Fine Gael attacks on Sinn Fein presidential candidate Martin McGuinness will reflect badly on them in America.
They appear to be desperate attempts to try and build law and order vote support for their candidate Gay Mitchell who is foundering in the opinion polls.
It may well end up not helping Mitchell and damaging Irish government and Irish American relationships.
The claim that the election of McGuinness would somehow damage Ireland’s economic prospects among American business is ludicrous and will be seen as such over here.
Martin McGuinness is very well known and deeply respected in American business circles since he became Northern Ireland’s Deputy First minister four year ago.
He has a particularly good relationship with Hillary Clinton the Secretary of State and with her husband, Bill Clinton.
One wonders what Bill Clinton will make of the vilification of McGuinness when he is in Dublin this week for the Irish Diaspora forum.
McGuinness is widely respected by them and a slew of leading Americans for his work on bringing peace to Northern Ireland, a far greater accomplishment than any his detractors have ever aspired to.
He has delivered on many key meetings and helped bring major investment to the North.
There are legitimate questions that can be asked about his IRA past but talking of future impeachment, arrest and denigrating his undeniable role in bringing peace to Ireland is way over the top.
The notion of portraying him as an unrepentant terrorist who would spook American investors is just plain stupid.
It also raises questions about whether this Irish government really cares or knows about the compact that has brought Irish America, Sinn Fein and successive Irish governments together.
It was created in order for the Irish peace process to succeed, for a united front that could speak to successive White Houses and key political supporters with one voice.
That contrasted greatly with past experiences where elements in Irish America opposed the Irish government tooth and nail and caused massive friction with them.
There were often tensions between the various parties since they began working together but a way to resolve them was always found.
The attacks on McGuinness are sure to unsettle the relationship as Sinn Fein’s counter charges about ‘black propaganda’ are bound to resonate with many Irish Americans.
The Fine Gael attacks are the worst kind of short sighted and deeply flawed political thinking.
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