By Ray O’Hanlon
With an election looming south of the border, Sinn FTin is gearing up for a busy St. Patrick’s season, one that now reaches back into February. Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness will be in New York and New Jersey in a few days, but that will only be the warmer upper.
SF’s Batman and Robin — you can decide which is which — will be back with reinforcements in March and there will hardly be a geographic corner of the United States or Canada that does not get a visit by a top party figure. Adams is expected to visit the San Francisco area, where there is word that Friends of Sinn FTin might be hosting a reception on board FDR’s old yacht. Apparently the venerable tub is for hire. If this seafaring function comes about, Adams can, of course, return to Belfast and tell the loyalists with some authority that “there is nothing to fear but fear itself.”
Adams is also expected to turn up in Oakland, where the mayor, one Jerry Brown, is expected to preside at the formal naming of a street in honor of the Sinn FTin president and, lest we forget, author of a book entitled “The Street.” This could become a trend: Champs Adams, Adams Prospekt, Adams Avenue, Via de la Adams.
Time to ‘anti’ up
The Bush men, George and Jeb, are both getting an earful from irate Catholics this week. Jeb’s problem stems from a move against Florida’s MacBride Principles law, while the president’s is rooted in the recent speech by the State Department’s Dr. Richard Haass and the latest convulsions in Belfast.
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Gerald Lally, political action chairman of the Irish American Unity Conference, fired off an open letter to Dubya that should be read with a pretzel-free throat. In his letter, Lally protests the slurs and indignities being suffered by Catholics in North Belfast.
Wrote Lally in part: “While condemning the outrageous behavior of the protestors, your Mr. Haass tried to excuse it by stating reasons for these inexcusable actions. . . . One of your favorite words arising out of the horrendous events of 9/11 is evil. Well, these protestors are evil and it is time we stopped making excuses for them.
“We are not and should not be making excuses for al-Q’da or the Taliban. We would not make excuses for Hitler or Stalin. Why do we make excuses for a group of dinosaurs who refuse to admit that their totalitarian rule is over? They have abused the Catholic population from day one of the setting up of the bastardized statelet known as Northern Ireland 80 years ago.”
Lally went on to argue that it was time for the U.S. to disband the “honest broker” and the “two warring tribes fictions.”
“We all know,” he wrote, “that there is no honest brokering involved because there is nothing to honest broker. There are no two warring tribes. Clear and simple what you have is one group that has improperly exercised domination over the other. Northern Ireland has been an abomination since its inception and now is the time to end it.”
Well, that’s it then. The Marines hit the Giant’s Causeway at 0600.
Hurley on the ditch
It must be the January weather. People stay indoors and write letters, just like they did in the pre-DVD world. Pat Hurley, veteran Irish Immigration Reform Movement campaigner, has just penned a characteristically detailed correspondence to Ireland’s foreign minister, Brian Cowen. The letter counts as Hurley’s submission to the Irish government’s recently established Task Force on Policy Regarding Emigrants. Hurley, as is his wont, gives it a lash. He’s evidently not impressed with the various successors to the battling IIRM. “Unfortunately, writes Hurley, “since the demise of the IIRM, the resulting vacuum has been filled by entities that, in the pursuit of questionable objectives, rush unchallenged to portray the Irish immigrant community as a dependant, delinquent group of social misfits that is incapable of self sufficiency.”
Hurley’s epistle also tackles the matter of anti-Americanism in Ireland, real or perceived, in the post 9/11 context. “The Irish government must challenge the fallacious, anti-American vitriol powerfully effusing from ‘Dublin 4’ which is absolutely unrepresentative of Irish public opinion,” thundered Hurley, who reckons that Irish public opinion — outside the aforementioned South Dublin suburb — is actually “unequivocal” in its support for U.S. actions in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Hurley, like de Valera, seemingly only has to look into his heart and knows what the Irish people are thinking. But he has a point, though “unequivocal” might be stretching things a bit.
News wit’ attitude
“IF,” as readers well know, appreciates the wee bit of wit now and again. So it is with aching sides that “IF” brings you the wit and wisdom of The Portadown News, a website publication that takes a rather sardonic view of the North’s travails. And so we have: “Meanwhile, North Belfast Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly has appealed for calm. ‘It is vital that law and order are restored,’ said Mr. Kelly. ‘As long as it’s not by the forces of law and order.’ ” Ha Ha! And this: “North Belfast DUP MP Nigel Dodds has issued a strongly worded statement condemning the violence in his constituency. ‘This is awful, terrible, really, really bad,’ said Mr. Dodds yesterday. ‘Dreadful, absolutely inexcusable, totally unacceptable.’ Still, added Mr. Dodds, ‘it’s all the fenians’ fault, you know. Vote DUP.’ ” Ha Ha Ha! And this, “IF”‘s favorite of the week: “Portadown News Advertisement. Ulsterbus. Missing out on the action? Can’t wait for July? Then take the Ulsterbus Riot Express, Portadown-North Belfast 8 p.m. nightly. Please note: setting fire to the bus may delay this service.” But, after all this wee wit, a somber reminder: “Remember Danny McColgan,” a reference to the young mailman shot dead recently by loyalists. The Portadown News is at www.portadownnews.com.