IT IS quite hard to describe just how virulent a hatred there is for Sinn Féin amongst great swathes of the Irish media.
Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness are vilified at every opportunity by a succession of commentators who insist they are only concerned with bringing the truth to light.
In Ireland last month questions were being asked again of Gerry Adams’ relationship with the IRA — he has always denied being a member — following a series of documentaries on Sinn Féin and The Disappeared.
Martin McGuinness, who recently insisted the issue of whether or not Adams was a member of the IRA during the Troubles was irrelevant, now appears almost as warm and affable as Daniel O’Donnell.
But he was definitely in the IRA, and we all know that and all accept that.
True too is that Sinn Féin has something of a shady modern history — where so many leading members have seen the inside of a prison cell.
There is still something of a question mark about a party who were so recently married to violence as much as they were to democratic politics. We all remember Danny Morrison’s ‘an armalite in one hand and a ballot box in the other’.
Quite simply Sinn Féin came out of violence and we can all remember that. We can all still see that, even though they all now wear suits and play the politics game as much as anyone else.
None of that though quite explains why so many Irish media outlets despise Sinn Féin in a way that is head and shoulders above any other kind of political prejudice.
It is hard, for instance, to believe that so many commentators are so ethical and so appalled by suffering that they are unable to stomach anything of Sinn Féin because of its past.
It is hard too to believe that it is simply their love of truth that will not allow them to accept anything good about Sinn Féin.
Let’s be honest here, a lot of these media commentators are not interested in addressing uncomfortable truths but are more interested in exploring and voicing their own obsessions and prejudices.
Strange though that so many of them should have in common a hatred for Sinn Féin.
Strange for instance that so many of them, in fact virtually all of the Irish media, showed little response to the recent admission by members of the British armed forces that they openly shot members of the public in west Belfast.
Indeed it is remarkable how little reaction there was here in the Irish Republic to that. In fact most media coverage here was fixated yet again on another denial by Gerry Adams that he had been in the IRA.
Is it not interesting though that there was such silence to admissions of open street murder by British forces. Is that not, after all, part of the truth too?
Is it not, however much we might not want it to be, a fact that there is a reason behind the birth of the Provisional IRA, there is an historical circumstance that gave rise to them.
There is an awful context to all of that violence. That is not to condone it, that is to understand it. That is to get nearer to the truth.
It was the Tory Prime Minister John Major who said that ‘we should condemn a little more and understand a little less’ but a call for more ignorance, well, where does that get us?
So, yes we can all understand a bit more about Sinn Féin. But not through the Irish media. They have definitely decided to condemn. They do not seem interested in understanding.