for several years and now the main opposition party in the south, there is a strong argument for resurrecting a dollop of that effective social policy which Sinn Féin claimed was its forté. The claim, unfortunately, sits uncomfortably with the continuing revelation that their most loyal supporters are amongst the poorest and most deprived (and that’s a fact). The areas with the highest unemployment and the worst health issues are republican heartlands. That equation is a poor reflection on those who have had the votes and the power for enough years to change those statistics, at least partially.

The Northern Ireland Audit Office (NIAO) report on addiction services, published this week, is only the latest exposé of these realities. The report concentrates on the inadequacies of the department of health and the health trusts. It outlines that the available services are insufficient and that the outcomes of the services are mostly unmeasured. In fact, the data coming from the service is so uncertain that the department cannot publish it and therefore there is little clarity as to whether the services being offered are doing any good. But the most depressing revelation is that the death rate from alcohol and drug problems is four and a half times greater in deprived areas and that hospital admissions for alcohol and drugs is four times greater than in more advantaged areas. The drugs in question are a mixture of illegal and medically prescribed, but alcohol remains the greatest killer.

Gerry Adams (TD) ex-President of Sinn Féin wearing his Poppy lapel honouring the British army who executed his comrades


Put addiction into the middle of unemployment and poor health and the result is a cocktail of problems that would test the commitment and the ingenuity of any political system. But the difficulty and complexity is surely a reason to be more incisive and clinical in response. Following through with the addiction metaphor, recovery only begins when the problem is honestly admitted. Shame Féin shows little inclination to admit that too many of the constituencies that they represent, especially in Belfast and Derry, continue to be the most deprived on this island. Deprived communities need employment and jobs, not just improvements in welfare benefits. Scotland, interestingly, is having a close look at universal basic income as a means of giving people dignity as well as a decent income. It is a scheme whereby each citizen receives a guaranteed minimum income, employed or not.

Child poverty, Universal Basic Income,

Deprived communities also need and desire law, order and discipline even more than more privileged communities. It is what provides stability and security. They need political leaders who not only challenge policies that sustain inequality and poverty but also challenge the people themselves to rise above apathy and lethargy. They need leaders who believe in their constituents enough to believe they do not have to be at the top of every negative measurement on employment and health. Sinn Féin are rightly credited with being hard workers. Their local constituency offices are a hive of activity, responding to enquiries and requests from constituents. But business is no substitute for effectiveness. The party has been long enough now to be examined and marked on outcomes. Has the standard of living in working class nationalist/republican areas improved? The answer, unfortunately, is a resounding no. Those are the areas that bore the brunt of the years of the Troubles.  They should not be expected to also bear the disappointment of the peace. Sinn Féin need to become much more radical in examining their performance.

With many thanks to: The Irish News and Denis Bradley for his Opinion piece which was published in The Irish News on Friday July 3rd 2020 for the original posting.

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Bobby Storey both led us and misled us in equal measure… for that I will neither gloat nor grieve

Divisive figure: Bobby Storey
Was a determined IRA volunteer who would later turn his back on armed struggle and those whom he had served alongside.

RIP Bobby. It was one of the first things I posted online shortly after former blanketmen from Derry and Belfast contacted me within minutes of each other last Sunday with the news that the senior IRA volunteer Bobby Storey had died.

Rest In Peace, in spite of my many differences with him, was a simple, but direct, disavowal of the gloating that would surely emerge from some republican quarters following his death.

People are free to remember him in whatever way they wish. Already, there are enough bidding him devil-speed to the fires of some non-existent hell.


With many thanks to the: Belfast Telegraph and Anthony McIntyre for the original story 




Shame Féin now fully supporting a military police force in the occupied six counties of Ulster

Sinn Féin will attend future PSNI passing out ceremonies once recommendations to ‘demilitarise’ the process are implemented, the Irish News can reveal.

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill stood shoulder to shoulder on Tuesday with DUP leader Arlene Foster and Chief Constable Simon Byrne at the launch of the PSNI’s latest recruitment drive.

It comes amid continued concerns over the PSNI’s ability to attract enough Catholic officers.

Ms O’Neill said her attendance at the recruitment launch “speaks volumes” about her party’s position.

It is understood that Sinn Féin have also agreed in principle to attend future PSNI passing out ceremonies once recommendations in the Police College Review, carried out by Alan Gibson of Police Scotland, are implemented.

The review found the current regime at the college had “elements more associated with a pseudo-militaristic style”.

Absolutely disgraceful

Sinn Féin expressed concerns that it was off putting to new recruits as “a relic of a police force of the past, more associated with the old RUC than a modern police service”.

The Chief Constable said yesterday: “We don’t underestimate the significant step forward Sinn Féin has taken in endorsing this campaign”.

Arlene Foster welcomed the recruitment drive saying; “We need to have a police service that reflects Northern Ireland’s society”.

With many thanks to the: Troops Out Movement for the original posting 

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Sinn Féin has a partitionsist policy that could become a serious problem at Stormont

The party has given an election pledge in the Republic to abolish local property tax, the south’s equivalent of the domestic regional rate.

Sinn Féin’s Conor Murphy the newly appointed Finance Minister at Stormont

Rates are the executive’s only significant tax-raising power, they will have to be raised to meet New Decade, New Approach commitments and Sinn Féin finance minister Conor Murphy has said he will consider it. He could focus on the commercial element of rates but that is already crushing town centres and small businesses, so householders will have to bear some of weight. It is a good sign for devolution that Murphy has not flatly ruled out an increase but it will be tricky for Sinn Féin to raise a tax on one side of the border when they are promising to scrap on the other.

As was seen during the three-year welfare reform crisis, maintaining cross-border consistency can drop an enormous spanner in Stormont’s works.

With many thanks to: The Irish News and Newton Emerson for his original thoughts in his Saturday’s opinion page.

Sinn Féin MLAs Megan Fearon and Mairtin O Muilleoir quit Assembly

Megan Fearon and Mairtin O Muilleoir both served in the last Executive

Sinn Fein MLAs Megan Fearon and Mairtin O Muilleoir have announced they are quitting the North of Ireland Assembly.

Both were former ministers in the Executive.

Sinn Fein’s leader in the North of Ireland Michelle O’Neill paid tribute to both. She said they had worked “tirelessly to deliver for citizens and to build a new, just and united Ireland”.

“They both will remain republican activists and advocates for equality, justice and liberty,” she said.

Mairtin O Muilleoir has been one of the party’s most senior members. He was a former Lord Mayor of Belfast before becoming South Belfast MLA. He was the last finance minister Stormont had before its collapse and set up the RHI Inquiry as one of his final acts in the post.

Mr O Muilleoir had previously served on Belfast City Council for a decade up until 1997 before quitting politics to concentrate on his newspaper business.

The fluent Irish speaker wrote a book, The Dome of Delight, documenting his experiences as a Belfast councillor during the tense 1980s when there were fist fights and bitter exchanges between unionist and nationalist representatives.

He returned to politics in 2011 and became Belfast Lord Mayor in 2013. In 2014, he was co-opted onto the Assembly as MLA.

“It has been the greatest privilege of my life to represent the people of south and west Belfast for Sinn Fein in both City Hall and Stormont,” he said.

“But it is now time for me to hand over to a representative of a newer generation of republican activists.

“I want to thank all of those who have given me their support and assure them that I will remain a determined advocate of a better Belfast and a new and united Ireland.”

Following the General Election results last week which saw the DUP’s Carla Lockhart, the SDLP’s Colum Eastwood and Claire Hanna and Alliance’s Stephen Farry win seats in the Commons, there are now six free seats in the Assembly. The parties are expected to begin the co-option process later in the week.

Megan Fearon

Megan Fearon said her time in electoral politics had come to an end and it was time for a new challenge. She has represented Newry and Armagh for the past seven years.

The 28-year-old she was the youngest person ever to enter the Assembly. Prior she studied politics, philosophy and economics at Queen’s University Belfast.

She served as junior minister to Martin McGuinness in The Executive Office and was a member of the Finance, Economy and OFMDFM Committees as well as the All Party Group for Children and Young People and was Vice Chair of the All Party Group on Women, Peace and Security.

She was the party spokeswoman on equality and social justice.

“Representing Sinn Fein and the people of South Armagh has been an honour and one that I never took lightly,” she said.

“I want to thank every single activist and voter for their support and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve.

“It’s been a pleasure to be part of the Sinn Fein team, both locally and nationally both as an MLA and on the Executive. I want to wish my colleagues well in the future and thank them for their friendship.

“Over the years this role has allowed me to meet the most inspiring people, make friends for life and have many unforgettable experiences.

“Working towards a new Ireland based on fairness and equality is a huge part of who I am. I will always be an activist, but my time in electoral politics has ended.

“I am excited to begin a new chapter in life and I want to thank everyone who has been part of this journey.”

Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald thanked both for their work and service for the party.

“Both were excellent MLAs providing first class representation in their constituencies and also on the Executive where both served with distinction as ministers,” she said.

“I have known both for many years and they are hardworking and dedicated representatives, committed to improving the quality of life for all.

“I wish both of them well in the future and I’m confident they will continue working to build a new and united Ireland.

“I’m sure whoever is selected to replace them will provide the same high standard of representation for the people they represent.”

With many thanks to the: Belfast Telegraph and Johnathan Bell for the original story 

Gerry Adams: A past that hasn’t gone away

Gerry Adams denies IRA claims in court

In the early years of the peace process, Gerry Adams once quipped: “They haven’t gone away, you know.”

He was talking about the IRA. But it could easily refer to claims about whether he was in the organisation, which have persisted for most of his life.

More lately, the issue of his past has involved the murder of Jean McConville.

Notable republican figures – Ivor Bell, Brendan Hughes and Dolours Price – implicated Mr Adams in the decision to “disappear” the mother-of-10 in 1972.

Their stories emerged from the Boston tapes, an oral history project on the Troubles.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) went to court to obtain the tapes and the arrest of Mr Adams followed in 2014.

But he was not charged, and he flatly denied any role in Mrs McConville’s killing or secret burial and ever having been in the IRA.

The former Sinn Féin president, who is now a member of the Dáil (Irish parliament), has always denied being in the IRA.

Although interned twice in the 1970s, Mr Adams has never been found guilty of membership of the organisation.

Gerry Adams became President of Sinn Féin in 1983 Image copyrightPACEMAKER

On Thursday, Ivor Bell was cleared of soliciting the widow’s murder. Although Mr Adams was not on trial himself, the judge in the case gave him a victory by placing a major question mark over the Boston tapes.

It is not that the claims contained on them were found to be true or false.

The former IRA prisoner turned critic of Sinn Féin, who conducted the Boston project interviews with republicans, was “out to get Mr Adams”, the judge said.

So where does this leave the reliability of the other tapes, should they ever be used in separate cases?

Gerry Adams did not speak to reporters outside Belfast’s Laganside Court’s this week Image copyrightPACEMAKER

Questions about Mr Adams’ past will not end here and will likely follow him to the grave.

There have been many allegations made against him, about a time before he took violent republicanism down a path of peace.

But evidence, to a courtroom standard, has been found as lacking today as it was in 1978, when the one and only time he was charged with IRA membership did not go to trial.

With many thanks to: BBC NewsNI and Julian O’Neill Home Affairs Correspondent for the original story 

New IRA says border infrastructure would be ‘legitimate target for attack’.

Gerry Adams sent me to US to buy rifles for the Provos: ex-top IRA man

SPOTLIGHT: IRA Priest says Thatcher was “right” about him

Former top IRA man Brendan Hughes claimed that Gerry Adams sent him to America to buy Armalite rifles for the Provisionals, according to a new TV documentary.

And Catholic priest Patrick Ryan has told the same programme he set up arms deals between the IRA and Libya; that he once stole from church collection boxes to provide funds for the Provos, and that Margaret Thatcher was right to link him to English bombings like Brighton and Hyde Park.

OC Commder in H Blocks Brendan Hughes and leader of the first hunger strike in 1980

The disclosures come in episode three of the BBC NI series Spotlight on the Troubles: A Secret History.

In an interview recorded before his death in February 2008, Brendan Hughes, a one-time friend and ally of the former Sinn Fein leader, claims Adams sent him to New York to smuggle Armalites back to Ireland in the early 1970s.

Hughes adds: “I think we did push the war forward more than anyone else did. And I think it was Gerry who was largely responsible for that because it was Gerry who sent me to America to get the Armalites.”

Adams, who refused to take part in the Spotlight series, has always denied that he was a member of the IRA and he has repeatedly said Brendan Hughes told lies about him.

Gerry Adams and Brendan Huhes in Long Kesh

In the same programme about IRA gun-running, former missionary and parish priest Patrick Ryan has no such qualms about owning up to his part in the smuggling of weapons.

Tipperary-born Ryan says Mrs Thatcher was right to link him to a series of IRA bomb attacks in England like Hyde Park and Brighton which almost killed the Prime Minister at the time.

Asked about regrets, Ryan says: “I have big regrets that I wasn’t even more effective. But I didn’t do too badly you know.”

Ryan claims that it was his discovery of a timing device which transformed the IRA bombing campaign and stopped terrorists blowing themselves up as they made their deadly bombs.

Ryan’s admissions run contrary to what he told a Tipperary newspaper in 1988 when he said he had raised cash for nationalist victims of the Troubles but had “never bought explosives for the IRA or anybody else”.

In that year Ryan was arrested in Belgium and was sent back to Ireland but the Irish government infuriated Mrs Thatcher by refusing to extradite him to Britain.

Spotlight: Provo commander says Adams sent him to New York to smuggle weapons
In Spotlight, Ryan says that at the start of the Troubles he took money from mission collection boxes to finance the situation in the north but was later approached by the organisation’s leaders to work for them permanently.

“They asked me to travel the world and try to get help for them,” he says.

The British government was convinced he was the main link between the IRA and Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi who saw the Provos as comrades in arms.

Ryan says of Gaddafi: “He was a fine fella, the best I ever met. And we got on very well.”

Ryan says that in 1973 the IRA dispatched him to Rome to meet their Chief of Staff Joe Cahill who went with him to Tripoli to meet Gaddafi who initially offered 200 tonnes of weaponry but later reduced the shipment on board the boat, the Claudia, to five tonnes because he suspected someone had blown the whistle.

Veteran IRA man Des Long says Cahill had been told the boat’s owner was working with British intelligence.

“He was warned and warned and warned that the whole thing was gone,” says Long, and the Claudia was captured off the Irish coast.

Ryan however continued to travel all over Europe working for the IRA and he says he also spotted Memo Park timers which motorists were using to remind them when their car parking fees had run out.

As footage is screened of terrorists making up a device, Ryan says he saw the timers as a means of preventing bombs going off while terrorists were arming them.

Such was the scale of links between Libya and the IRA, the documentary makers say that in November 1972 the Provos chartered a DC3 aircraft to fly 25 rocket launchers and 400 warheads from Libya to Shannon airport. Days later one of the rockets killed policeman Robert Keys in an attack on Belleek RUC station in Fermanagh.

With many thanks to the: Belfast Telegraph and Ivan Little for original story 

Sinn Fein Lord Mayor revealed as convicted thief – Telegraph

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