Why I highlighted Mairia Cahill’s link to dissident republicansThe blogger An Sionnach Fionn published a blog yesterday evening that quite rightly highlights my tweet last Friday as being part of the catalyst for Mairia Cahill’s eventual admission that she had been a member of the dissident republican group Republican Network for Unity (RNU). See An Sionnach Fionn - http://ansionnachfionn.com/2014/10/27/mairia-cahill-and-the-republican-network-for-unity/
Ms Cahill had in fact been the RNU’s “rúnaí” or secretary as my tweet suggested. It’s important to state that after the whole wall of noise thrown up by her supporters over the weekend regarding her RNU membership, we still haven’t been told exactly when she joined RNU and when she left. Nor has anyone admitted that the real reason my tweet was controversial was that Mairia Cahill and the RNU had, up to that point, declined to mention her membership – to anyone. As an ex Spotlight film maker, I find it incredible that Ms Cahill's membership of RNU was not mentioned in the recent programme about her. Spotlight is usually better than that. The Guardian's media editor Roy Greenslade sent a list of questions to BBC Northern Ireland about this glaring omission - see "BBC programme on IRA rape allegations flawed by lack of political balance." http://www.theguardian.com/media/greenslade/2014/oct/28/bbc-sinn-fein
I will deal with the initial hysterical reaction to my tweet on Friday and the refusal to acknowledge the importance of Mairia Cahill’s RNU membership below, but first let us look at the most important issue of abuse.
As someone who experienced what was occasionally fairly extreme forms of physical abuse as a young boy – including at the age of eight being drop-kicked from the top of a flight of stairs for making too much noise on Christmas morning, and many other things I won’t go into here, I think I know something about abuse and also about reconciliation and forgiveness – in my case with my alcoholic father.
Sexual abuse, in my view, is a higher, more extreme, form of abuse with an added dis-empowerment dimension. Knowing only too well how abuse has irrevocably affected my personality, I can’t begin to imagine the lifelong trauma of those who have suffered sexual abuse, particularly whilst still young.
If it is indeed true that Mairia Cahill was raped or sexually attacked as a teenager, the person who perpetrated that heinous crime should be brought to justice as quickly as possible. But, fortunately, justice cannot be administered via the internet and those who have pronounced the guilt of people already acquitted in a court of law in and around this case (after an extensive legal examination) are the very ones who shout “Smear!” when legitimate questions are raised with regard to the undoubted political dimension to the Mairia Cahill affair.
As I have already made abundantly clear, the legal and political issues at stake here need to be clearly separated. See – “Taoiseach Enda Kenny himself sits in government with people whose former party had an illegal armed wing.” http://www.fadooda.com/index.php?itemid=675
My tweet on Friday last was based on my alarm at the fact that civic and political discourse was being twisted, allegedly to help Mairia Cahill’s cause, but in fact as part of a clear attempt to damage Sinn Féin and almost certainly radical politics in general – the latter being my overriding concern. As my blog article above makes clear, political exploitation of this case is of no help to the alleged victim.
This was the tweet I posted
What this tweet was reacting to was a story run by the Irish Independent with the following headline:
“Mairia Cahill: My grandfather recruited Gerry Adams into the IRA.”
Readers can read this sensationalist article here if they really must:
We have no need to spend any length of time discussing Independent Newspapers’ blatant bias against Sinn Féin.
What alarmed me about this article, however, was that it came directly after Mairia Cahill’s demand that Gerry Adams should resign from Sinn Féin. In other words, last Friday, and after the extraordinary scenes where Taoiseach Enda Kenny fast-tracked Mairia Cahill to a public embrace in a way he has never, to my knowledge, embraced lots of other abuse and violence victims, the Cahill story had moved entirely into the political arena in a way that both demeans politics and did her cause no favours.
The whole atmosphere on Friday was to my mind an extraordinary attempt by the Dublin 4 Commentariat to whip up an anti-Adams psychosis in the minds of the people. Again, with no benefit to Mairia Cahill in the long run. This partitionist kangaroo court par excellence clearly expected the “Shinners” to take a massive hit in the upcoming opinion polls. This rather amazingly failed to happen. SF support was largely unchanged.
But what on earth has the actions of Mairia Cahill’s grandfather got to do with her fight for justice?
Thus, given that the Irish Independent sought to excavate old stories about membership of a now defunct organisation, I sought to raise the question of Mairia Cahill’s own much more recent membership of a group that not only opposes the GFA (perfectly legitimately) but also fiercely opposes both the PSNI and Garda Síochána (southern Irish police).
You would have to be a particularly large ostrich, with your neck and head way down in the sand, not to see that the din being raised about kangaroo courts and being told to keep away from the police by Ms Cahill and her supporters rings rather hollow if Mairia Cahill’s membership of the anti-police RNU was proven – which it now is. How does the RNU deal with indiscipline or problems of abuse within its ranks? It certainly doesn't go to the police North or South.
What happened after the above tweet was that certain internet bloggers moved far too quickly (they now know) for their own good to state that there was no evidence of Ms Cahill being in the RNU (there’s lots of it), and that it was irrelevant anyway. They turned in fact into huge ostriches. Worse, some of them even linked my tweet to anonymous websites and tweeters who are engaged in leaking alleged internal RNU documents and besmirching Mairia Cahill’s reputation in the most objectionable fashion.
In other words these ostriches made an immediate and lazy assumption that my RNU Ard Comhairle tweet on Friday was based on some such anonymous site or tweeter. So for the record, I have never so much as looked at an anonymous website before making my RNU claim public. Anyone who knows me, has an ounce of respect for me, or indeed bothers to contact me, will know that I would never make such a claim without checking the story from impeccable sources.
When the ostriches lifted their heads up, they discovered that Mairia Cahill had admitted to being just what I suggested she had been in terms of her relationship with RNU.
What a strange alliance this is – the Mairia Cahill Sound and Fury Brigade – a meeting of minds between self professed militant republicans and partitionist Neo Con reactionaries who find all things Northern unbearable.
Mairia Cahill, it seems to me, needs the backing of this alliance like a fish needs a hook.
Baile Átha Cliath
Mí Deireadh Fómhair 2014