The ability of Sinn Fein to recast victim makers as if they were victims is a sign they have no moral compass
Republicans have no shame when it comes to stealing the clothes of ‘human rights’, writes Nelson McCausland.
Last Saturday Jemma Dolan, a young Sinn Fein MLA, posted on the party’s Fermanagh and South Tyrone Facebook page some photographs of a small demonstration in the village of Derrylin, close to the border with Co Cavan. These and other photographs were also posted on the McManus, Murphy and Coen Sinn Fein Cumann Facebook page. McManus, Murphy and Coen were all members of the IRA, and the photographs were dominated by pictures of IRA members and depictions of IRA gunmen.
A wall mural featured six republicans including Patrick McManus, who died when an IRA bomb exploded prematurely, and Kevin Coen, who was shot while on “active service” and trying to hijack a bus.
It also depicted Seamus McElwaine, who was convicted of the murder of an off-duty member of the UDR while he was driving a tractor and the murder of an off-duty policeman standing outside his home. The judge who sentenced McElwaine described him as a “dangerous killer”.
It was, therefore, bizarre that the cumann’s Facebook page noted that it was March 24 and that this was the International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims.
This is a day that has been designated by the United Nations, and you might imagine that it would be a day that Sinn Fein would want to avoid.
After all the IRA violated the human rights of thousands of people — Protestant and Roman Catholic — and Sinn Fein still refuses to distance itself from the Provisional IRA’s campaign of murder. It still celebrates the victim makers of the IRA.
It also withholds the truth from the families of most of those whom the IRA murdered — whether Protestant or Roman Catholic.
However, Sinn Fein has no sense of shame, and ever-alert to a propaganda opportunity, it was out on the streets on Saturday. In effect, it was hijacking the day in order to advance its strategy of rewriting the past and legitimising the IRA. This was not for it a day for compassion and contrition, but rather an opportunity that could be exploited.
Three things struck me about the Sinn Fein demonstration, and the first was that this was an International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations. Sinn Fein branded its demonstration a ‘Campaign for Truth’, and some of the party’s supporters were holding Sinn Fein posters with the message ‘Time 4 Truth’.
One of those at the demonstration with Dolan was Sinn Fein MLA Sean Lynch, who served in the IRA with McElwaine. Lynch was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 1986 for possession of a rifle and explosives, but was never convicted of murder. Yet, the IRA carried out a lot of murders along the border.
So, if Sinn Fein really believes it is ‘Time 4 Truth’, what can Lynch tell us about the people murdered by the Provisional IRA along the border?
The second thing was that Sinn Fein didn’t seem to see anything odd about marking a day for “dignity of victims” when its own party has done so much to ridicule and defame victims.
How does it reconcile the “dignity of victims” with Barry McElduff’s notorious tweet, standing with a Kingsmill loaf on his head?
How does it reconcile the “dignity of victims” with Mairtin O Muilleoir’s retweet of the same photograph?
How does it reconcile the “dignity of victims” with Senator Maire Devine, who retweeted a post calling an IRA victim a “sadist”?
She even sent retweets that appeared to accuse Brian Stack’s son Austin of being overly sensitive about the issue.
McElduff was suspended for three months and then resigned as MP for West Tyrone.
O Muilleoir (who is clearly of more value to the party) got away with an apology and Devine has escaped — so far — with a three-month suspension.
The third thing that struck me is the brazen ability of Sinn Fein to portray victim makers as victims.
The world of Sinn Fein is a world without a moral compass.