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|From: Irish Political Review: Editorials|
|Date: November, 2014|
Maíria Cahill Case Scandal-Politics!
Maíria Cahill Case
Once again the leader of Fianna Fail—which gave up anything resembling Republicanism when it ousted Albert Reynolds—has joined forces with Anti-Agreement Anti-Provos in the North in stirring up an imagined sex-scandal in the hope of poisoning political opinion in the South against Sinn Fein coming up to the General Election next year. The "slightly constitutional" Fianna Fail, founded by De Valera for the purpose of transmitting the dynamic of the War against the Treaty to electoral politics, is now stone dead. Jack Lynch gutted it, but it remained for Micheál Martin to smear it with excrement.
The last time it was Gerry Adams' brother. This time it's Joe Cahill's niece. Maíria Cahill was an active member of Sinn Fein for many years. It appears that she broke with it when, following through on the 1998 Agreement, it accepted the PSNI as a legitimate police force. Recognising the police in an arrangement under which Ulster Unionist dominance had been laid to rest—that was step too far for her. So she went to the police with a complaint that she had been raped many years earlier by a member of the IRA. The police were, of course, happy to take up her complaint. Charges were laid against the alleged rapist. The matter was sent for trial. A date was set. The trial began. But she refused to give evidence at it. The accused was found Not Guilty.
Then, having refused to take part in her day in Court, she went to the BBC.
The BBC—as an integral part of the apparatus of the British State, which is not at all happy at being fought to the negotiating table by the Provos and being obliged to agree to a form of devolved government which it would have rejected as being out of the question in 1970—made a programme about Maíria Cahill's alleged rape in which she was not questioned too closely about her failure to give evidence at the trial of her alleged rapist which the State had arranged for her.
A difference between a trial and a TV programme is that there are no rules of evidence on TV and only as much cross-examination as the producer wants.
There is one obvious reason why a plaintiff might at the last moment refuse to give evidence for the prosecution—the appearance in Court of the probability of strong rebuttal evidence. It is hard to think of another. Intimidation of the plaintiff by the defendant has not been alleged and, if it had been a factor, she would hardly gone from the police/juridical operation of the State to its BBC function.
Maíria Cahill made this accusation of rape within Sinn Fein while she was a member, thus accepting de facto the authority which Sinn Fein had gained in the North after British authority collapsed in Nationalist areas in 1969 and Fianna Fail welshed on its 1969 undertakings in the early Summer of 1970. A Sinn Fein Inquiry was instituted. And then those who had conducted the inquiry ended up in Court, as well as the alleged rapist, charged with IRA membership—to be found Not Guilty because of the bizarre conduct of the plaintiff. (A similar thing happened when it was demanded that the Provos should investigate the Robert McCartney killing, only to find the investigators charged with IRA membership.)
Now, there can be no doubt about the Provos usurping the functions of the State. Micheál Martin has been making a great song and dance about that, and comparing it in that respect to the Catholic Church.
We must say a word in defence of the Church on this point. The Church did not usurp the function of the State. During the period of the Union the Hierarchy usually condemned the movements that the State demanded it should condemn. In 1922-3 it denounced the movements that the Provisional Government/Free State wanted it to denounce. The excommunication of the movement from which Fianna Fail developed was issued in support of the Treaty State. The Treaty Party alienated a wide swathe of public opinion by its conduct, was desperate for the support of the Church Hierarchy, and allocated to the Church areas of public life that might have been run by State organisation—as the British regime had done earlier.
The Treaty disruption weakened the governing system of 1919-21, and the Treatyites looked to the Church for support, and the populace, disrupted by the 'Civil War', was content with the Church/State arrangements that were in place when things settled down. The Church saved the State over the Treaty. But, when the Treatyites then seemed to be more interested in humiliating the militarily defeated Republicans, instead of opening the system to them—and applying the "freedom to achieve freedom" principle—elements of the Hierarchy used their influence to encourage the development of Fianna Fail. (Information about this can be found in Brian Murphy's The Catholic Bulletin).
(The British regime, applying the rhetoric of its own ideology routinely, deplored the evil influence of priestcraft on the populace, but the more considered view of those involved in the actual governing of Ireland was that it was the people who exerted a bad influence on the priests. And, whenever the Government tried to effect a liaison with the Church in order to establish a distance between priests and people, it was the people who prevented it.)
In the North, however, the Provos did begin to act as the State. But, when they did so, where was the State? It would be truer to say that the Provos came into being for lack of a State, than that they usurped the powers of an existing State.
The State behaved with total irresponsibility in the way it enacted Partition in 1921-2. It farmed out certain functions of government in the 6 Counties to the Ulster Unionist Party and cut the region off from the democratic political life of the state, which continued to operate the major functions of State from Westminster. What passed for politics in the North was disconnected from the governing of the UK state.
The local Unionist system blew up in August 1969. The Unionist populace, cut out of British political life for two generations, went berserk against the Nationalist populace. A Fianna Fail Taoiseach said he would not stand idly by, and for nine months he didn't. He supported the establishment of Nationalist self-defence in the North and established a liaison with the self-defence groups that had sprung into being in 1969. And he declared repeatedly that Partition was the cause of the trouble in the North.
The main organisers of Nationalist self-defence were British ex-Servicemen who got fed up with the treatment they received in Northern Ireland because they were Catholics. It was a Fianna Fail Taoiseach, now lavishly praised as a moderate because he turned tail under British pressure in May 1970, who injected Anti-Partitionism into the Northern situation in August 1969, when there was little sign of it on the ground in the North. And then, in May 1970, he had a kind of Treason charge brought against John Kelly, who had been the liaison between the Government and the Northern Defence Groups—and also against senior Cabinet Ministers and an Army Intelligence officer who had been carrying out his policy.
In August 1969 there was a de facto Insurrection against the Northern Ireland system. It was not anti-Partitionist, but it was an Insurrection. Self-defence against Government force is Insurrection. And, when the force of the State is excluded from an area, certain functions of State have to be undertaken by those who exclude it.
Citizen Defence against the State, which did not dispute the ultimate authority of the State, seemed to be beyond the comprehension of the Fianna Fail leader. He could only understand it as a kind of Anti-Partitionism. Partition was his explanation of everything.
Out of sheer weakness of character, he sabotaged the Citizen Defence movement in May 1970. And it was then that the self-defence Insurrection developed into a Republican War, which absorbed every vigorous element in the Nationalist community into itself in the course of time.
The Fianna Fail leader condemned the War, while continuing to say that the ending of Partition was a precondition of peace. A paradox!—a useless paradox.
The War was brought to a close over a quarter of a century later by an arrangement that was in keeping with the self-defence Insurrection begun by Catholic ex-Servicemen in 1969. What caused the Insurrection was Ulster Unionist sub-government outside the democracy of the state. What ended the War was the structural negation of majority rule in the sub-government.
The region remained outside the democracy of the state. Our attempt to bring it within the democracy of the state failed in the face of hostility by Whitehall, Glengall St., and Dublin, and will not be revived. The basis of settlement is in the medium of the conflict of communities, but with the terms of that conflict altered to negate the majority status of the majority. Each community now has a piece of the devolved apparatus of government proportionate to its size.
Because the War was ended without the ending of Partition, some of those who supported it turned against the leadership that ended it, regarding them as traitors. They set about subverting the Agreement by discrediting the leadership that made it. In this project they found themselves being facilitated by the State which was fed up at having had to negotiate because of failure to win the War, and were inclined to a bit of wrecking activity.
The Agreement is clearly transitional—transitional between states. The North is no more a state today than it was fifty years ago. It is an arena of communal conflict, as it was designed to be in 1921. Whitehall reckoned that this conflict would be of advantage to it in influencing Southern politics, and so it has proved. The South has all but destroyed its own political culture during the past thirty years because of its refusal to see what Northern Ireland is, and to think about why the most experienced State in the world shaped a region of itself into such a strange thing.
The Agreement arrangement is transitional in essence. Northern Ireland, excluded from the democratic life of the state of which it was part, could have no autonomous political life of its own. It still can't.
Northern Nationalist politics is anti-Partitionist. The SDLP is inertly so, and Sinn Fein actively.
In the early 1970s the IRA tried to win the day by central assault. In the mid-1970s it found itself being manipulated into Catholic/Protestant war by Secretary of State Merlyn Rees and his "Ulsterisation" strategy, and subsequently reoriented itself strategically for an advance by stages. Having accomplished the first stage of equalising the terms of the communal conflict within the North, it set about establishing itself as a strong political presence within the Republic. It is now an all-Ireland party in constitutional politics, and it is the only one.
"Fianna Fail, The Republican Party" made a token gesture towards becoming an all-Ireland Party but lost its nerve. Micheál Martin sees Sinn Fein capturing ground that used to be Fianna Fail ground in the South and he gets frantic. But, instead of reverting to some kind of meaningful Republicanism, he resorts to gutter-politics, aligning himself with the Anti-Agreement Republican fringe in the North in its efforts to discredit Gerry Adams with anything that comes to hand.
The Provisional movement certainly acted the part of a State in certain areas of the North. And it acted as peacemaker as well as warmaker. It did not fight a war and let things run wild otherwise. It kept the peace within its area.
Martin says that Maíria Cahill was subjected to the rule of a Kangaroo Court. Well, she was a member of Sinn Fein, and she made a complaint to Sinn Fein, and an inquiry was instituted. It was unable to reach a conclusion. However, she remained active in Sinn Fein for many years after that. A timeline of events shows that the alleged sexual abuse and rape took place in 1997 and lasted for a year. Republican investigations on foot of her complaint were set in train in 1999-2000. Some months later she met Gerry Adams about the matter. She remained in Sinn Fein till 2006, leaving after Sinn Fein made a deal with Dr. Paisley to stabilise Power-Sharing. The deal required SF to recognise the police. The following year Maíria Cahill became a leading member of the Republican Network for Unity, a Dissident Republican group.
Maíria Cahill went to the PSNI in 2007, resulting in three court cases against Republicans: that is, the investigators were charged with IRA membership; the alleged long-term rapist was charged with IRA membership and there was a separate case of rape against the same man. The trial of this man for IRA membership was to be taken first, to strengthen the rape case, on Crown Prosecution Service advice. On the day of the trial in April 2014 Maíria Cahill refused to give evidence when she saw who was to appear for the defence and the accused was cleared of the charge. All charges against the other four defendants were dropped in May 14, after prosecution presented no evidence. The issue entered a different region of public life with a BBC Spotlight programme in October 2014.
This timeline shows that Maíria Cahill remained in Sinn Fein for nine years after the alleged sexual abuse and seven years after the alleged 'kangaroo court'.
The Sinn Fein inquiry wasn't a proper British Court, of course. But, when she got a trial set up in a proper British Court, she refused to give evidence at it.
She willingly took part in the Sinn Fein inquiry into her complaint—and then she swore witness statements for the proper British Court against those who took part in the Sinn Fein inquiry—and they were charged with IRA membership.
When she went to Adams with her complaint, it seems he advised her to go to Social Services or to the British police. Wasn't that an awful thing to do! But if he hadn't advised her to go to the police . . .?
And it is alleged that he said to her that some sex abusers can be very persuasive and make you think you're enjoying it. He denies having said it. But, if he had said it, it would have been an awful thing to say! Wouldn't it? Why would it?
The Dail is about to engage in a self-indulgent and self-righteous discussion of Maria Cahill's experience of Kangaroo Courts—that is, about the usurpation of the lawful authority of the British State in the Six Counties of the United Kingdom by a criminal Provo gang.
We do not recall when it was that a Dublin Government told the Catholic minority in the Six Counties—the only section of the Northern population for which it had any right to speak, or which paid any heed to it—that they lived in a legitimately-established region of the British state, and should do as the State required them.
We do not recall a Fine Gael apology for Collins's invasion of the North in 1922, and for the Treatyite incitement of Northern Nationalists to boycott the Northern system, and for the fascist Blueshirt Anti-Partitionist mobilisation of the mid-1930s, and for the wild rhetoric of the Anti-Partition League on its return to Office in 1948, and for Peter Barry's characterisation of British rule in the North as the "nightmare" for Catholics. Nor can we recall an apology from Fianna Fail for its 1937 Constitution, which told the Northern minority that they lived in an illegitimate jurisdiction, and under which extradition warrants from the UK were not honoured all through the Provo War
The Dail throughout the period in question incited the Northern minority to disaffection, while evading the issue of what the disaffected should do.
Southern Anti-Partition propaganda was not the cause of minority disaffection in the North. The cause lay in the way Westminster arranged for the Six Counties to be governed. But the Dail never addressed that issue. Its Northern policy throughout has been one of duplicity and evasion. And now it is about to sit in judgement, Pontius Pilate manner, on those who could not live by evasion because they lived under the abominable system.
The Dail dare not hold the culprit responsible. He is too big for them, and he would make them feel small by dismissing realistic description of his handling of the Six Counties as Anglophobic.
Why is the Dublin Government concerning itself with this incident in British political life? Can it still not make up its mind whether the North is a region of a legitimate foreign state or is something else? The Taoiseach has indicated a readiness to meet the four members of the Republican 'Kangaroo Court' and discuss the matter with them. Does this imply a revival of the sovereignty claim that was apparently discarded in 1998? Or is it a purely political move designed to counter the unexpected growth of an all-Ireland Party which is drawing on the Collins rhetoric which Fine Gael flirted with for three-quarters of a century without ever taking it in earnest? Is it a matter of chickens coming home to roost in the internal politics of the South? The lawyers of the members of the 'Kangaroo Court' have reason to be sceptical of the Taoiseach's motives and advise them to keep away from the morass to which Free State politics has reduced itself about the North. It is hard to disagree with that advice.
Scandal Politics. Editorial on Maíria Cahill Case
A middle class budget. John Martin
Higgins and the EU's existential crisis . Jack Lane
Readers' Letters: Text without context can be misunderstood and abused. Donal Kennedy
Appointments Commission?. Philip O'Connor
Connolly, Poppycock and Remembrance. Dave Alvey (Report: Discussion at Greaves Summer School)
Shorts from the Long Fellow (Political ineptitude; Political Cronyism; Tall Tales from Academia; Sinn Féin on Water Charges; Fianna Fáil on Water Charges; Michael FitzMaurice; Fianna Fáil Soul Searching?) 10
Bye-Election Results. Report
Correction Re MI5 & Frank Aiken. Philip O'Connor
American Policy Shambles. David Morrison
Broken Promises. John Morgan reports on 1916 Relatives Association
Policing In The Absence Of A State. Pat Muldowney (Maíria Cahill Case)
Connolly And The Etiquette Of Power. Brendan Clifford (Part 2 of Ballaghadereen And The Great War)
Opposition To Budget. Finian McGrath (Press Release)
Fifty Shades Of Grey. Paul McGuill (Britain's Diplomacy of Duplicity in the early 20th century, Part 3)
Northern Ireland Budget Cuts. Mark Langhammer
Austerity And Growth. Report
Three Poems. Wilson John Haire (Poppicide; In Parliament Square I Sat Down And Cried; If At First You Don't Succeed . . .)
Biteback: Cothrom na Feinne. Donal Kennedy
Does It Stack Up? Michael Stack (Interesting article; Lusitania: Roger Casement connection; The Great War; British Legion and Poppy Day)
Trade Union Notes Labour Comment: The State Deserts The Guilds, Mondragon, The First Modern Labour Class, Mondragon, Part 35
Trade Union Notes: Apprenticeships