A Letter to Mairia

It’s a great relief to be able to sit down and have a wee private chat.

You impress me, you impress me a lot, because you are resolutely levering the rot in the Republican movement out of the wall like so much woodworm, and it needs done.

Republicanism is a *GOOD* thing, but as with every form of insurrection sooner or later the bad guys gain control. Look back at history, you will not find an exception. Treating people as property because they are black? ABOMINATION, no confusion there, it is the duty of every victim to rebel and fight for freedom for their children – and they were heros that did, no question…

Haiti was the aftermath, and nobody wants to rerun Haiti here.

I have always been a Republican, since I was ten and the riots broke out while we were on a camping holiday and all we had in the evenings was the radio.

It was all very simple and obvious to me:

  • Cutting a corner off a small island and hanging on to it is preposterous
  • Giving some people more votes than others is absolutely unfair, and cannot be allowed.
  • Hating people just because they are Protestant or Catholic is too weird for words.

…and that pretty much sums it up for me to this day. Sort that and the world is on the right track.

My former support for Sinn Fein was quite separate. I was living in London when I realized that the achingly sincere, gentle giant who took time out from a hunger strike protest at the All Ireland to comfort me about the missing puppy I was frantically trying to find, and reassure me that it WASN’T trivial compared to their protest and my strident Brit accent was totally irrelevant was now the leader of Sinn Fein.

(The curious automaton with glittering eyes and crocodile teeth he seems to have become chills me to the bone. It seems to me that it is not the tide of opinion that has changed, it is Gerry Adams the man, irrevocably, and not for the better.)

Way back when (as voiced by Stephen Rea doing a great Gerry Adams impression, just to give you an idea of how ridiculous that ban was in practice) I was immediately struck by what a tragedy it was that Gerry Adams would never get a chance to show his ability in peacetime politics, because it seemed to me that he would have a lot of brave and innovative things to bring to the table.

I said so, and took a beating from my then partner over it, a very serious beating too (this was not a man I loved, long story, but the important part is, yes, I DO know how it feels to be scared and intimidated into an ongoing association with an older man you despise, and that is well worse than rape, it lasts much longer.I used have a period for three weeks of the month, for real…my body protecting me from him.).

I was delighted to see Adams finally step into the mainstream in the south during the crisis, and sent a personal “thank you and good luck”.

I knew about the disgrace of his brother, but I have a brother who is hard to live down in a different way so I know, from personal experience, it just isn’t that simple. We don’t know what we would have done if we were in Adams shoes, taking all factors into account.

A part of me thinks I would take the brother for a little cliff drive with no intention that either of us come back…but would I have the guts?  How would that work for those left behind, politically or personally? Who knows until you are the guy on that terrible spot, who has to make the decision.

Oh but how are the mighty fallen since…

I have an inquisitive mind and if something doesn’t stack up I need to understand why. During the past couple of years as an activist a lot of things around Sinn Fein were not stacking up…so I started digging, and to my horror started to come across hints of exactly the kind of worms you are pulling out of the wood now. All circumstantial, nothing I can prove, but enough to be unable to sleep nights through shame at ever having supported this rather than fear.

Of course, that is a ridiculous way to feel, the majority of Republicans were like your Uncle, decent men doing what they knew to be right. I came to know some of them, and they were the finest of men, and I have to remind myself that has not changed…but sadly, where there is conflict, the bullies and control freaks trickle to the top and give themselves free reign and full licence…

Sinn Fein hit the ground running in terms of mainstream political corruption, but that is not the entire Republican Movement, I doubt it is even 10% of it…just the rot that floated to the top while no-one was looking.

Somebody had to stand up and throw a spanner in the works to turn that tide…

I guess that is you.

My thoughts will always stand right next to you, and anyone who harms you will need to look over their shoulder for me as long as I live.

PS, After the rot is gone there will need be new, fresh clean wood to replace it. I hope that will be you too.




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