A quick piece on the ongoing Maíria Cahill controversy, in particular the sudden reactivation of a number of anonymous anti-republican blogs which are now collating and reposting press stories on the case, notably the Irish Observer, Dissident Watch and Father Murphy-Dissident Media Watch. On the 24th of October the latter website published the transcript of an alleged 2010 email between leading members of the Republican Network for Unity (RNU) which some have interpreted as supporting Maíria Cahill’s clarification of her association with the party (while raising some new questions of its own). Cahill’s clarification came in the form of a statement issued on the 26th of October and featured on the Sinn Féin-critical news site Slugger O’Toole and several others. Before the posting of the leaked email Father Murphy-Dissident Media Watch had confined itself to republishing media reports critical of the RNU, the 32 County Sovereignty Movement and various minor insurgent groupings, as well as SF. So obtaining the internal RNU correspondence was something of “scoop” for the blog, though one that has yet to be verified.
Now the Irish Observer, a controversial online presence which is the subject of some very murky allegations, has posted on Twitter a 1994 letter purporting to be from the Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams where – amongst other things – he dismisses the victims of abusive attacks by members of the (Provisional) Republican movement during that period. While this initially caused a flurry of excitement amongst various SF-hostile journalists and commentators – with several retweets and likes – it soon proved to be a hoax when the original letter was uploaded by more perceptive Twitter users. Amongst the few to question the posting by the Irish Observer was Maíria Cahill herself who soon dismissed it as a fake, much to her great credit.
While some Sinn Féin supporters have published quite disgusting allegations about Maíria Cahill online (which other far more knowledgeable people have shared through their social media networks, much to their discredit) it should be remembered that plenty of unfounded allegations are coming the other direction too; and more than a few through the country’s pathologically anti-republican (and not just anti-SF) national news media.
A balanced comment. An observer commented to me some time before the Maria Cahill story surfaced that there was a campaign to remove Gerry Adams from the leadership of SF in order to make the party more acceptable to a bourgeois government coalition. The plan would involve replacing him with Mary Lou Mac Donald, who has no background in even political support for the armed struggle, having left FF and joined PSF just at the point it was publicly abandoning the armed campaign of the Provisional IRA.
This campaign, if true, runs alongside a number of campaigns of vilification of SF and of Gerry Adams, both from anti-Republican and SF quarters, which are prepared to use any issue (and often dubious means) to discredit their targets.
I am opposed to GA politically, for his central role in diverting the major part of the Republican Movement away from anti-British Imperialism to collusion with colonialist regime and imperialism in general. I am opposed to Mary Lou Mac Donald for her participation in the direction of PSF since Adams, McGuinness and co. achieved that redirection. There is nothing to choose between them. I will criticise them for their actions in that trajectory as well as for what I see as important faults in their organisations even before they began the road to their current positions. But like you, I feel it is wrong to use other issues to attack them when our main concern is their political position and actions arising therefrom. It is even worse to use dubious methods. Ultimately, campaigns based on such items or employing dubious methods are hostile to political criticism from which we can hope to learn and to use in the construction of viable campaigns of resistance both at the moment and in the future.