Fine Gael try to rewrite history - again

Last night the Dáil debated a Green Party motion on the matter of ministerial 'forgetfulness' and corruption. As these things often do, it descended into a slanging match between various deputies, including our own. The mainstream parties lined up to take potshots at Sinn Féin for daring to criticise them. Nothing unusual about that.

What was quite astonishing was Fine Gael TD Fergus O'Dowd asserting that "My party never killed anybody". While that may be technically true (as it is, no less, for Sinn Féin), it is rather ironic given FG's ongoing claim to the legacy of Michael Collins. What exactly does he think the Big Fella was doing during the Easter Rising, Tan and Civil Wars? Throwing stones?

Can't have it both ways lads. Either you have a claim to both Collins himself and the blood he shed, or you have a claim to neither.
I see that Michael McDowell has been forced to apologise to Fine Gael TD Richard Bruton for comparing him to Dr. Goebbels. Well and good.

Now about your comparison of Daily Ireland to the Völkischer Beobachter, Minister McDowell?
Following the media over the past week, you'd think that Bertie's visit to the White House was the biggest thing Washington had seen in years. It's a bit humbling to go onto American media websites and discover that, apparently, nobody over there cares.

Additionally, my sources in D.C. - regular Washington Post readers who take a keen interest in Irish issues - also tell me that the visit by the Rafferty family has gone virtually unnoticed (in fact they haven't noticed it at all; they've never heard of the Raffertys). Certainly the hoopla that surrounded the McCartney family visit is nowhere to be found. And this is only fair, because Joe Rafferty's death had nothing to do with us. At all.

I can say this with absolute certainty. The man who is widely believed to have killed Joe Rafferty lives in my area. There is simply no way he could be a party member without my knowing it. Nor do I recall him taking part in any election campaigns in recent years, as has also been alleged. I can't, of course, speak with certainty about his alleged IRA membership but let's just say that I have no reason to believe he is a member and plenty of reasons to believe he isn't. And I note that even the infamous "garda sources" speaking to the Irish Times say no more than that he was an IRA member at one point. So was Joe Sherlock TD, and nobody would claim that therefore we have a responsibility for everything he does.

I am genuinely of the opinion that the Raffertys' crusade has done their chances of securing a conviction more harm than good. This is for a number of reasons. First, the fact is, and this can be easily ascertained by going back over the media reports they've given, they have changed their story a number of times. The day Joe was shot they told the Times that they "have no idea" why he was targetted. They have since given contradictory accounts of their dealings with the Gardaí and with local Sinn Féin Councillor Daithí Doolan (who is one of the most honourable men I know and completely undeserving of the shite he's had to put up with over the past year). If the case ever gets to court, any half-decent lawyer could use this evidence to undermine the family's credibility.

But I also think the family's campaign has played in a role in keeping the case from progressing at all. The adverse publicity Sinn Féin gets every time the family appears in the media first and foremost benefits our political opponents - some of whom are members of the Garda Síochána and the DPP office, and have an incentive to keep the case open and in the spotlight (possibly more of an incentive than they do to solve it, really, because they aren't being blamed for lack of progress). Furthermore, if there are any independent witnesses to the murder, wouldn't they be less likely to come forward if the campaign has convinced them that, doing so, they would risk the wrath of the 'Ra? It stands to reason, anyway.

The family, unfortunately for all concerned, have been getting bad advice on this. I am hopeful that now that the despicable local Fianna Fáil Councillor Gary Keegan has discovered he can't freewheel their case into Leinster House, he will crawl back under his rock and stop leading them down this futile path. But I suspect there will be many willing to take his place, and justice will be the loser.
... and on yet another note, Daily Ireland quotes newly-announced Green Party candidate for Dublin Central, Patricia McKenna, as stating that she will campaign on "such vital issues as public transport, in particular the long overdue need for a direct rail connection to Dublin Airport".

Now I like Patricia. I really do. And I fully agree with the need for a rail connection to the airport. But ... as a primary campaigning issue? In this constituency? She must be joking. I've lived in Dublin Central for many years and cannot remember anyone ever mentioning this as one of the area's most pressing needs. Frankly, I doubt it would even make the top 10.

I guess Patricia still hasn't learned much about the constituency, since the time she showed up at a public meeting in the North Inner City wearing a Save The Wales badge :)
On another matter, I was very sorry to read today that Albert Fullerton, son of the late murdered Sinn Féin Councillor Eddie Fullerton, has been in a serious car accident. I met Albert recently when he came to Dublin to campaign for an inquiry into his father's assassination by a loyalist hit squad, and besides my strong admiration for him, I found him a very pleasant person. It will be a terrible tragedy if he does not live to see justice for his father. Best wishes Albert.

ETA. I've just heard that he has died. This is terrible news.
I see the Mirror is describing one of the thugs responsible for the murder of Donna Cleary as an 'IRA hitman'. Well, I suppose it was only a matter of time before someone blamed this on republicans. As it happens, the person referred to in that article is a neighbour of one of my party colleagues, who assures me that the guy - who he describes as a serious player in the drugs importation business - "couldn't be further removed from us". In fact, his most recent contact with this criminal ended with a brick thrown through his (my colleague's) window.

So another tabloid lie. Big surprise considering that this same Mirror 'journalist' - one Jimmy Cunningham - was the one who claimed, wholly in contradiction to every source on the matter, that Sinn Féin had orchestrated last month's riots.
I have been utterly disgusted, over the past 24 hours, to hear several members of the D4 set say that they hope Love Ulster come back to Dublin, that they would "welcome" them.

For God's sake has this country taken leave of its senses?

It is one thing to believe that Willie the Bigot Frazer and co. have a right to freedom of speech. I agree that they do. I also believe that David Irving has a right to freedom of speech and should not be locked up in prison for denying the holocaust. But I'm not going to fecking invite him to Dublin to do so! And nor, I suspect, would most of those who are now champing at the bit for UVF supporters to march down our streets.

Just because someone has the right to spew their ignorance and hatred does not mean that we have any obligation to encourage them to do so.
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