Category: Archive

Editorial States of hypocrisy

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

The recent poll in the Irish republic that shows that Sinn Fein has 8 percent of the vote seems to have prematurely set off the campaign for the upcoming Irish general election, though no date has yet been declared. Clearly, many, and Fianna Fail and the Progressive Democrats in particular, are worried by the rise of Sinn Fein on their side of the Irish border and are determined, if they can, to stop it. Already, the party is outpolling the PDs.

Even before the poll result was in the news, the Irish attorney general, Michael McDowell, in one of the strongest attacks on Sinn Fein since the peace process began, declared that no one with “divided loyalty had a moral or a constitutional right to seek election in the Irish state.” McDowell was accusing Sinn Fein of being loyal to the IRA’s Army Council, which in traditional republican lore is the real government of Ireland.

This theme was played out in an RTE interview with Sinn Fein’s sole TD, Caoimhghin O Caolain, when he was asked if he was loyal to the Irish Republic. He replied he was loyal to the republic “declared in Easter 1916.” Nor would he counsel people to give information to the Irish police about the murders of Irish policemen.

Of course, the republic of 1916 is not the republic under which O Caolain holds office. Nor is it the one of which the Irish voters are citizens.

The ambiguities of the Sinn Fein position can only become more telling once the election campaign gets properly under way. However, what will also be exposed will be what many see as the hypocrisy of the Irish government’s position. How can a party that is supposedly unfit to even stand in an election in the South be eligible to hold government office just a few miles away on the other side of the Irish border?

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