The family of IRA murder victim Robert McCartney today dismissed Sinn Féin’s warning that they are in danger of being used as political pawns.
Catherine McCartney, who left Dublin this morning with her four sisters and Mr McCartney’s financee for a meeting later this week with US President George Bush, responded to the warning by saying that they were not stupid.
“We have to be very careful that we’re not being used by anybody and that includes Sinn Féin and all political parties, we’re not stupid women,” Ms McCartney said. “We get the impression that someone thinks out there that somebody’s behind this, pulling our strings. The only person behind this is our Robert and he is the person pulling our strings.”
The McCartney sisters will arrive in Washington this evening to a blaze of publicity as they prepare to meet prominent US politicians, including senators Hillary Clinton and Edward Kennedy.
Meanwhile, Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams has been frozen out of most of the St Patrick’s Day events he has attended over the past decade as concern grows in the US about the IRA’s involvement in organised crime.
Last night Sinn Féin’s chief negotiator Martin McGuinness appear to warn the family to abandon its campaign for justice. He said they “would need to be very careful” that they “don’t step over the party political line and allow themselves to be used or manipulated” by Sinn Féin’s enemies.
Today Mr McGuinness denied his comments had any menacing connotations.
He told the BBC’s Today programme: “It wasn’t intended in any way to be a threat.” “It was intended to be a word of friendly advice from someone who is 100% behind their campaign for truth and justice.”
Well, it sure sounded like a threat, didn’t it? Which he was then forced to retract. The normally media-savvy Sinn Fein has stumbled badly over this, with responses that have been too little, too late, and quite uncomprehending of what’s happening. Have unionist paramilitaries also committed such atrocities? No doubt. But this one, for whatever reason, has gone super nova, exploding in headlines across the planet.
McGuinness does have a point though. Bringing in Bush, etc., could result in major, as yet unforseen, political ploys and counter-moves. The McCartney sisters are now playing on a very big chess board, with some of the players no doubt caring little personally about them or their brother.
And, as I’ve mentioned before, the cause of Irish nationalism and liberation, is now completely absent in all of this.