Irish America and Sinn Féin

Sir, – The eulogising of Sinn Féin by Niall O'Dowd and his puzzlement at its exclusion from government made for equally curious and disturbing reading ("Irish America is hostile to the exclusion of Sinn Féin from government", Opinion & Analysis, March 4th).

Niall O’Dowd has long claimed, without reproach from a largely fawning Irish media, to “speak” for “Irish America”, whatever that actually is. I especially recall him reassuring us that Irish America would vote in large numbers for Hilary Clinton, primarily due to her work on the peace process. What metrics he used to measure this support remained nebulous. Following the Clinton failure, I do not recall him explaining the anomaly of how so many key senior staff in the Trump White House, and indeed Trump supporters on American media, have obviously Irish surnames. Perhaps these are not the right “type” of Irish Americans.

Typically, his opinion piece is light on actual sources of Irish American anger and angst at the Sinn Féin exclusion. The only source he does quote is the veteran congressman Bruce Morrison, but presumably the head scratching that he says is prevalent in Irish America goes beyond these two heads.

Unsurprisingly, Mr O’Dowd focuses on the peace process and the subject of Irish unity. He infers that the only reason for excluding Sinn Féin is their link with paramilitarism. Incredibly, nowhere does he mention differences in policy on taxation, economic growth, health, housing, and law and order. Mr O’Dowd obviously views Ireland through the tired prism of the Troubles and the peace process, and one wonders if he has any grasp on the current political landscape in this country.


If he had read the party manifestos, he would be aware that neither Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael have common ground with Sinn Féin on virtually any topic. That either would renege on a promise to their respective electorates and enter coalition with Sinn Féin primarily to appease “big brother” Irish America reveals the breathtaking hubris of Mr O’Dowd.

No doubt we will be hearing more frequently from Mr O’Dowd in Irish print and broadcast media in this the year of a US presidential election. I sincerely hope that he sticks to the topic of that election, rather than sermonising to us on our duty to anoint Sinn Féin and hand them the keys to Government Buildings. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 14.