​Last week, in Dáil Éireann, a slew of senior politicians from Fianna Fail and Fine Gael took the gloves off and said in no uncertain language what they think of Sinn Fein.

Published: 12 December 2023

After the Dublin riots, which shook the country badly, the Shinners had hurled blame around and moved in for the kill. But they had got their timing badly wrong.

By forcing a vote of no confidence in Helen McEntee, the Minister for Justice, Sinn Fein planned to have her and the Garda Commissioner sacked, but moving in for the kill left them badly hurt.

For what it’s worth, I’m not impressed by McEntee. She’s taking the fashionable line of blaming the far right without being able to explain what she means by the expression and is bringing in a draconian bill controlling hate speech without being able to define hate.

However I’m hoping the fault lies with the Greens, who are in the coalition government along with Fianna Fail and Fine Gael and reliably daft like most Greens everywhere and deeply self-righteous, authoritarian and anti-free speech.

So for now I’m giving McEntee the benefit of the doubt and guessing this has been a bargaining counter within government and the two main parties would like the dreadful bill to be defeated in the Dail.

She may even be a heroine prepared to take one for the team.

As for Drew Harris, the commissioner, whose two predecessors were forced to resign, he’s having the rocky ride all commissioners can expect, compounded by being hated by republicans because the IRA murdered his RUC father. As we know, unapologetic perpetrators hate their victims.

Proceedings were dominated by expressions of dislike, revulsion and loathing and angry accusations that Mary Lou McDonald had told barefaced lies.

She was in brazen mode, as she and her colleagues always are.

But bear in mind that Sinn Fein – which I’m pleased to report is slipping a bit in the polls – would rely on one of those parties to form a government. That cannot be done without some measure of trust. There isn’t any.

Now let me make it clear – I don’t think that in their present unapologetic mode Sinn Fein should be in power anywhere. I also deplore the double standards applied by many southerners.

But as everyone says these days, “We are where we are”. And where we are is that Sinn Fein are the main opposition party and still ahead in the polls. They confidently expect to lead the next government: in their wildest moments of optimism they hope for an outright majority.

That would be bad for absolutely everyone except the members and supporters of the Sinn Fein cult.

At last democrats are beginning to face up to the threat, recognising that to have Sinn Féin in power in the Republic would enormously strengthen their influence in London, Brussels and the United States.

It would also be potentially catastrophic for the Republic. And justice is becoming the touchstone.

Because Sinn Fein would not acknowledge war crimes, said Varadkar, “is why we cannot have a Sinn Féin taoiseach, a Sinn Féin justice minister and a Sinn Féin defence minister, in the next government or any government”.

Other deputies were even rougher. As Agriculture Minister Martin Haydon put it, “I do not see anything except the dark, sinister forces that would like to change how justice prevails in this country because of their Sinn Féin background – a portfolio that they would even be allowed to hold up in Northern Ireland, never mind here.”

One of the most powerful was Fine Gael Deputy Alan Dillon. “We should remember that Sinn Féin can never be trusted with law and order, especially when the influence of the IRA army council remains within its ranks.

“Sinn Féin is a party with a dark history of condoning murder and terrorism, even against gardaí and police officers. Its bullying, vindictive threats and malicious lawsuits against anyone who opposes it unmasks its dictatorial tactics.

“In the face of its shameful actions, this government stands strong, defending those who work tirelessly to protect our communities. Sinn Féin’s vote of no confidence is nothing but a cynical ploy and we will not be rocked by its divisive agenda. “

Let’s hope that’s true.

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