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Sunday 20 November 2005

SF's alternative reality: now on eBay

WHAT would Padraig Pearse have made of eBay, where last time I looked there was a €15.50 bid for a 1966 Pearse 10-bob coin?

Admittedly, he was always keen on using the most modern technologies to get his message across, but I can see him giving a shudder at how low republicans have sunk.

Take the trade in spoof Northern Bank notes. One vendor is flogging "beautifully crafted notes - unique and exclusive to me", picturing Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness on €20 notes with Michael Collins on the back (one bid of €1.49). Another, similar but more ambitious, offers some Irish Humour. The prints (€4.50) are in relation to a bank raid in December 2004. Jerry [sic] is portrayed on a €10 note, while Martin is on the €20. You also get a thank-you letter from P O'Neill.

Sinn Fein, of course - being as capitalist in practice as they are socialist in theory - are in on the act. Their shop is pushing a copy of their mendacious Sinn Fein: a Century of Struggle, signed "by some of the most influential Irish republicans of this generation". Seeing that along with Adams these include Aengus O Snodaigh and the ineffable Mary Lou offers hope that the Provo takeover of the Republic may have to be postponed owing to a shortage of talent.

After 11 bids the book reached $310, but it's very much the jewel in the crown. Trade in republican merchandise is sluggish. At $13.33 there are no takers for a "Sinn Fein hurling sliotar! IRA GAA PIRA Ulster".

No wonder they had to rob the Northern Bank. 

Ruth Dudley Edwards

© Ruth Dudley Edwards