The Martin McGuinness Principles are another exercise in republican doublethink, writes Nelson McCausland
When Sinn Fein uses words such as equality and truth, they mean only what it suits them to mean
Molloy College is a Catholic college on Long Island, New York. In 2009 it established an Irish Studies Institute and next Tuesday, the 20th anniversary of the Belfast Agreement, a number of Irish-American organisations will gather there to launch the Martin McGuinness Principles.
Last month the Mayor of New York gave us Gerry Adams Day and now Irish republican sympathisers are to launch the Martin McGuinness Principles. Those wanting further information on the event are asked to contact Brian O’Keefe of the Nassau County Brehon Law Society.
The society was formed in 1978 by a number of Irish-American lawyers to advance Irish republicanism, and its first president Jim Cullen was later president of Friends of Sinn Fein USA.
The activities of the society are somewhat sporadic, but it has collaborated with other Irish republican organisations such as the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Irish-American Unity Conference and Noraid, and is part of a network of Irish republican organisations in America.
As well as the support of Molloy College and the Brehon Law Society, the Martin McGuinness Principles are supported by Friends of Sinn Fein USA and, next week, we will learn what other Irish-American organisations have come on board.
It seems that the Martin McGuinness Principles are largely directed at an American audience, but what are they?
According to publicity material issued by Molloy College, the Martin McGuinness Principles are about “equality, respect, truth and self-determination”.
With Sinn Fein, as with Humpty Dumpty, “When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean.” So, what does Sinn Fein mean by “equality”, “respect” and “truth” and, while you consider that, remember that, for Sinn Fein, hypocrisy is never a problem.
For Sinn Fein, “equality” was defined by former party president Gerry Adams, who said that “equality” is “a Trojan horse to break the b*******”. Now, that is not the definition in the Oxford English Dictionary, but it is the definition used by Sinn Fein.
For Sinn Fein “respect” means mocking some of the victims of the IRA and blackening the names of others. Only the most gullible fool would believe it when it talks about respect.
Where was the respect for life when the IRA was murdering men, women and children and incinerating people who had gone out for a meal?
For Sinn Fein “truth” means concealing as much as it can about IRA terrorism. When he appeared before the Saville Inquiry, Martin McGuinness stated that his IRA oath curtailed what he could say.
Yet, in recent weeks, we have seen several Sinn Fein MLAs who had served in the IRA holding up placards demanding “Time 4 Truth”.
On his headstone in Londonderry he is recorded as “Oglach Martin McGuinness — Oglaigh na hEireann”, or “Volunteer Martin McGuinness of the Irish Republican Army”.
His role in the ranks of the Provisional IRA is often played down these days, but shortly before he died McGuinness looked back to his early days in the Provisional IRA and said: “I am very proud of all that I have done during that time.”
In fact Sinn Fein is doing with Martin McGuinness what it did previously with Bobby Sands; making him an icon and role model for future generations. The famous Bobby Sands mural on the Falls Road describes him as “Poet, Gaeilgeoir, Revolutionary, IRA Volunteer”. This is not the first time that Molloy College has recognised Martin McGuinness. Last year the college hosted a lecture on the life of McGuinness by Professor Ruan O’Donnell of the University of Limerick. Professor O’Donnell is a committed republican, who wrote and presented a documentary film for Friends of Sinn Fein USA.
This illustrates some of the disadvantages faced by unionists. Sinn Fein has access to a large support network in Irish-America and access to sympathetic university academics on both sides of the Atlantic.
Those are deficits that should be addressed by unionism and not simply consigned to the drawer marked “too difficult”.
Meanwhile, next Tuesday, we will find out more about the Oglach Martin McGuinness Principles.