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Sinn Féin - revolutionaries or reactionaries?

THE PROVISIONAL republican movement as represented by Sinn Féin and the IRA is quickly being assimilated into the the framework of Irish political life. All the previous posturing of sweeping away the hated 'Free State' regime after the Six Counties had been `liberated' by the army of the True Republic have evaporated. All that remains is their pathological hatred of all things unionist, Protestant, 'West British' and any form of Ulster patriotism. Far from sweeping the institutions of the Leinster House regime away, Sinn Féin's president Gerry Adams has invested great store in the survival of Albert Reynolds 'Working for the Yankee dollar' ill-fated coalition government.
Both Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams came out openly in favour of Reynolds remaining in office, despite the obvious corruption which riddles the Fianna Fail party. Apparently this was essential to promote the survival of the Adams-Hume led 'peace process'. It is often forgotten that at the time the Provisional IRA was set up it was financed and encouraged to break away from the then Official republican movement by a conspiracy of Éire government ministers led by Neill Blaney, Kevin Boland and Charles Haughey. All were members of Albert Reynolds' party, Fianna Fail the Republican Party. The deal for the Provos was that they confine their military activities to the 'Six County Area' and they would be left alone by the Southern authorities. Relations between the Provos and Fianna Fail were often strained during the last 25 years but have now improved since the consolidation of a pan-Irish nationalist strategy under the leadership of Gerry Adams and John Hume of the SDLP.
Another area where Sinn Fein's pseudo-revolutionary rhetoric has softened is in its attitude to the United States. At one time An Phoblacht was full of anti-imperialist posturing designed to impress their groupies and camp-followers among the British and European left. There were often strong condemnations of US interference in the Middle East, Nicaragua and wherever. Even then, however, it was apparently in order for US politicians to interfere in Ulster's domestic affairs provided that they were advancing Sinn Féin's political agenda. Things like the MacBride Principles were all right but not US government support for other parties like the SDLP. In 1986 it was announced that the SDLP were to receive training from the National Democratic Institute, a subsidiary of the American government's National Endowment for Democracy. At the time, Sinn Fein's northern chairman Mitchell McLaughlin said "Institutes such as the NDI and the NED include the term 'democratic' in their title, yet their actions are far from democratic, meddling as they do in the politics of other countries in order to set up regimes there which further US foreign policy abroad, using methods which would not be backed by the US Congress... It is obvious that the SDLP has already received assistance in terms of cash and training, but what is the quid pro quo?"
As far as we at Ulster Nation are aware there has been no change in the status of either the NDI or the NED. However, Sinn Féin's attitude seems to have changed as it was announced after one of Gerry Adams' numerous US trips that Sinn Féin are now to receive training from the NDI. Since the formation of the SF/SDLP pact it now appears that the Provos are to take their own cut of the Yankee gold. Will there be many more scathing indictments of US foreign policy in the columns of An Phoblacht in the coming months? Not likely! The Dublin Sunday Tribune asked Mr McLaughlin for an explanation for his about-turn on this issue but he declined to comment. We wonder why!


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