Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams today called on the Taoiseach to meet with two members of Sinn Fein whom he claims tried to help Máiría Cahill when she was undergoing trauma as a consequence of an abuse, acknowledged by Sinn Fein as rape. The two Sinn Fein members are Jennifer McCann and Sue Ramsey. Whatever their dealings with Máiría Cahill, it would not be too difficult to make the case that over the years they have helped people, the constituents they represent and suchlike. Whether the mere fact of helping people should gain them premium political access is another matter. I am neutral on the matter, indifferent as to whether he meets them or not.
But Sinn Fein is trying to balance the books. And so in the wake of the demand by Gerry Adams in the Dail for the Taoiseach to meet with the accused in the Cahill case (Martin Morris apart, about whom Enda Kenny mischievously yanked Adams’ chain), being scuppered by the acquitted people’s legal team, Adams has to save face and claw back lost ground.
If Jennifer McCann and Sue Ramsay get to meet Enda Kenny, then my wife and I too would like to meet him: not to contradict anything they might say, but to explain to him how Sinn Fein were helping us the very same year that Máiría Cahill claims to have undergone an IRA court of inquiry. It would be beneficial to his understanding of Sinn Fein helping people if he were to talk to the recipients of such help.
In October 2000 the Provisional IRA shot dead Joseph O’Connor in the West Belfast constituency of Gerry Adams. O’Connor was a leading figure in the Real IRA’s Belfast structure. The Provisional IRA then lied about its role in order to cover up its involvement. With calculated cynicism it even went as far as to offer condolences to the family of the dead man. Sinn Fein endorsed the IRA falsehood. Along with a former republican prisoner I wrote a piece for the Irish News in which we stated that the Provisional IRA were blameworthy. We had no need to worry. Help was on its way.
Within hours two senior members of the IRA were in our home helping us understand the riot act they were reading out, and explaining, in the way that those with a fascistic bent try to explain anything, just why calling for inquiries into the IRA was not something they would greet with open arms. That they had arms in mind was never in doubt, open too, in their own fascistic way: they openly bore arms on the street to kill O’Connor two years after the Good Friday Agreement. This was the same year that the IRA could inquire but not be inquired about.
Two nights later more help arrived in the form of a mob at our home. It was comprised of Sinn Fein members and supporters, led by a local woman so determined to help us observe a vow of silence that she later became one of the party’s councillors in Belfast. We were not at home. Just over a week later the mob was back, led by the same woman, again trying to help us appreciate the merits of a life of contemplative silence. I was not at home but my heavily pregnant wife was. As she stood in our front garden accompanied by a friendly neighbour appalled at the braying and bullying of the local green shirts, they vented their hatred, howled their invective and sought to intimidate her. She referred to the experience in a recent article as the bare face of fascism which I will forward to the Taoiseach.
Gerry Adams, also determined to help us, later wrote in the Irish Voice about how horrified he was, not at the murder, but at our attributing it to the Provisional IRA. He helpfully described myself and Tommy Gorman as fellow travellers of the Real IRA, much in the manner his party and its apologists have helped to smear Mairia Cahill.
Sinn Fein helped us in the way a hangman helps his quarry walk to the gallows. So, we would like to help the Taoiseach acquire a big helping of insight into what the helping hand of Sinn Fein at times looks like.