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Letter on claims that Sinn Fein has betrayed the Palestinians

Greetings Comrades,

I am a former member of Sinn Féin who still lives in a Republican and working-class community. I see a lot of point to your views on Sinn Féin and the peace process. But I think you hit the wrong note in your article: Sinn Féin, the IRA and the betrayal of the Palestinians by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh

The idea that: "Sinn Féin prefers a hooley, even some furtive carnal or political romance in the halls of power rather than show their solidarity with the Palestinians. They are in love with power, money and the screams from Gaza make them uncomfortable."

Is not true, is offensive and will put off the people who might otherwise listen to you. The leaders put forward a political analysis and the members accept it. If you want to oppose this, kick the ball and not the player.




Thinking of Sinn Féin, trying not to think of Palestine

Gearóid Ó Loingsigh

22 February 2024

Biden poses for a selfie with Gerry Adams.

To my surprise I have received some feedback from a Republican on my article Sinn Féin, the IRA and the betrayal of the Palestinians, published on this site and elsewhere in which I took issue Sinn Féin’s abominable decision to fly to Washington to meet and greet Joe Biden, a man whose hands drip with Palestinian blood.  Though given the scale of the genocide, dripping with blood is an understatement as Palestinian blood gushes off his hands, like a burst oil well.

There were a number of points made, some of them more important than the others.  One, was my insinuation that corruption was at the heart of the decision, that Sinn Féin were not going to give up on a hooley and a lavish shindig paid for by others.  My comment on the matter was a bit facetious in part.  I did describe the event as a hooley, and it is fair to say that it is a lot more than that, though the drunken shenanigans are  a part of the festivities and the informal deals to be struck.  Colum Eastwood from the SDLP stated that “I could not rub shoulders, drink Guinness and have the craic while the horrifying impacts of the brutal war in Gaza continue”(1) I had stated that “Sinn Féin prefers a hooley, even some furtive carnal or political romance in the halls of power rather than show their solidarity with the Palestinians.  They are in love with power, money and the screams from Gaza make them uncomfortable.”

There is a part of those sentences that is obviously tongue in cheek.  I don’t actually believe that Mary Lou will be trying to get her leg over anyone at the White House, though I wouldn’t discount any of the lower ranking minions on the junket trying their hand.  The furtive political romance was a more serious comment.  St Patrick’s Day at the White House is one for showcasing Ireland, not just in the paddywhackery sense of the word, but it is where informal and formal discussions can take place on economic policy, foreign policy and other matters.  Not for nothing that Varadkar used last year’s event to shore up his support for the NATO proxy war in Ukraine with a false historical narrative about US government support for Irish freedom.(2)  The government’s own propaganda about its importance actually says as much.

Sinn Féin have various corrupt reasons for going.  I should point that there are various forms of corruption, there is the type of corruption of brown paper envelopes from Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael politicians seeking or giving favours.  There is another type of corruption, which is that where politicians go along with policies they know to be wrong, immoral, damaging or dangerous for reasons of political expediency, as part of an overall strategy or because money will be legally made by the chosen few as a result of these decisions.  Current government policies around vulture funds, the bank bailout (for which Sinn Féin also voted), privatization of the health industry etc., are examples of this type of corruption. I have no doubt that Sinn Féin members are involved in the brown paper envelope type of corruption, the building industry still reeks of Republican involvement, though they have a long way to go yet to outdo Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.  But it is more the latter type of corruption that is important.

Two and a half years ago, Pearse Doherty stated that “big business and investors know Sinn Féin won’t go after them”(3)  The issue has come up again recently with Sinn Féin seeking to assure US companies that the corporate tax rate is safe with them.  The new head of the Industrial Development Authority Fergal O’ Rourke, in January this year described Sinn Féin as being on an outreach programme to reassure US companies.(4)  He was fulsome in his praise for Sinn Féin and he wasn’t the only one.  Henry Goddard from Deloitte Ireland claimed that Sinn Féin had done a good job in calming down international investors by reaching out to them, by meeting with them and even Mary Lou McDonald visiting Silicon Valley was cited as an example.  He stated “Fair play to Sinn Féin, they went out to the US, they engaged, said all the right things and provided a lot of confidence.  They now need to follow through on that.”(5)

They are going to Washington to follow through, to reassure not only US businesses but the Irish capitalist class that the economy will be in safe hands with them and those business leaders from IBEC, various companies like PwC and others who have praised Sinn Féin are not mistaken.  Sinn Féin has stated that it is worried that it might not win the next election and has repeatedly spoken about reassuring the so-called business community.

The other aspect of the visit is that were they not to go, it would send a message to their reactionary base in the US that they are on the side of “Islamic terrorists”.  It doesn’t matter how true this is, their base in the US has never been very discerning about these issues.  It will also give the government parties something to beat them with and allow them to claim that Sinn Féin are a party unfit for bourgeois government.

Implicit in the feedback is the idea that my criticisms of the provos would annoy or offend Republicans who would otherwise be open to the general message i.e. kick the ball not the player.  But the player and the ball cannot be separated in politics.  If someone is upset at facetious comments about romances and would otherwise be won around, then they clearly haven’t appreciated the scale of the slaughter in Gaza, nor Biden’s role in it and Sinn Féin’s ditching of what would, once upon a time, have a no brainer for their base. Proof is in the pudding and the fact that some Sinn Féin supporters see through the party’s position shows that those who can be won round have been won round already.  Those in attendance at the meeting from which three Palestinians were ejected are all lost causes, political degenerates.

This brings us to the last item which is how Sinn Féin is selling this to their base.  Part of the criticism of kicking the player is that Sinn Féin has taken a position, spelt it out publicly and its members have accepted this.  This is not how democracy works in that organisation.  But the position was best spelt out by Gerry Adams.  He stated that Palestinians would understand why they had to go.  Would they really?  Apart from the corrupt and contemptible Palestinian Authority that spends a full third of its budget on security and repressing other Palestinians, who in Palestine would understand?  The parents who saw their children shot and bombed? The prisoners? The families of prisoners?  The thousands of people who pulled others from the rubble with their bare hands? Or just Abbas who busy stifling Palestinian dissent has had little to say or do on the genocide.

Adams made one further point.  He claimed there was a lack of coherence amongst Sinn Féin critics.

“Some folks are saying the Sinn Féin leadership shouldn’t meet with the American political system… They are not saying we shouldn’t meet with the British political system. The Brits are up to their neck in this.”(6)
He is right about the contradiction, but it doesn’t absolve him, rather it condemns those who are ambivalent about it.  All Adams is pointing out, indeed boasting about, is that they are in cahoots with British imperialism and treasure that relationship as much as they do their “special relationship” with the US.  He went on to underline this point.
Serious people involved in struggle, particularly people who are involved in national liberation struggles, understand that your own struggle whether it be internationalist has to be your primary focus.

So, they will expect you to raise their issues and we should.  They would expect you to stand with them, and so we should.  But they would not expect us to do anything - any more than we would expect them to do anything - which would set back our own struggle.

So, I think it’s Irish-America’s day, it may be dominated by what’s happening in Washington.(7)

Adams, clearly hasn’t a clue about what an internationalist struggle is.  How could boycotting Biden harm the Irish struggle?  Adams question goes to the heart of the matter, he and Sinn Féin, not only cling to the illusion that the Irish peace process is bringing unity closer but also that US imperialism plays a progressive role in Ireland and that upsetting Biden would be a set back and annoy a regime that is committed to some progressive outcome in Ireland.  Adams is not the only one to believe in this progressive role of US imperialism, Yasser Arafat also believed in it and thus we got the Oslo Accords and 30,000 people in Gaza have been murdered by this progressive imperialism of Adams and Arafat.

Courting reactionary elites in the US is not putting the Irish struggle first, it is continuing with Sinn Féin’s gallop to the right.  It is to paraphrase the expression about the struggle for socialism in Ireland that Labour Must Wait!  Now Palestine must wait, indeed everything and everyone must wait.  What must never happen is that US imperialisms and Sinn Féin’s reactionary base in the US be upset.

Whilst the Republican who gave the feedback is clearly aware of Sinn Féin’s limitations on the issue of Palestine, there is no republican milieu waiting to be won round on this issue that may be put off by the tone of my last piece or other such pieces by other writers elsewhere.  There is no world in which the player and the ball do not both get a well-deserved kicking, indeed, were I in a position to do so, I would give them the hiding of their lives.  Alas my efforts are unfortunately more modest than that.  Anyone who is Republican and thinks Sinn Féin is right to go to Washington is thinking only of Sinn Féin and not of Palestine.  They are, like Adams and co, looking the other way in the midst of a genocide, something you would have thought was an easy issue to take a position on.  But when you drink of the Peace Process Kool Aid, you don’t drink half the glass, but chug the whole glass down in one go, like Mean Joe Greene in the famous Coca Cola ad of the 1970s.  Like Greene, Sinn Féin has been asked to reshoot the scene time and again.  Greene vomited after his sixth coke, though he had to swallow eighteen, 16-ounce bottles on the final day of shooting.(8)  There is no end to what peace process supporters are asked to swallow and unlike Greene, no sign anyone in Sinn Féin is about the puke at the nauseous spectacle of being asked to sideline a genocide for the meet and greet in Washington DC.


(1)  The Derry Journal (29/01/2024) SDLP Leader, Derry MP Colum Eastwood 'cannot in good conscience' go to US for St Patrick's Day.  Brendan McDaid.

(2)  Remarks by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the White House Shamrock Ceremony and St. Patrick’s Day Reception

(3)  Irish Independent (10/10/2021) Pearse Doherty Interview: ‘Big business and investors know Sinn Féin won’t go after them’ Hugh O’ Connell.

(4)  Business Post (14/01/2024) IDA boss reveals Sinn Féin plans to woo US firms on corporate tax. Donal MacNamee and Lorcan Allen.

(5)  Ibíd.,

(6) Irish Independent (27/01/2024) Gerry Adams says calls for Sinn Féin to boycott St Patrick's Day visit to US are ‘inconsistent’. Maeve McTaggart and Hugh O’Connell.

(7) Ibíd.,

(8)  See Pendergrast, M - For God, Country and Coca Cola.  New York. Basic Books. paragraph 34.99 and footnote 34.117

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