The first I ever heard of Jonathan Dowdall was when a long standing republican, and former IRA prisoner, asked me had I heard he had been selected to run in the local elections in 2014.
I confess to having long gotten past the stage of caring one way or another who Sinn Féin ran for anything. My friend was persuasive, however, and there is no doubt that the activities of Dowdall, his family and associates were no secret when the decision was made to have him as a candidate in the north inner city.
So why was he selected? Why were other people who had devoted years to the movement, and indeed paid a price for that, been passed over? What was this chap bringing to the table?
Hindsight is 20:20 as they say but this would be like the New Jersey Democrats selecting Paulie from the Sopranos to run for Councilman.
What makes it all the more galling is that while people like this were being given the imprimatur of the “movement,” that other people were being bullied and intimidated over money and other work related issues. I suppose we can count ourselves fortunate that we were not invited up to the Navan Road to discuss our “issues.”
The simple fact is that while creatures like the Dowdalls were being made councillors and having their photographs taken with the great and the good, that long standing members and activists were being threatened over not handing over a significant part of their wages.
Others were forced out of their jobs in a manner that if it was perpetrated by any other employer you would have Sinn Féin TDs crying about it on the telly. Indeed when Fianna Fáil TD Niall Collins interrupted the Shinner Waterford TD David Cullinane, while in emotional free flow about “the werkers”, to remind him of the disgraceful treatment of Sinn Féin employee Aoife Booth, Cullinane lost the plot. He demanded that Collins withdraw his “despicable” remarks. Workers rights my arse.
The list of Sinn Féin workers, including former elected representatives, who have been paid off in out of court settlements to prevent the embarrassment of the workers friends being exposed for what they are would fill a few pages.
And to add insult to injury, while myself and others were told that we were “living beyond our means,” and should therefore pay the vig, the likes of the Dowdalls were being taken in.
Animal Farm. Literally it would seem in this case…