Oliver Callan: ‘Putting a sliced pan on your head must be the dumbest way to end a career’

Party’s failure to truly tackle past has infected the culture of their present

Mary Lou McDonald’s task is huge. To lead the party in a way that refutes the overwhelming sense, even among neutrals, that Sinn Féin is deeply controlled by a Belfast conclave. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Mary Lou McDonald’s task is huge. To lead the party in a way that refutes the overwhelming sense, even among neutrals, that Sinn Féin is deeply controlled by a Belfast conclave. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Even by the standards of Irish politics, it was the dumbest way to end a career, with a sliced pan on your head. Barry McElduff’s resignation was the only obvious ending.

Everyone in Sinn Féin knows that now, but like so many mistakes in their past, this was just another they had tried to defend and defend until words lost all meaning. It was hard to know which joke was worse, the sliced pan weighted with sinister symbolism or the one where he was suspended from a Westminster seat he doesn’t take.

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