>> 30 Jun 2004

O'Donnell's Minimalism

Joe O'Donnell, Belfast's Sinn Fein/IRA Deputy Mayor, has said he will observe a minute's silence to remember those brave soldiers of the 36th Ulster Division who died on the trench-scarred wastelands of northern France during WW1.

It is, naturally, a good thing that any Sinn Fein acolyte should decide to suspend his incessant outpourings of propagandistic toxin - even for only 60 seconds. All the same, as with every other political gesture from the IRA's paladins, there lies an ulterior motive. O'Donnell envisages: 'a ceremonial occasion where all sections of the community...can buy into and feel inclusive and feel comfortable taking part in.'

I feel those not blind to republican winsomness will know exactly how his desire translates. O'Donnell's request goes something like this: 'We in Sinn Fein would like to see bestial IRA terrorists given the same public honour as soldiers who died for their country in the true spirit of defending liberty. I know we haven't a chance of achieving such a request (we don't really want to!!). But, when democratically adherent representatives reject our outwardly venial desire, we can then use such a rejection to energise our third-class electorate - who each possess a First Class Honours degree in naivete - and convince them that Irish nationalism is not given due recognition by the surly Prods.'

We trust the councillors from constitutional parties who sit on Belfast City Council will do their best to ensure O'Donnell is out of mind, as well as out of sight, when they attend the Somme commemoration.


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