Religion, politics and a funeral service

“It is in Sinn Féin’s interest as much as everyone else’s to move towards recognizing the Provisional IRA campaign as wrong, rather than a tactic warranted by circumstance. [Conor] Murphy, an ex-IRA prisoner, would have the authority to carry that off.”

Thus Newton Emerson, in the   Irish Times  this morning, explaining the need for regime change and contrition within Sinn Féin.  My sources tell me Connolly House is in a total tizzy.

But Newt isn’t the only one calling for change. Father Martin Magill in St Anne’s Cathedral yesterday chided the DUP and Sinn Féin for their failure to come together and establish an Executive, at which point the congregation at St Anne’s Cathedral leaped to their feet and applauded loudly. Rarely can a word from the pulpit have won over the hearts and minds of a congregation so completely. Eventually even Mary Lou McDonald, Michelle O’Neill and – crikey-  Arlene Foster were standing and applauding the criticism directed at them. Not with wild enthusiasm, mind you. Arlene patted the back of one hand just once, by my count.

Judging by the  attendance at the service, a great number of notable political people were moved by the death of the young journalist to a point where they felt the need to attend her funeral service. Or at least to be seen attending her funeral service. Father Magill’s emotional ambush of the Sinn Féin and DUP leaders provided the bonus of presenting the divisions here as a matter of truculent people who can’t get along, with one side was as bad as the other.

Remember when people were critical of the clergy dabbling in politics? Now such intervention excites applause. 

Anyway, stand by for a leadership change in Sinn Féin, Stormont corrid-ors alive with the sound of politicians at work and a statement by ex-IRA people that they screwed up, they should have turned the other cheek.

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