Friday, June 8, 2018

Well Taoiseach, Féile an Phobail is not “simply a community event”…

Mick Fealty,

image (not from article) from
The Feile [JB - see] was initiated by West Belfast MP Gerry Adams (still one of just two trustees on a new charitable body set up in 2016) to improve the image of the IRA (and distract from that said “sustained run of killings”).

And, of course, perhaps he hoped to improve his own chances of re-election (he wasn’t). In the background, Adams was also beginning to explore new but highly modified terms for peace for the IRA via the ultra-secret Hume Adams talks.

That first Festival was a modest and – outside the ATN – largely unreported affair back in 1988. It’s since been hugely successful, developing resources such that it can invite internationally famous [but non-Republican? – Ed] entertainers.

For a long time, its flagship West Belfast Talks Back panel debate was a key event in Belfast’s political calendar. And it spawned a range of smaller scale entertainment, cultural and sporting events in other, largely nationalist, areas.

So it’s not simply a community festival. At its core, it remains a Sinn Fein owned PR/public diplomacy [JB emphasis] exercise designed not simply to clean up the IRA’s past, but to re-represent it to a younger generation as heroic and justifiable.

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