I’m pleased to report yet another victory for the right to tell the truth about this party, writes Ruth Dudley Edwards
Published: 1 March 2020
I didn’t know until last week that there had been three complaints to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) about a column of mine that had been given the headline “Sinn Fein’s rise akin to that of Nazis in 1930s and is a threat to democracy on this island”.
It was written after the Irish general election, the results of which, I said, reminded many of us who know Sinn Fein as puppets of the IRA army council, of events in Germany in 1932 which led to Hitler becoming chancellor. There was lots of the usual Shinner abuse on Twitter and much self-righteous posturing about my use of the word Nazi.
One complainant told IPSO that the “slandering” comparison with the Nazis was “pure bigotry” and had breached the code on discrimination and accuracy, as it “insights (I guess the complainant meant ‘incites’) hatred and compounds fears towards a specific political party”.
A second complainant added harassment for good measure and described me as “sectarian and indeed racist”, stoking “hate, anger, resentment and further sectarianism on the basis of the twisted fantasy”. The complainant demanded the redaction of the article, a full public apology and the classifying of it as the crime of hate speech.
They should all read a bit of history. The Sinn Fein leadership is very proud of an IRA past in which it allied itself with the Nazis as well as several other very nasty regimes.
In 1940, when Germany had already invaded and forcibly occupied five countries the IRA leadership announced that Hitler’s Germany was “the energising force” of European politics and the “guardian” of national freedom.
If “German forces should land in Ireland, they will land … as friends and liberators of the Irish people”.
Their chief of staff, Sean Russell, went off to Berlin where he was fêted as a representative of the Irish Republic, met leading Nazis and advised on their military plans for the invasion of Britain.
The IRA’s main publication, War News, was not just pro-Nazi, it was very pleased that the “cleansing fire” of the German armies was driving the Jews from Europe. Belfast, it claimed, was increasingly “in the hands of international Jewry” and the de Valera government was dominated by the “Jews and Freemasons” who were becoming the “new owners of Ireland”.
Sean Russell died of a burst ulcer that summer on a U-boat without ever having the chance to demonstrate that if the Germans had won he would have been as assiduous in rounding up political opponents of the Nazis and Jews as were collaborators in other occupied nations.
With IRA leaders present, The National Graves Association unveiled a statue to Russell in 1951, years after the world knew the horrors of the concentration camps. We are still shamed by being the only city in Europe with a statue to Nazi collaborator. (If you want more detail on this, I recommend an excellent article by Dr Brian Hanley in History Ireland: https://www.historyireland.com/20th-century-contemporary-history/oh-heres-to-adolph-hitler-the-ira-and-the-nazis/).
The tweeters will claim this is nothing to do with modern Sinn Fein. Unfortunately, it has.
First, there’s the awkward matter of Sinn Fein’s attendance in Fairview Park in 2003, when senior IRA member Brian Keenan spoke of Russell never being far from Patrick Pearse’s own position “as a patriot, preferring death to slavery”.
Sinn Fein’s president, Mary Lou McDonald, has done nothing to alter the party’s constitution, which does not recognise the Irish state established in 1922, the 1937 constitution or the legitimacy of the garda and the defence forces.
Sinn Fein is redolent with anti-Semitism, peddles vicious Anglophobia and hatred of northern Protestants, worships its terrorists and demonstrates its innate fascism by having an armed wing directing it.
Its activists also abhor a free Press, sue for libel at every opportunity and, since the election, are demanding that anti-Sinn Fein opinion be suppressed. Sounds pretty threatening to me.
I’m pleased to say IPSO rejected all the complaints. We democrats fight on.