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Context of abuse is ignored in the criticism of Mairia

Published 14/10/2015

In response to news that Mairia Cahill could be the next Irish Labour senator, Sinn Fein supporters argue that her current sense of politics has no credibility because she was formerly involved with Sinn Fein and Republican Network for Unity. But this is disingenuously simplistic.

Mairia Cahill comes from a traditional republican pedigree. Mairia, like any young person with her lineage, was predisposed to the "struggles", because that was her circumstances.

I also grew up around the narrative that Sinn Fein was who I should support. I was never personally comfortable with Provisionalism, but when the majority of people you are exposed to in your youth speak exclusively in that sort of language, it does tend to factor into your outlook.

Eventually, your politics adapts according to what you actually feel. This is what we see with Mairia Cahill: someone full of humanity, but born into a political culture that wasn't conducive to such a mindset.

Those that post pictures of a young Mairia Cahill holding an anti-RUC sign are extremely vindictive. Young people need to be given a trial-and-error period when it comes to their politics.

Criticism of Mairia's politics ignores the context of Mairia being a young victim of abuse. It would seem that, in a bid to exorcise her long-festering anger about this, Mairia became involved with a radical opposition group that was not only aggressively anti-Sinn Fein, but offered her protection. In victims' terms, this makes absolute sense.

It is hardly surprising that Mairia would have sought this during a vulnerable point in her life. Nobody should fall for the Sinn Fein propaganda line that Mairia is some dangerous dissident. It will be unfortunate if the debate that arises from her candidacy gives oxygen to such a non-issue.

DARREN LITTER

Co Tyrone

Belfast Telegraph

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