the Matrix : Economist anti-Sinn Fein propaganda


Richard Moore

    NO doubt, Sinn Féin will dismiss as blatant British
    propaganda the chilling analysis of the party's role in
    Irish politics outlined in the current report of the
    influential Economist Intelligence Unit.

And blatant propaganda it is.




Economist analysis - Report puts ball in Sinn Féin's court

NO doubt, Sinn Féin will dismiss as blatant British
propaganda the chilling analysis of the party's role in
Irish politics outlined in the current report of the
influential Economist Intelligence Unit.

But despite its establishment image, it would be
simplistic to reject out of hand this contentious overview
of politics in Ireland.

With an election looming, and whether Sinn Féin likes it
or not, the conclusions probably reflect an undercurrent
of doubt and unease in the minds of many people around the
country about the agenda being pursued by republicans.

Posing the question 'whither the provisional movement?'
the analysis suggests the answer will have a central
bearing on the political future of the island of Ireland.
Its fundamental question is whether Sinn Féin and the IRA
are evolving to "become fully democratic or whether its
use of democratic means is merely tactical and designed to
achieve undemocratic ends".

Bluntly, it goes on to claim "the evidence points towards
the latter, more worrying scenario". In other words, IRA
disarmament was purely tactical.

It is pertinent to note that the jury is still out
following the IRA's July 28 announcement that it would
cease activity. According to the recent report from the
Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC), covering a
six-month period from March to August, the IRA was almost
entirely inactive since declaring it would end all

Significantly, the commission probe covered only one month
following the IRA's ground-breaking initiative. Hence, its
reminder that while initial signs were encouraging, its
assessment was inevitably limited.

Yet, according to the Economist, the IRA's military
capability "remains fully intact". Reiterating that
intelligence gathering, surveillance, and criminal funding
were incompatible with democratic politics, it accuses the
IRA of still using violence, physical threats and
intimidation to enforce its will in areas where it holds
sway in the North.

Controversially, the report finds it hard to envisage the
leopard changing its spots. Even if leading republicans
seek change, it doubts the capability of an organisation
with a culture of violence and lawlessness to change

Its failure to give republicans the benefit of the doubt
will rightly be seen as a flaw in the argument and will
open the Economist to charges of engaging in dirty tricks
to militate against Sinn Féin.

Politically, it foresees a threat to political stability
from a hung Dáil if, as expected, Sinn Féin gains seats.
And with all mainstream parties opposed to joining the
party in coalition, it predicts "a weak, ineffectual and
short-lived minority government".

Despite the Taoiseach's stated opposition to the idea, it
sees Fianna Fáil getting into bed with Sinn Féin,
effectively empowering republicans to advance their
central goal of ending British rule in Northern Ireland.

Going ever deeper into the realm of speculation, it warns
of political uncertainty and instability, with Sinn Féin
seeking to influence the executive branch of government to
prevent illegal IRA activities being subject to
investigation by law enforcement agencies and sanction by
the judiciary.

In this highly unlikely scenario, it says the even
application of the rule of law would be disrupted and the
institutional integrity of the Irish state undermined.

While its closing argument stretches credulity to breaking
point, the overall thrust of the analysis effectively puts
the ball in Sinn Féin's court.

North and south of the border, the challenge facing
republicans is one of unequivocally embracing democratic
politics while utterly eschewing violence and criminality.

Only thus will Sinn Féin establish beyond any shadow of
doubt that the political scenario outlined by the
Economist smacks more of propaganda than prophesy.


"Apocalypse Now and the Brave New World"

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