26 March 2005


**Don't know who wrote this, but it touches a few interesting points

The Kennedy Snub

Irish Voice

St. Patrick's 2005 was the week that Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams
was essentially ignored, apart from a flood of condemnatory headlines
and tough talk from previous supporters such as Senator Edward
Kennedy and Congressman Peter King.

Privately, Sinn Fein drew a strong distinction between the two men.
King met with Adams twice and argued his point on the need for the
IRA disbanding which the party considered fair game.

Kennedy, however, was seen to have blindsided Adams after agreeing to
a meeting and then abruptly canceling. By refusing to meet Kennedy
has damaged himself in Sinn Fein's eyes.

Why Kennedy chose to do it was puzzling. After all, if he didn't want
to meet Adams he could have just said so to begin with. Something
clearly changed the weekend before St. Patrick's Day when the abrupt
decision was made.

For Kennedy's part, aides say he had agonized over his decision.
Close aides say the breaking point was evidence shown to him by the
Irish government that the IRA definitely did the Belfast bank

Kennedy had initially been particularly skeptical of the two
governments' claim that they had such evidence. When it was produced
and when the McCartney killing followed, Kennedy thought about
jumping off the Sinn Fein bandwagon.

The final straw was the IRA statement kindly offering to kill the
alleged perpetrators of the McCartney slaying. After that Kennedy was
on the anti-Adams bandwagon.

McCain No Friend

In the end Kennedy had a perfect right to come out against Sinn Fein.
He has paid his dues, and no other American politician can take away
his leading role in the IRA ceasefire of 1994 and the granting of a
visa for Adams to come to America.

It is not the same with Senator John McCain, however, who launched a
vicious attack on Sinn Fein at the American Ireland Fund dinner in
Washington with Adams present.

McCain has no track record at all on Ireland, other than being a
patsy of the British Embassy for many years. He gave every impression
that he was and is a devoted Anglophile.

Therefore, his attack should not have been that surprising, given his
background. The fact that he felt he had the moral authority on the
issue, which Kennedy undoubtedly had, is confusing, however. We will
never confuse those two men on the issue of Ireland.

Hillary Joins the Pack

Senator Hillary Clinton was another to join the great Sinn Fein
offensive, joining with Senators Chris Dodd, Kennedy and McCain to
issue a statement demanding that the IRA disband.

Clinton had been the target of an attack in the New York Daily News
on the day before St. Patrick's, implying she was soft on the IRA and
didn't want to call for them to be disbanded.

Immediately after that the New York senator was on the case and came
out strongly for the IRA to go out of business. Given the hard-line
stance on security issues it was hardly a surprise, but not meeting
Adams was a mistake on her part.

The Clintons, of all people, should realize that politics of
exclusion do not work. One wonders what Bill would have made of his
wife's move.

McCartney Glamour Girls Criticized

The McCartney sisters were not flavour of the week back in Ireland
with everybody. One unkind commentator referred to them as "The
Corrs," after the superstar rock group, because of the glamorous way
they dressed for the American Ireland Fund ball on March 16 in D.C.

Unfair, but some of their comments to the notoriously anti-Gerry
Adams Irish media were off key. Calling Republicans "Nazi thugs" as
the McCartneys did in an interview with the Sunday Independent
certainly did not win them any converts for their diplomacy.

Indeed, the vicious anti-Republican spin in the media in general led
many Irish Americans to retrace their steps on the issue and line up
behind Adams again.

As a rule of thumb, when you are being castigated by the vast
majority of the neo-Unionist media in Ireland, you are probably doing
something right as many Irish Americans realized. Never forget the
abuse heaped on John Hume when he set about bringing peace to Ireland
by those newspapers.

Bush's Tone

If there was one politician who distinguished himself in Washington
it was President George W. Bush.

Yes, he barred Sinn Fein from the White House, but was careful enough
to ensure that other parties didn't get to go as usual. In addition,
his special envoy to the North Mitchell Reiss got to meet Adams, and
apparently the two men had a very constructive discussion.

Bush also did not use the kind of inflammatory language that Senator
McCain, or to a lesser extent Senator Kennedy used, when talking
about Sinn Fein, no doubt keeping his options open.

Indeed, Bush was very moderate in his remarks, both after the
shamrock ceremony with Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Bertie Ahern and
after meeting the McCartneys.

What could he know that others don't? Hmm.

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