I was horrified to read Suzanne Breen’s latest instalment in her brave solo exposition of what is one of the most disturbing stories to emergence from behind the Iron Curtain of the Sinn Féin spin machine in recent years. Two women, the first a former national secretary of Ogra Shinn Féin and niece of Joe Cahill, have come forward alleging that Gerry Adams was aware of cases of rape involving them but did nothing to about it. Ms. Cahill made her allegations against ‘M’, an IRA man from West Belfast. According to her, ‘M’ was allowed to escape to Donegal and she was told that the IRA did not have the resources to go after him.
The second woman, the daughter of a deceased Belfast IRA commander, has told the Sunday Tribune that she was ‘physically, mentally and sexually abused by someone who is currently a Sinn Féin elected representative.’ Most damningly for the Sinn Féin President, she told the paper that, “Another family member informed Gerry Adams face-to-face of what X had done to me… Gerry promised to have X expelled from Sinn Féin immediately. I feel let down.”
Gerry Adams cannot be held responsible for the acts of others but he ought to be held to account for his callous negligence of Aine Tyrell and the two other young women. It is not at all believable that Liam Adams could have rejoined Sinn Féin in West Belfast, a party with highly efficient electoral and party structures, without Gerry Adams knowing or someone else informing him. It is nothing short of outrageous that the Sinn Féin leadership put no discernible pressure on ‘M’ to be returned from Donegal, responding to the victim’s request with the callous dismissal: “what do you expect me to do about it, ban him from every bar in Ireland?”
Sinn Féin is a political party that in the past was umbilically linked to the Provisional IRA and therefore necessarily developed a culture of secrecy and cover-up. I am reminded of a hard-hitting article by Anthony McIntyre from 2005 in which he writes of an ‘IRA culture of culpability’ which granted impunity to the ‘sadists and psychopaths’ who murdered Robert McCartney . He quotes the Times Ireland correspondent, David Lister, asserting that:
“In the Short Strand and Markets areas, ‘justice is dispensed by an IRA unit that counts among its ranks a rapist, a paedophile, a former joyrider, and a man who once attacked a woman by burning her breasts with an iron.”
These ‘Greenshirt thugs’, as McIntyre calls them, ‘were the muscle that the Sinn Féin leadership relied upon to fortify its position on the streets’ and who ‘were always at hand to break a leg or kidnap a critic.’ In this description Sinn Féin appears more like Mussolini’s Italian fasci than a political party, far more ‘semi-constitutional’ than Fianna Fail ever could claim.
Despite the clean suits and slick spin up at Stormont, Sinn Féin remains a political organisation wherein normal rules of morality and legality do not yet wholly apply. The IRA may have disbanded corporatively but its lasting legacy has been to inculcate a sense of extreme secrecy and almost (para)military discipline into its political wing. If the phrase isn’t too literal to function metaphorically, there are undoubtedly countless skeletons in the closet for Sinn Féin elected representatives which necessitate the clamping down of dissent, as demonstrated by the intimidation directed at Dr. McIntyre when he blamed the Provos for the killing of Joe O’Connor in 2000.
Stamping out dissent, it seems, extends even to the most bizarre levels. The comments below Breen’s Tribune article contain people reporting how they are unable to get a copy of the paper in parts of Belfast. One user says that s/he ‘can’t get a Tribune anywhere in Belfast for love nor money.’ While this could be explained away by the great interest in the story, the commenter continues by saying, “A prominent.. well.. regular sinn fein party worker bought the last 4 copies in A/town and threw them in his car boot.. Everywhere else sold out, every shop the same, shelves empty.’ This is corroborated by another person, writing that:
“I know the story has attracted a lot of interest in Belfast BUT I have NEVER had any problems in getting the paper before even at heavy news story times during the Troubles. I asked a retailer this morning were there any Tribunes left and he stated that they were bought up very quickly and some were buying more than ONE copy.
I now firmly believe that Sinn Fein elements in the city are buying ALL copies of the paper up on a Sunday hoping to hide/bury the Liam Adams story.”
Sadly for the party, the internet offers a way around their North Korean media policies. However, the point worth stressing in closing is that Sinn Féin may have pursued an ‘armalite and ballot box’ strategy from 1981 up until decommissioning, but men without armalites can still kidnap, murder and intimidate. And with this functional use of violence comes the ability to cover it up, be it with Robert McCartney or Paul Quinn. Exactly the same tricks have come into play in this latest and shocking development of the Sinn Féin abuse saga.
Photo courtesy of the Sunday Tribune.
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