St. Patricks Day politics

18 March 2005

President Bush celebrated St. Patrick's Day yesterday by receiving the five sisters of IRA-murder victim Robert McCarthy for a visit at the White House. If you haven't read Robin Wilson's super background on the story on openDemocracy yet, have a look.

For the past decade Sinn Féin's Gerry Adams has been the customary guest of honour for St. Patrick's Day celebrations in America. Not this year. The IRA has silenced all the witnesses in the brutal murder of McCarthy, and allegedly offered simply to shoot the killers to end the fuss. The sisters seek truth and justice for their brother, and have become front figures in what has developed into a campaign to put an end to the IRA. As Polizero blogger Bob Morris puts it,"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."

Is America falling out of love with the IRA? It is, if the American Ireland Fund dinner last night is any indication. Calls to disband the IRA by US politicians have been renewed. But Gerry Adams is still on the charm offensive here, and here, and warned that forcing the IRA to close shop in "a humiliating fashion" could end up leading to a more radical replacement.

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