Pauline Mellon is a rights activist and justice campaigner in the North West. She Blogs at The Diary of A Derry Mother.
My husband recently surprised me with two tickets to see 'Give My Head Peace' in Derry's Millenium Forum. However today I feel he could saved money by getting us a place at the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis which is said to be second to none in terms of comedic value.
The motion at yesterday's gathering of the faithful flock was put forward by the Keating-Sands Waterford Cumann. In immediate defence of the Crown and cohorts, Derry Sinn Fein delegate Gerry McCartney, brother of MLA Raymond, said he believed that the motion should be “rejected” which isn't surprising as the motion makes the Deputy First Minister look like a lone ranger. Significantly this motion demonstrates how the actions of the Sinn Fein leadership are at odds with the views of their grass roots members and supporters.
In addition to his concerns yesterday over the upcoming centenary Mr McCartney added “it wasn’t just Irish republicans who died, it was British soldiers who died” further explaining that it would be impossible to commemorate the event without including all sides. The concern for me is where is Gerry going with this? It would be very unlike the Shinners to throw something out to test the water if they didn't have an end target in sight.
Instead of calling for members of the British Royal family not to be banned from attending events commemorating the centenary of the Easter rising maybe Gerry would've been better calling at the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis for his party to support Derry woman Kate Nash. Kate is currently endeavouring to have those who oversaw the murder of 14 innocent civil rights protesters on Bloody Sunday stripped of the honours they received shortly after.
When you add the actions of the Bloody Sunday Trust to the bizarre stance from someone who claims to be an Irish republican you can't help but wonder if the reconciliation card was being played when planning the memorial Garden/ Plaza for the Bogside.
Maybe by way of reciprocation the British Government and Royals have secret reconciliation plans in place which include commemorating those who died fighting against the empire in the Easter Rising and the war of independence, followed by the unveiling of a memorial to the Hunger Strikers in London. But then it's highly unlikely.
"If there is to be reconciliation, first there must be truth.”