The Blanket

Lower Than The Lowest of the Low

Liam O Ruairc

Sinn Fein has reached a new low by claiming that the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) is failing to clamp down on the `Real IRA' in south Down. The Sunday Business Post reported Sinn Fein MLA Mick Murphy as saying that "There is a lot of dissident activity in the area, but the PSNI has done nothing about it."

This is particularly sinister as less than three days after those comments were published, the PSNI arrested two Republican activists in the South Down area.

These quotes come not from the Sunday Times or the Daily Telegraph, but from a paper fairly sympathetic to the party. So far, neither Mick Murphy or Sinn Fein have come forward to complain that their position has been misrepresented.

How are these comments to be interpreted? Sinn Fein is probably testing the reactions of Nationalist grassroots. First use a middle-ranking representative in a rural area to see what the reactions will be to figure if it is safe for a more proeminent figure to issue a similar statement. If Mr Murphy's comments fail to stir any controversies at a local or a national level, Sinn Fein representatives are likely not to oppose a tougher stance against so-called dissident Republican groupings.

Mr Murphy also added that "the PSNI is not accepted in the south Down area". Is this because they are failing to clamp down on the Real IRA? And if the PSNI is not accepted, does this in turn authorise the Provisionals to take actions against dissidents like for example killing Joseph O Connor?

This raises problematic questions. Sinn Fein representatives have previously acknowledged that they recognised the legitimacy of the Gardai in the 26 counties. Does this mean that the party is not opposed to the repressive stance against Republican groups down south? In particular, does the party oppose the use of supergrasses like David Rupert? Are Sinn Fein TDs opposed to the Special Criminal Courts?

Mr Murphy's comments are even further to the right than the position of someone like the late Eamon Collins - the South Down supergrass. In his book "Killing Rage", Eamon Collins didn't criticize the RUC for failing to clamp down on the activities of the Provisional IRA, but argued that the way forward was to boost the more moderated/centrist element within Republicanism.

For Mr Murphy to have a similar position would have been to argue that the Sinn Fein leadership should try to stengthen the 32CSM and encourage them to persuade the RIRA to call down their campaign. There is a Republican song called "The Supergrass", and the supergrass is said to be "the lowest of the low". With such comments, some people in Sinn Fein are even lower than "lowest of the low" supergrass Eamon Collins.






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The only valid censorship of ideas is the right of people not to listen.
- Tommy Smothers

Index: Current Articles

19 September 2002


Other Articles From This Issue:


Belfast's "Poor White Trash" and the Dead Dogmas of the Past
Brian Kelly


Top Cat

Anthony McIntyre


Lower Than The Lowest of the Low
Liam O Ruairc


Civil Rights Vets Launch Status Campaign
Fionnbarra Ó Dochartaigh


Peace Rather than Pipedreams
Sean Smyth


Bush War
Anthony McIntyre


15 September 2002


Suppression of Dissent: What it is and what to do about it
Brian Martin


Chief Constable Orde
Terry O'Neill


Yes, Yes, RUC, It's The Force to Set Us Free

Anthony McIntyre


2 Quit Human Rights Commission
October Fifth Association


What's Good For the Goose
Anthony McIntyre


A Burning Issue
Davy Carlin




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