At first, I thought it was a wind-up when I read, on a blog called El Blogador, which seems to be run by one of the SDLP's ever-dwindling true believers, that the Deputy Head Stoop Eddie Espie has called for Gerry Adams to resign over the Denis Donaldson affair. In fact, I had to Google "Eddie Espie" just to make sure he was a real person! He does appear to actually be the SDLP's Vice Chair, but I haven't seen independent confirmation of this statement; El Blogador doesn't provide a link and it doesn't appear on (where clicking on "Latest News" takes you to a statement dated the 1st in which Alex Attwood hilariously demonstrates his flexible definition of "proof"). But I will take El Blog's word for it; it's certainly daft enough for a Stoop to say.

Here is the statement in full:

"This project of super collusion happened under Gerry Adams' watch. For twenty years, Denis Donaldson, one of Adams' closest allies, has been feeding information to the British intelligence services.

"Only a few days ago, Gerry Adams was happy to appear alongside Donaldson on the steps of Stormont, presenting him as a 'victim of securocrats' and trying to tell everyone to move on from the Stormontgate affair.

“Now it transpires that Adams was singing the praises of an arch-British agent. As party leader throughout the period of Donaldson's double agency, Gerry Adams was party leader. The buck stops with him. Then only option now open is for Gerry Adams to resign.

“That is the only way in which nationalists can start to put trust in Sinn Féin again.

“Over the past few weeks, we have seen Sinn Féin/ British collusion over OTRs and super-councils which have eradicated nationalists' belief that Sinn Féin is operating in the best interests of the people of the north.

“This whole debacle is the straw that has broken the camel's back. Nationalists no longer trust Sinn Féin, and as party leader, Gerry Adams must step up to the mark and take responsibility for this.

“The SDLP will be pushing for the full facts of this whole affair to be revealed. The people of the north deserve the truth.”

Eddie, a chara, Gerry Adams will step down when and if Sinn Féin members and supporters start to lose faith in him. That has not happened and will not happen as a result of this affair. In fact, judging by the comments of SDLP supporters over on Slugger O'Toole, you guys have a lot more to worry about on that front than we do.
Like everyone else in Sinn Féin, I'm absolutely stunned at the news about Denis Donaldson, disgusted at the man personally, and heartbroken for his family, who don't deserve to be put through this. I simply cannot understand what would drive someone to do what he did - particularly someone who had previously done so much for the cause.

Questions need to be asked about how far up in the British Government his role was known. How many of those who publicly accused the republican movement of running a spy ring knew all along that the only spy was their own? How many knew that the Assembly was being collapsed on completely false pretences?

At the moment I'm just completely disillusioned with this whole peace process malarkey. Republicans have given and given and given, we've made compromises that were unimaginable just a few years ago and we are getting absolutely fucking nothing back because fundamentally the Brits and unionists just do not want the agreement to work. At some point we are going to have to question whether it is even worth our while anymore.

The plot thickens

Today's Times states, incorrectly, that An examination of newspaper records shows that it carried articles written by Mr Connolly every week in the period April-June 2001, with the single exception of the April 15th edition. This was five days after Mr McDowell, citing information from the Colombian authorities, alleges the journalist entered the Farc-controlled region as part of a "well-organised sinister enterprise". So what is this article then?

Suddenly Liam Lawlor's death seems a lot more sinister ...
I am, of course, 100% behind the campaign for an All-Ireland soccer team. It only makes sense, and I'm even willing to put up with that musical abomination, "Ireland's Call", if I have to (but only if).

As for whether "God Save The Queen" should be sang at Norn Iron games, I'll leave that to people who actually care about Windsor Park attendance. But I must say I nearly fell over laughing reading UUP Councillor Jim Rodgers's comments about it in the linked article:

I'm a strong believer of 'when in Rome, do as the Romans do'.

Had Jim's ancestors shared this philosophy when they arrived on this island, there'd have been no Norn Iron to begin with. And that's not even starting in on the irony of a Unionist calling for emulation of Romans ...

"You Couldn't Make It Up" Department

The Ceann Comhairle has disallowed requests to adjourn the Dáil to discuss the unconstitutionality of the Minister's actions on the grounds that ... it's not an appropriate forum for serious allegations of this kind.

Oh the irony.

On McDowell

I haven't intended not to post lately, but things get very busy for me this time of year. I don't even have time for this post! But it needs to be said.

Regardless of whether Frank Connolly actually has "questions to answer", regardless of whether he's guilty at all, those who are defending Michael McDowell's actions should ask themselves this question: what has McDowell achieved? If Connolly did break the law, he is no nearer to being brought to justice. If anything the opposite is probably true: if the DPP does ever decide to prosecute, he'll have a very strong case to argue that his right to a fair trial has been compromised.

McDowell can't possibly be unaware of this, so the intention can only have been to stain Connolly's character. The release of this information, and use of Dáil privilege for this purpose, is simply indefensible. And by engaging in such petty, vindictive behaviour, McDowell has primarily succeeded in staining his own.

He should resign.
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