By Red Hugh
FIANNA Fail leader Micheal Martin was all over the radio on Monday telling everyone who would listen Sinn Fein wanted to be ‘treated differently’.
He didn’t see the irony in that comment at all as the opposite is actually the case. Sinn Fein wants to be treated exactly the same as everyone else.
Last week leading South Armagh republican Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy appeared before the Special Criminal Court in Dublin.
As far as I know he’s the only person ever to appear before that court on tax evasion charges.
Now as we all know in this country we have had numerous public figures tell various tribunals over the past decade or so they won money on the horses, that they were given ‘a dig out’, that millions shifting between various building societies/banks were not in any way illegal etc but not one of those has appeared at the Special Criminal Court on tax evasion charges.
In fact, few have appeared in any court. Make of that what you will.
Sinn Fein has signed up to policing in the north. Their relationships with the Garda Siochana seems excellent.
Martin McGuinness, the north’s Deputy First Minister, has long spoke out in condemnation of criminal gangs operating along the border.
The Troubles are over. Most republicans, therefore, thought they were living in a new dispensation, that when facing courts or legal proceedings republicans would be treated the same as everyone else. Not so.
Talking to a few of the old stagers in Republican circles over the weekend the issue is not about whether he is innocent or guilty.
Most, believe it or not, had no problem with the court’s verdict – but the singling out of Murphy for an appearance before the Special Criminal Court.
As one man angrily, put it, ‘We’re seemingly now the white negroes of the southern establishment’.
While McGuinness and Adams and the other politicos can’t or won’t say it, the folk at grassroots will.
There’s an election coming up and the political and legal establishment is the south is hell bent on doing as much damage to Sinn Fein as possible.
That’s their belief. And it’s not going to change no matter how much Micheal Martin, Enda Kenny or the Minister for Justice disputes or dismisses that viewpoint.
The establishment, they will tell you, is running scared at the rise of Sinn Fein and it’s using every ‘dirty trick’ to smear Republicans.
And that, folks, is why no matter what muck is thrown at SF by Fianna Fail, Enda Kenny or the Sunday Independent, its core support never changes. The siege mentality is running strong.