Saturday, July 18, 2009

Louise Minihan Leaves Sinn Féin

Dublin City Councillor Louise Minihan has left Sinn Féin to join Eirígi just five weeks after the local elections. She intends to take her seat with her.

I know Louise very well. I was at the first Sinn Féin meeting she ever attended and probably hundreds after that when we were in Ógra Shinn Féin in Dublin together about ten or twelve years ago. She is God-Mother to my daughter, Mairéad.

I can’t remember ever arguing much with Louise over politics. As I recall we agreed on almost everything. In fact the only time I remember disagreeing with her was in the run-up to the special Ard Fheis on policing. I was opposed to the Ard Comhairle motions. Louise was in favour. Indeed she spoke eloquently in support of our party joining the 6 county policing board to 2,000 plus delegates at the Ard Fheis in the RDS. (Incidentally I was queuing behind her to get up to speak against, when some fella from Cork proposed that the debate cease and a vote be taken; he got the largest applause I have ever heard from an Ard Fheis delegate. Anyway, I never got to give my tuppence worth and of course it wouldn’t have mattered – I’m not that persuasive).

I was gutted by that Ard Fheis decision; it was the only time that I’ve really considered leaving Sinn Féin.

Obviously I didn’t. But if I did I’d like to think that I would never even contemplate holding onto my council seats. They’re not mine. Of course, I’d like to think that some people vote for me because of my own track record and my own community activism but if I wanted to be judged on these alone I’d stand as an Independent. On the three occasions I’ve gone for election I’ve stood on the Sinn Féin ticket and been honoured to do so and have been more honoured to have been elected on every occasion. I have been glad of the huge support I have received from my fellow Sinn Féin members and candidates and I have never asked for assistance from the local organisation which wasn’t provided. It’s their seat as much as mine. And it belongs to the Sinn Féin members in Cork, Armagh, Dublin, wherever as much as it does to the Cumainn in my local area. Because we’re in this together!

About nine weeks ago, I, along with the other Sinn Féin candidates in Monaghan came together to sign our pre-election pledge to the party. Candidates in Dublin did likewise (as in Wexford for that matter, just like the candidates in Strabane did prior to their elections). The pledge basically states that, if elected, we will act honourably and uphold the principles and policies of Sinn Féin. It also states that if we leave Sinn Féin for whatever reason we will give our seats back to the party. Some people don’t give it much credence. Obviously councillors who have left Sinn Féin since the election and held onto their seat didn’t. But to me if I put my name to a document, it means a lot, whether it is legally binding or not. It is my word.

And, as Republicans, if we haven’t our word we have nothing. I will not fall out with anyone who leaves Sinn Féin for political, strategic or personal reasons. But I cannot have the same respect for someone who dishonours a solemn pledge they made to their fellow party members.

Louise was obviously disappointed with the some of the strategic and policy decisions that the Sinn Féin leadership made in recent years. Join the club! I firmly believe that those of us who have issues can and must try everything in our power to resolve them within the party. But I respect those who feel that they’d made the arguments, perhaps lost them all, and then want to move on.

I was at a wedding with Louise a few weeks ago. I had heard certain rumours and asked her straight out “you’re not thinking of going anywhere, are you?” - “Jaysus, no” was the response.

It is clear now that she lied to me. Who cares, no big deal. But the fact is that she more than likely had her mind made up well before the June 5th elections and that means that she also lied to party members and her constituents and I think that that is a very big deal. It also means that she signed a solemn pledge in the full knowledge that she had no intention of upholding it. Perhaps she saw it as an ‘empty formula’ – De Valera would be proud.
(Louise with SF members including Aengus O'Snodaigh just 5 weeks ago)
The people I feel angry for are the local Sinn Féin members in Ballyfermot and the wider Dublin South Central constituency. Their task of holding onto the Dáil seat has just made considerably more difficult. Don’t anyone try to tell me that contributing to the loss of a Sinn Féin Leinster House seat will do anything positive for the cause of a United Socialist Republic.

Louise text me this morning; she said: ‘Sorry I didn’t get 2 speak 2u b4 hand, always valued u as a comrade’.

Comrades don’t do this!

Louise should do the honourable thing – she should give the seat back to the party that the people of Ballyfermot, Drimnagh, Bluebell, Chapelizod & Inchicore gave it to.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Ferris Hits Nail on the head

Toireasa Ferris has submitted an artictle in this weeks An Phoblacht which should be compulsory reading for all Sinn Féin activists particularly those who aspire to be leaders.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

First Blog

About four months ago I couldn't be bothered with social networking sites. Years of pestering from friends and family to setup a bebo page were resisted without a second thought.
Then for some reason I agreed. I was on bebo and I was hooked in a matter of days. Since then I joined facebook (without doubt the best in social networking sites), myspace (still haven't a clue how it works) and twitter (no good for someone like me who cannot say in one sentence what can easily be stretched to twenty).

So here, I presume, is the next step - I'm writing a blog. But don't worry; I can't see myself posting too often but I'm going to give it a go. I'm still not sure how this thing works. Does anybody even read other people's blogs unless they have a unique insight into a particular subject or can offer rare pieces of gossip from time to time? Because I can offer neither.

What I do hope to provide is:
1. An outlet for people, especially Monaghan people living away from home, to hear some of the things that are happening around here.
2. Let people know of upcoming events etc. that may be of interest.
3. A little bit of debate etc. on some of the important issues of the day i.e. will Monaghan beat Derry this Saturday; will Sinn Féin regroup and become the potent force we know Ireland needs it to be; will Ireland be a better place now that questions and answers will no longer be on telly? (yes, by the way, is the answer to these particular questions)

So, let me know what you think and especially tell me when I'm being a prick (once a month limit per person though - my ego can only take so much).

Here goes... The conversion is complete - I'm on blogger!