I am wondering what to do with my copy of a 2003 photograph of Mary Lou McDonald standing next to the statue of Nazi collaborator Sean Russell in Fairview Park.
The picture has possibilities.
Not that either Fine Gael or Fianna Fail had the wit to grasp the possibilities during the election.
But I have an idea.
In the picture, McDonald is standing alongside convicted IRA bomber Brian Keenan. The two were there to pay respect to the memory of Russell, an IRA chief of staff and Nazi collaborator who spent three months in Germany in 1940 as the guest of Hitler and Von Ribbentrop.
Russell briefed the Germans on how they could use the IRA to help in an invasion of the United Kingdom. He was given a villa near Berlin, a car and driver, an aristocratic interpreter, and training at the high-security Brandenburg military camp.
Hitler then had Russell board a submarine to return secretly to Ireland to put in place the plans for the IRA to help with a German invasion. But Russell had a gastric ulcer that burst during the voyage. He died and was buried at sea with full German military honours. Wrap the swastika round me, boys.
McDonald and her Provo bomber friend mentioned none of that at the Sinn Fein ceremony at Fairview Park.
But then, there is plenty no one is supposed to say about Sinn Fein, even apart from the terrorism and gangsterism. One is not supposed to mention the anti-Semitism among members of the party, not even when they celebrate a Nazi collaborator.
Recently the history of anti-Jewish bigotry by new Sinn Fein TD Reada Cronin has been disclosed. Hers is a septic history of bigotry, even by modern standards.
Take it from the original news story: “In one tweet Ms Cronin suggested that a picture of monkeys typing on computers was the Israeli embassy. In another she claimed that European wars were started and funded by banks, and she retweeted a claim that Hitler was a pawn for a bank owned by the Rothschild family.”
She also said Israel had “taken Nazism to a new level.”
How did Mary Lou McDonald respond to these Tweets by Cronin? She said that people had to be careful about being “hurtful,” and that since Cronin had withdrawn them and apologised, that’s fine.
In other words, McDonald treats Cronin as if she were a four-year old in kindergarten who had run her scooter over another child’s toe. Apologise and that is the end of it.
Worse, the leaders of Fine Gael and Fianna Fail seem content with that: Cronin has apologised for saying Hitler was manipulated by Jews, move on. Nothing to see here.
No destruction of Cronin’s career. No deep social media archaeology to find every piece of bigotry she has ever expressed. Her on-line habit of calling individuals “bitch” and “whore” was passed over in a way of privilege that no Fine Gael or Fianna Fail male politician could expect.
Indeed, in response to her undoubted anti-Semitism, her life was not, in a phrase devised by British journalist Brendan O’Neill, “scoured for proof of historic immoralism or wrongthink in order that that person might be hounded out of public life.”
But why not? One must at this point look at what was done in 2017 to Kevin Myers. He made no more than one brainless and cliched remark about negotiating skills of two women at the BBC who were Jewish for him to have his whole life ripped apart. His one remark left him an open target for smears by his enemies, in particular the extraordinary smear that he was a holocaust denier.
Anyone who knows Myers, and I do, and knows his work, which I do, would know such a smear was ludicrous. But the State-sponsored broadcaster RTE, friend of Sinn Fein, used Myers’ one brainless remark about two BBC women to open full-fire with the lie that he was a holocaust denier. RTE did not want to debate Myers, they wanted to destroy him.
But they didn’t. Myers risked everything and sued RTE for defamation. Myers won.
RTE were forced to broadcast this statement last November in addition to a financial settlement: “Morning Ireland introduced an item that suggested that Kevin Myers was a holocaust denier. This was untrue and defamatory of Mr Myer’s character. Morning Ireland acknowledges that Mr Myers has, for over three decades, repeatedly testified to the scale and wickedness of Hitler’s Final Solution. Morning Ireland acknowledges the damage done to Mr Myer’s reputation. We regret this and unreservedly apologise.”
Despite this, of course, Kevin Myers no longer writes for Irish publications. I doubt he wants to, but you’d have to ask him. He does of course write for international publications. Think of that. The finest writer in Ireland writes for anyone except the Irish.
That means that the slime-spreading Twitter mob that wanted to destroy Myers didn’t succeed. He lives, he writes, thousands abroad admire his stuff.
Of course the mob didn’t hate Myers for anything he said about two Jewish broadcasters at the BBC. The mob had instead been prowling for years to find an excuse to shut down his writing. Myers, you see, identifies truths that the lying mob will not tolerate.
Meanwhile there is Mary Lou McDonald dancing around the statue of Sean Russell like a medieval English virgin dancing around a May Pole. There is Reada Cronin tweeting a picture of monkeys as Jews in a way that would have her prosecuted in the UK if she tried it as monkeys as black football players.
And there is no damage to their reputation.
I blame Fine Gael, and I blame Fianna Fail. By giving Sinn Fein a pass on this anti-Semitism, they, too, are collaborators.
So, to my idea about that 2003 picture of McDonald honouring the Nazi collabo.
I have a way – being a journalist, odd pathways open up to me – to ensure that the photograph and an explanation of what it means slide onto the desk of President Trump before St Patrick’s Day.
Trump is a president who has given the Pentagon everything it wants, because Trump loves the US military. A defence budget raised to $750bn? No problem. That is because Trump loves the US military and hates its enemies – current or historical.
Trump stood at the beach at Normandy at the 75th anniversary of the Allied landings and spoke with a degree of emotion that is nearly unknown in a President who usually appears to have iced water in his veins. Trump, bless him, hates the memory of every murderous move by the wartime Germans, hates the memory of every German who tore apart American soldiers on Omaha Beach.
Which is to say that inviting a Nazi-collaborator-loving Provo-front politico – that would be you, McDonald – to the Trump Oval Office would be unlikely, no matter whether she makes it into government or not.