Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin considers Sinn Féin not a ‘normal’ democratic party. Fine Gael Taoiseach Leo Varadkar agrees.
Do they think it is, as Fianna Fáil Taoiseach Sean Lemass said of his party in 1926, ‘a slightly constitutional party’?
Fine Gael’s predecessor Cumann na nGaedheal, prior to and during its proto-fascist 1930s ‘Blueshirt’ period, said worse about Fianna Fáil than is alleged about Sinn Féin today.
They advertised in 1932: ‘The gunmen and communists are voting for Fianna Fáil today’. It is acknowledged that Fianna Fáil came to power with substantial IRA support, when the IRA was a mass organisation with thousands of members.
Fianna Fáil’s policies resulted in a huge increase in public house-building and a significant, sustained, increase in the industrial workforce.
The policies were characterised as disastrous pie-in-the-sky fantasies that would bankrupt the state.
Cumann na nGaedheal was as opposed to Fianna Fáil’s abolition of the oath of allegiance in the Dáil to the British sovereign, as are both FF and FG today to Sinn Féin’s proposal for a border poll.
A knowledge of history and a sense of perspective would not go amiss.
This readers' opinion was originally published in the letters page of the Irish Examiner print edition on 15 February 2020.