Current Affairs Politics

Maíria Cahill And Micheál Martin’s Cynical Opportunism

Fianna Fáil, back from the dead ( (Photo: Séamas Ó Sionnaigh, Binn Éadair, Cúige Laighean, Éire, Meitheamh 2012)
Maíria Cahill with Micheál Martin lurking in the background. Suitably enough (Íomhá: Gerry Mooney / Irish Independent)

Maíria Cahill, a member of a respected Republican family from Belfast and a former youth activist with Sinn Féin, has recently sought vindication for what she regards as unfair treatment at the hands of the (Provisional) Irish Republican Army – and Sinn Féin – during the late 1990s and early 2000s. She has convincingly argued that her complaints of a series of sexual assaults at the hands of prominent member of the (P)IRA in 1997-98 were subject to an inadequate military investigation followed by an internal cover-up. I have already made clear my own belief in her claims, even when one takes into account the distorted spinning of Ireland’s generally anti-republican newspapers, both nationally and regionally. Yes, there is some confusion in the sequence of events, as well contradictory statements, but the explanations offered by Sinn Féin and Gerry Adams in relation to the matter are so far unconvincing (and the hysterical reaction of some SF supporters is simply counter-productive). As the leader of arguably the largest political party on our island nation we need a fuller – and more reasoned – answer to the allegations made in recent days than has so far been issued.

However the images throughout the print and electronic media of Maíria Cahill standing outside the Oireachtas with Fianna Fáil leader Michaél Martin leaves one more than a little uneasy. FF, along with its establishment colleagues in Fine Gael and Labour, ignored the systemic abuse and maltreatment of thousands of Irish citizens in institutions funded or authorised by the state for much of the 20th century. Men, women and children; the young, the old, the ill and the disabled: all were abandoned to fates that still make headlines as each new historical revelation shocks the country. Those parties have yet to make adequate explanation or apology for their decades-old dereliction of duty (or connivance in criminal activities). Moreover unease turns to cynicism when one remembers Michaél Martin’s avowed aim of using any and all opportunities to attack Sinn Féin now that the latter threatens the fanciful restoration of Fianna Fáil’s electoral hegemony at the ballot box. The lameduck FF leader has spent more time criticising SF north and south on a range of issues than he has fighting for the rights and equalities of Irish citizens living in the north-east of our nation.

While significant elements of this country’s political and media establishments, the Irish continuity state, exploit this latest scandal within the (Provisional) Republican movement it is worth noting that those very same elements would otherwise deny that Maíria Cahill, or the community she comes from, are Irish people or citizens of this Republic at all. Some of the journalists and writers most prominent online in championing her cause are the very same ones who in recent months and years would have refused to recognise Ms. Cahill as Irish. Instead they would have described her as “British”.  And when the outrage has died, and the story has faded from public consciousness, no doubt they will go back to doing so again.

My enemy’s enemy is not always my friend.

33 comments on “Maíria Cahill And Micheál Martin’s Cynical Opportunism

  1. john cronin

    As I said, the tip of a very large iceberg. The reason Adams was so reluctant to face up to this was , I suspect because of his own charming family: we all now know about Gerry senior and Liam: I suspect a lot more will come out about the Hannaway side of the family as well.

    As for Fianna Fail’s cynicism: well, you won’t hear any argument from me on that score. I suspect that as the Sionnach says, they are terrified that after the catastrophe of the last election, they might just cease to exist in a few years. The traditional left of centre vote which kept em in power will either migrate to the Trot far left or to Sinn Fein.

  2. She has convincingly argued that her complaints of a series of sexual assaults at the hands of prominent member of the (P)IRA in 1997 were subject to an inadequate military investigation followed by an internal cover-up.
    What else did she expect from a bunch of terrorists?

  3. And why would anyone cooperate with PIRA’s “investigators”?

    They’re not an official police force – they have no right to arrest and interrogate the suspects or do any other police work let alone act as judges, jury and executioners as well.

    • Jānis, what would a woman in 1947 raped by a member of one of the groups making up the Meža Brāļi have done? A woman who came from that movement? Gone to the partizāni and sought justice? Or would she have sought out the Soviet-collaborators in the Latvian police and judiciary?

      The (Provisional) Irish Republican Army was the only policing force worth talking about in the Irish Nationalist communities of the north-east from the 1970s to early 2000s. And before that the Republican movement retained some of the roles it had taken on during the War of Independence through the Irish Republican Army, Irish Republican Police and Irish Republican courts. From its inception the Royal Ulster Constabulary was a counter-insurgency paramilitary police force, nothing more, nothing less. 99% Protestant, 100% Unionist.

      And if you think that is Republican “propaganda” then I give you the words of the present Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny speaking just six months ago while demanding that people co-operate with the police service in the north-east of Ireland: “The PSNI is not the RUC and, in that context, anybody who has any information about the 10 to 12 people and those who ordered them to take out Jean McConville to have her murdered and have her disappeared… have a duty and a responsibility now to give that information to the PSNI.”

      Clearly even our own Taoiseach recognises that one did not co-operate with or seek out the help of the RUC before the reform of policing and justice. The RUC was disbanded for a reason!

      Maíria Cahill expected more from (P)IRA because it was, to use her own description, “the Army”.

      • john cronin

        Actually, from it’s inception until its demise, the RUC averaged about 13% Catholic. But don’t let the facts get in the way of the Republican Narrative.

        • How many of those 13 % were held by their ankles with the back doors open in a speeding Land Rover?
          Point being, Do you accept it was a Cold Place for Catholics. Just like the Belfast Shipyard was. When the Unionist workers used to gather up the left over rivets and shards of steel cuttings and throw them into catholic areas. The Left over metal swarf was known as “Belfast Confetti.”
          Lovely people unionists.
          I’ll not hear a bad word about them.
          And you would be happy to leave the Nationalist to their tender mercies?
          What a gentleman.

        • That “averaged” is a very flexible fact indeed. By 1950s the claimed “average” had dropped to 10%, largely due to the retirement of previous RIC officers and the growing anti-Catholic threat. As late as 2012 the PSNI was unable to state what the religious breakdown of the RUC had been at any fixed period during the 1980s, largely because previously released figures from the period were no longer considered valid. Counting RUC officers who gave no religion on their application forms as “Roman Catholics” and removing non-practising Protestants from the overall figures was more than dubious. Séamus Mallon famously quoted “97% Protestant, 100% Unionist” if you prefer that.

      • john cronin

        Cathal Ramsay. Jamie Flanagan. Michael Mcatamney. Frank Lagan. Kevin Benedict Sheehy. Brian McCargo. Brendan McGuigan.

  4. Sionnach.
    Good article
    What strikes me about the Mehole Martin element is that whilst the leader of the Dublin Government opposition is meeting with a Belfast Girl for political ends concerning all the island of Ireland.
    The Unionists under James ” carson Craig” Nesbitt is crying into his soup about Dublin Government involvment in the wee 6.
    Is Mehole Martin not involving himself in the wee 6 with this stunt?
    Strangely Unionists don’t seem to mind.
    More unionist hypocrisy.
    My problem is unionism is such a false ideology with the all the depth of a
    Rock pool in a heatwave.
    How have they managed to cling onto this island.for so long.?

    • ams, that last question is a damned good one and the main answer can be found in the political, moral and physical cowardice of those who have ruled the Irish state since the 1920s. They sold out their fellow Irish men, women and children in the period of 1921-23 to save their own skins. Despicable charlatans the lot – and so they remain.

      • john cronin

        And what exactly would you have had them do? Launch an invasion of the Occupied Six Counties? As Danny orison painfully admitted many years ago, few people in the Free Stayutt care very much about Norn Iron.

        • Not signed the Treaty for the start. And if signed at least make some effort to ensure the rights of our own people.

          The War of Independence was an all-Ireland one not a southern Ireland one. It was fought in Dublin and Belfast, Cork and Derry, Limerick and Armagh. We in this part of the country reaped the success of that by abandoning others who had waged the same struggle with us. Where is the justice or the honour in that?

  5. The saturation coverage of this story in the Irish media contrasts very markedly with their eerie silence at the time of Dr Paisley’s death about his very close and well documented connections to Kincora paedophile ringeleader William McGrath – not to mention the strong evidence of many other British establishment connections to the Kincora cesspit. Nor have our fearless media shown the slightest interest in exploring why the RUC and the British state declined to investigate allegations of child abuse against members the Adams family in the 1980s. But then we’ve always known that the vast majority of Irish journalists are on a “second payroll” from British intelligence. Adams was a valuable asset to the British state in the 1980s and 1990s – but unfortunately for him he has clearly outlived his usefulness – hence the relentless attacks on Sinn Fein by “the Freemasons Journal” (aka the Sunday Indo) and the rest of our Mi5/Mi6 controlled media.

    • Colm J, personally I don’t believe Gerry Adams was a British agent. And if he was they would have revealed it some time ago to damage him and SF. It simply stretches things too far to suggest it. He made mistakes, there are many things I disagree with, but the majority of Republicans – those who oppose the present arrangements – would argue his mistakes stem from wrong judgements, etc, rather than anything more sinister.

      I don’t believe Micheál Martin came to leadership of FF that way, though certainly he has played an underhand game before and since. That said there were at least two Fine Gael TDanna and one Labour TD in the period of 1970-1980 who may well have had undue links to the British intelligence services. They are passed now so we will never know.

      • An Sionnach: Thanks. I never actually said I believed Adams was a British agent – I said he was a valuable asset to the British state. Granted the word “asset” can have an ambiguous meaning in this context, but I meant it simply in the sense of advancing a British agenda – which I believe he did. That doesn’t necessarily mean he was consciously working for British intelligence. I really don’t know whether he was or not, and I don’t believe in condemning someone without certain knowledge – which is why I find the current hysteria over the Cahill case so obscene. Mind you it’s only one of many similar witch-hunts in the Irish media in recent times. As for the Irish media being infiltrated by British intelligence: the evidence is fairly overwhelming – it’s a matter of public record that very senior figures in the Irish media have attended the Bilderberg gatherings – a group that has strong ties to Mi6. It’s also a matter of record that many Irish corporate media journalists belonged to the Workers Party. The book “The Lost Revolution” makes it clear that the WP had close ties to the British security forces – so much so that the British state turned a blind eye to the massive WP-OIRA criminal empire – as did the Irish media – with the honourable exceptions of Magill and Feargal Keane. The book (which incidentally is written from a viewpoint broadly sympathetic to the WP) also discloses that WP/OIRA gathered intelligence for the British security forces. Therefore it’s surely no surprise that many of the erstwhile Marxist-Leninist journos in the WP later became outspoken advocates for the Anglo-American invasions of former Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and so on. It seems very obvious to me that the professed Marxism of the Stickies was part of a strategic pincer movement to achieve “full spectrum dominance” for the British Unionist position in Ireland. The WP, Socialists Against Nationalism, Jim Kemmy’s Democratic Socialist Party, and the British Irish Communist Organisation took care of the left-flank, while Fine Gael and the Progressive Democrats took care of the neo-liberal right. Hence the great admiration for Des O’Malley among rabidy anti-nationalist stickies such as Eoghan Harris and Gerry Gregg – they’d been on the same side all along

        • Ah, I see, thanks for the clarification.

          The Cahill issue has taken on a political life of its own that seems far divorced from what I understood were Maíria Cahill’s original aims. She has aligned herself with some politically dubious forces, though I understand why she has done so as she seeks some form of justice. SF and the Óglaigh failed her (and many others), though in fraught war-time (and post-war) circumstances.

          This is now more about the “Get Adams” campaign and thwarting SF at the national ballot box than seeking truth and moral recompense. I do not blame Cahill in that. She is no fool, no tool of others, but she is being used in a manner that I believe she will regret in the years to come for someone who is – as far as I know – still a Republican. As I said before my enemy’s enemy is not always my friend. I just hope some good can come from all this for her personally, some peace of mind and feeling of vindication. Even with the cynical hawks of FF, FG and the Sindo in the background.

          Bilderberg is a dreadful thing. Even if it is entirely harmless, the secrecy, the elitism, etc. on display is shocking.

          No argument about the WP/OIRA. So misguided. So fooled. So riddled with people of dubious loyalties – and none.

  6. By the way Micheal Martin was installed as Fianna Fail leader by means of a coup orchestrated by the British spooks mentioned above. Brian Cowen won a parliamentary party vote against Martin overwhelmingly – yet was forced out days later – and Martin installed in his place. Martin was clearly seen by the spooks as the man to take Fianna Fail down a neo-Unionist Neo-Con route, and this he has done. One must remember that Martin O’Donoghue, a former senior Minister in Lynch’s Fianna Fail government, once told Ray McSharry: “there’s lots of money around but not for CJ”, i.e., there’s lots of money around to bribe Fianna Fail TDs into helping to remove Charlie Haughey as leader of Fianna Fail. The fact that no Irish journalist ever saw fit to investigate who provided this “money” and for what purpose says everything you need to know about Irish journalists and their entirely bogus hysteria about “corruption in high places”. The golden rule is this: every time you see the Irish corporate media get on their high horse about “corruption” you can be sure there’s a British orchestrated psy-op in progress.

    • john cronin

      Any evidence for any of this?

      • The evidence for Martin O’Donoghue telling Ray McSharry that there was “lots of money” available to remove Haughey as Fianna Fail leader comes from a conversation secretly taped by McSharry – the transcript of which is available in several books including “The Boss” by Padraig Yeates and Joe Joyce, and “The Modern Prince” by Justin O’Brien. Actually this episode was even more intriguing than I suggested. Not only did O’Donoghue suggest that “funds” were “available” to remove Haughey – he also informed McSharry that the Labour Party under its then new leader, Dick Spring, had made it clear that they would be willing to support a Fianna Fail candidate for Taoiseach on the proviso that Haughey was ousted. Anyone old enough to remember the early 1980s will remember the intensity of the media campaign to remove Haughey. As I noted earlier the fact that no Irish journalist ever inquired as to the source of the money O’Donoghue spoke of tells its own story. These are the same media that get into huge lather over politicians’ expenses claims and other trivia – and yet the revelation that a secret fund existed to entice (or bribe?) TDs into helping remove their party leader aroused no interest – and still arouses no interest – in spite of several tribunals into far more minor matters.

        As for Cowen’s removal: how precisely is it possible for a Taoiseach to be removed a few days after winning an overwhelming majority in a parliamentary party vote? Unless that is, there’s a well orchestrated media campaign to unseat him. This is precisely what happened. And as I pointed out in a previous post senior Irish media figures have regularly attended Mi6 aligned Bilderberg and Trilateral gatherings – and many of them also had strong links to the Workers Party – Official IRA. By the way I was no fan of Haughey or Cowen but that’s not the point. It’s quite clear that Cowen didn’t feel comfortable relentlessly bashing Irish nationalists – whereas Martin sees that as the main part of his job description – and thus is fully in tune with the Sindo shower.

        • john cronin

          Maybe the media campaign to remove haughey might have been something to do with the fact that he was the greatest crook who ever held high office in any country in Western Europe?

          • Not true.
            According to the British newspaper a certain relative of the Uk Prime Minster from 1979 got £10 million from the Saudi Arms deal.
            This same party was involved in Matrix Chuchill affair.
            The Brits are very corrupt. It’s just that you are too busy tugging your forelock to notice.
            Italy also suffers from corrupt governments.
            And as much as I don’t like Haughey..He never bankrupted the Country.
            That was Jack Lynch and his crazy spending during and after the 1973 oil crisis.
            and of course Ahern and Cowen put the country on the road to bankruptcy.

            • Spot on ams. This is precisely the problem I have with Irish media commentaries on “corruption” – the implication relentlessly hammered home by the Sindo/Irish Daily Mail/RTE crew that it’s somehow a uniquely Irish characteristic. Really? RBS? HSBC? The London Whale? Only a few days ago it was reported in the British Independent newspaper that the London Metropolitan police is deeply infiltrated with drug gangs and other criminal networks – so heavily infiltrated that it has been impossible to mount effective investigations against such people. And then of course there’s the allegations made by senior British Labour MP Tom Watson, and many others, of establishment paedophile networks that “stretched all the way to Downing Street”. And that’s without getting into the many cases of governmental corruption uncovered in France and Germany. Two wrongs don’t make a right of course, but the masochistic idea, beloved of Dublin 4 revisionist types, that nationalist Ireland was a unique sinkhole of corruption is very easily refuted.

              • Interesting points Colm. I didn’t now about that story with the UK Independent newspaper. It’s only a pity it’s still now owned by INM.
                And those same gobshites in the Independent in Ireland. whilst they reported that the news group was “restructuring” it’s debts.
                They never told us how much the taxpayer bailed out banks would lose because of this restructuring.
                So, what hope of that British rag the “Oirish ” independent holding anybody to account when they benefited hugely from writing off their own debts?
                And why aren’t the Irish people tuned into this?
                Or maybe they approve of it?

              • Wow. I looked that up.I misread your comment first time round.And thought it was the Paper involved!!!!!!!! But now I understand. 2,000 cops. I found the story online. Interesting Stuff.

            • john cronin

              Won’t hear any argument from me. Every human institution contains wrongdoers and bad apples. The British establishment don’t really call it corruption: it’s just looking after your own.

              But Fianna Fail took it to such a different level that you almost have to invent a new word for it: the average FF TD seems to have just thought he deserved to have people give him large sums of money for no good reason than his father and grandfather were TDs.

              How Sean Haughey can even show his face in public, let alone run for office, is just beyond me. If Pearse and Connolly could come back to Dublin a century later and see him canvassing, they might have wondered, well should we have stayed at home that weekend.

          • Or maybe it might have had more to do with the fact that he wasn’t an insider – unlike Bilderberg attendees Mary Robinson, Garret Fitzgerald, Michael McDowell, Pat Cox, et al. Compared to Bilderberger politicians like Blair, who led his country into genocidal wars in former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq, Haughey was in the h’apenny place when it came to corruption. These wars, incidentally were avidly supported by the Sunday Indo and the rest of the revisionist neo-Unionist media in Ireland – the same media that shed oceans of crocodile tears over the violence of 1916 and the War of Independence

          • Oh, I think the Italians, Spanish and Greeks might have given him a run for his money. Though he’s definitely up there.

  7. There may have been “eerie silence” in the South over Paisley (and others) connections with William McGrath et al, but there has been plenty of coverage up here in the North in the Sunday papers, etc : Presumably this means they aren’t controlled by MI6.
    There’s a very simple explanation to Janis’s query about why anyone would co-operate with a Sinn Fein/ I.R.A. investigation into Miss Cahill’s allegations : they regarded West Belfast as their fiefdom and devolved to themselves the right to act as judge, jury and executioner in that fiefdom, as they did in numerous cases, some of the 15 “disappeared” being the most notorious. So if you were asked to co-operate with such an investigation you were likely to do so out of fear, though, of course, depending on the outcome of the “interrogation” you could end up dead anyway.
    Every part of the media has its own slant, its own reason for emphasising some events while ignoring others. For example there was no mention at all in this blog of the recent discovery of the body of Brendan Megraw, one of the “disappeared,” or of the burning down of two Orange Halls in Donegal and the partial burning of a Presbyterian Church. But I would have expected no less, these events simply do not chime with the narrative of the blog.

    • GINGER .
      I disagree with your points raised.
      Firstly those Orange hall attacks would have been covered by the Mainstream media. So, why should this blog do so? It can’t report on everything.
      Second of all and the most important point is that this blog is serving as a Bulwark against the rising tide of Anti Irishness that is served up in particular by the Independent rag.
      Did you read the article republished here that was written by the Independent calling Irish speakers “na Snobbai” and singling out Irish speakers for attack.
      So, how can he write=e about such matters when Irishness is being assaulted by the Irish media?
      If there was a situation, where The Independent didn’t have an agenda of belittling everything about Ireland like it’s language and it’s history. Then there might be room to talk about other things.

    • As I understand it the man now being accused of these offences was acquitted in a British court of law. But even if he wasn’t he’s still innocent until proven guilty. Therefore the Irish media’s treating him as if his guilt is a foregone conclusion is an utter disgrace, and an affront to natural justice. And by the way the same applies to Mary Lou. She may find the accusations against this man “very credible” but her opinion on the matter is objectively worthless unless she has sat in a courtroom and listened to the evidence of both sides. A vicious liberal lynch mob mentality has become the hallmark of modern Irish revisionist liberalism. Anyone who dares to demur when the Sunday Indo/RTE/Irish Times lynch party is in full cry is immediately denounced, Soviet style, as an apologist for heinous crimes. Old-fashioned notions of letting juries decide such matters are implicitly disregarded. And by the way Kincora may have come back into the northern Irish news recently but constitutional Unionism’s proven links with loyalist paramilitaries are still strictly off limits for media both north and south. The idea of UTV or the Belfast Telegraph (much less RTE or the Sindo) pursuing today’s DUP leadership over that party’s publicly expressed support for self-confessed loyalist terrorist Billy Wright in the 1990s is extremely far-fetched. Yet no opportunity is ever lost to revisit historical nationalist/Republican crimes and misdemeanours – real and alleged.

    • Ginger, I have tackled misdeeds by the (Provisional) Republican movement many times on ASF, both in posts and through the Comments. I have also posted links to critical articles on Twitter and Facebook. The proof of that is the highlighting of Maíria Cahill’s case. Unfortunately I can’t cover everything and I tend to focus on those things where I have some knowledge or interest, or where the national and regional media have shown none. I also have a regular job and life too 😉

      As I said before An Sionnach Fionn was never intended to be a political blog. Politics and current affairs just crept in along the way. Frustration with the media elites engendered that.

      I always thought the older you got the more conservative you got. I seem to be going the opposite way.

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