[Marxism] Marginalisation of Sinn Fein

James Daly james.irldaly at ntlworld.com
Thu Mar 11 01:23:14 MST 2004

Reverberations of Paisley's electoral victory. The "conflict
resolution" Good Friday agreement is in deep crisis.  Part of the
context is the campaign for elections in the 26 counties. Fianna Fail,
a Gaullist-type party, governs in coalition with the small extreme
neoliberal and militantly antinational Progressive Democrats.  It is
considering merging with Sinn Fein's northern rival the ironically
named SDLP, the six county party formerly led by John Hume.  Until now
that party has been treated as a fraternal party by the British Labour
Party, but that is changing, and in a further blow to recognition of
the Irish national dimension, the British Labour Party is preparing to
organise for the first time in the six northern counties, as the
Conservative party already does. -- JD

Sinn Fein 'exclusion considered'
The Irish Government is "actively considering" the exclusion of Sinn
Fein from the Northern Ireland political process, according to Gerry
The Sinn Fein president said in a speech in Dublin on Wednesday that
Irish Government ministers were "considering going back to the old
agenda, the failed policies and attitudes of the past".

Mr Adams called on supporters of the biggest party in Dublin's
coalition government, Fianna Fail, to reassert the "primacy of the
peace process".

The latest crisis in the political process follows alleged IRA
involvement in the false imprisonment of a dissident republican in

Claims by Chief Constable Hugh Orde that Provisional IRA members were
behind it have overshadowed the review of the Good Friday Agreement,
with UUP leader David Trimble walking out of the talks.

Mr Adams' latest comments came against a backdrop of sharp criticisms
of alleged IRA activity from both Irish Justice Minister Michael
McDowell and the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern.

Mr Ahern told the Dail on Wednesday that he believed the recent
criticism of Sinn Fein was "sinking in".

Earlier this week, Mr McDowell likened Sinn Fein's relationship with
the IRA to that of the Nazis and the Brownshirts.

Mr McDowell said that some senior members of the party were members of
the IRA army council.

On Tuesday, the Northern Ireland Secretary, Paul Murphy, and the Irish
Foreign Minister, Brian Cowen, met at Stormont.

British Government sources said they considered whether the review
should be adjourned, but decided against such a move.

Instead, the review will continue and may move on to consider
north-south and east-west issues.

The meeting prepared the ground for discussions which will take place
between Tony Blair and Mr Ahern in Dublin on Thursday.

They will assess how the review can be moved forward following Mr
Trimble's decision to walk out of the talks.

Edited report

Meanwhile, Mr Blair told an SDLP delegation led by Mark Durkan on
Wednesday that retired Canadian judge Peter Cory's report into
collusion allegations would be published with some editing by the end
of the month or before Easter.

Judge Cory examined allegations of collusion surrounding some of the
most controversial killings of the Troubles in Northern Ireland,
including the murders of solicitors Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson,
Catholic man Robert Hamill and Loyalist Volunteer Force leader Billy

Assembly members Alex Attwood and John Dallat and the Lord Mayor of
Belfast, Martin Morgan, were also part of the SDLP delegation at the
Downing Street talks.

Mr Durkan said he was not satisfied with the government's response
that it would meet its commitment to a public independent inquiry
following Cory's publication.
He said: "We were not able to get satisfaction from the government as
to what their full response would be and we made clear to the
government that we will be holding them to the commitments and
promises that they made.

"We are not in the business of negotiating anything short of the clear
promises they made. After all, the prime minister was the man who told
us that clarity was our friend and ambiguity was our enemy.

"The commitment he made on Cory was clear and unambiguous and we want
it published in a clear and unambiguous way."

Mr Durkan was asked whether he would be willing to go into government
without Sinn Fein.

He said he "would not allow the people of Ireland to be frustrated
indefinitely by the refusal of paramilitaries to meet the

Mr Durkan accused the government of asking for clarity and certainty
on the paramilitary issue one day and then engaging in spin days

However, he added that he believed Mr Blair was determined "not to
fudge the issue in future".

The political institutions in Northern Ireland were suspended in
October 2002 amid allegations of IRA intelligence-gathering in the
Stormont government.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2004/03/10 17:06:50 GMT


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