go to the home page
see what Ruth is up to links to all Ruth's non-fiction publications links to all Ruth's crime fictions titles links to most of Ruth's journalist over the last four years
Belfast Telegraph logo
27 February 2017

Ruth Dudley Edwards: Open letter to Mrs O'Neill - being opposed to republicans does not make one sectarian

Michelle OíNeill, Sinn Feinís appointed leader in Northern Ireland
Michelle OíNeill, Sinn Feinís appointed leader in Northern Ireland

Party is following the template of Orwell's 1984 in 'drive against bigotry', writes Ruth Dudley Edwards.

Dear Mrs O’Neill,

I was surprised to see that — unlike other Sinn Fein women — you use the traditional married woman’s title on the Assembly website.

But then you’re based in a traditional part of the country.

It can’t be easy to please that electorate and simultaneously use the self-consciously progressive language your party has lately adopted to appeal to the metropolitan young. The senior citizens who run Sinn Fein have spent decades learning to misuse language and to lie so convincingly they even believe themselves.

Sometimes I think they may actually have wiped from their memories what all those years of death and destruction were about and what they actually did.

They’ve also been adept at brainwashing their followers.

In case no one has told you, Mrs O’Neill, all your IRA heroes killed and died for a united Ireland.

Having conspicuously failed in their aim, your party retrospectively changed the story to pretend it was all about parity of esteem and, no doubt, LGBT rights.

We are told it’s bad manners to mention hypocrisy, as Sinn Fein representatives deplore all the activities of the dissidents — murder, torture, intimidation, criminality and so on that they learnt at the knees of the people who still run your party.

Yet the bleak truth is that the Provos had no more legitimacy than any other paramilitaries.

Which is none.

If it was okay for the young men from Clonoe to make the machine-gun attack on an RUC station that ended in their deaths, then it’s just dandy for the dissidents to put a bomb under the car of a member of the PSNI.

Last week you put your name to an article denouncing the sectarianism of the DUP.

Yes, you, who proudly defend a movement that among other atrocities murdered Protestants on the border to drive families off their land and targeted Catholic policemen so as to sectarianise the RUC, is shocked by the DUP’s sectarianism.

Last week your party produced proposals “on tackling the scourge of sectarianism in northern society”.

The problem with this is not just that it’s gobbledygook, but that your party doesn’t seem to know what sectarianism is, but wants legislation to make it a hate crime anyway.

Mrs O’Neill, I don’t know if you’ve read George Orwell’s 1984, but it’s a wonderful not-to-be-missed story about how a totalitarian government — overseen by Big Brother, whom I’m sure you’ve heard of — uses newspeak and doublethink to distort the truth.

These days Sinn Fein works assiduously to implement the 1984 slogan: “Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.”

Control of the past requires all to see Sinn Fein as a long-standing beacon of tolerance in a world of religious bigotry, and, like Big Brother, it seeks to impose its vision on everyone, and through the clever use of language and intimidation, “make all other modes of thought impossible”.

In 1984, transgression was known as thoughtcrime, and was rooted out by the Thought Police.

After Sinn Fein has legislated to make sectarianism a hate crime, it has a sinister 10-point action plan that includes compulsory sectarian awareness training for anyone, anywhere involved in the public service, in education, trade unions, sport and anywhere else you can think of.

As far as I can read between the lines, your party seems to think sectarianism is caused by religious bigotry and is demonstrated by opposition to any of the social attitudes Sinn Fein has now adopted.

But actually, Mrs O’Neill, sectarianism is not specifically to do with religion, social conservativism or whatever Sinn Fein has decided it is.

It’s to do with loyalty to the ideology of a sect, and in today’s Ireland, is much more commonly political than religious. Your party is a sect, and an intensely intolerant one at that, which is run along totalitarian lines.

If you haven’t noticed, you were imposed by diktat on the membership of an allegedly democratic party.

In its hideous past, Sinn Fein’s paramilitary rulers murdered those who disagreed with them

If your party gets the upper hand politically, I wouldn’t recommend anyone to express a principled objection to gay marriage, immigration or even Brexit.

Or, indeed, to use old-fashioned terminology like “Mrs”.

Yours sincerely,

Ruth Dudley Edwards (Miss)

Ruth Dudley Edwards’ The Seven: The Lives And Legacies Of The Founding Fathers Of The Irish Republic, was published by Oneworld Publications on March 22.

Ruth Dudley Edwards

© Ruth Dudley Edwards