It has been ‘defenestration’ week for me at the hands of many SDLP members up and down the country.
I am being singled out for exercising my editorial judgement on (@eamonnmallie.com) for using a photograph of John Hume, (the very embodiment of Northern Ireland’s Civil Rights movement) in an article authored by Sinn Féin chairman Declan Kearney.
Gladly many people contribute to my website, including SDLP leader Colum Eastwood and as a broad church and democrat, I welcome alternative opinion on the site – be that from loyalism, Unionism, Sinn Féin or from whomever regardless of persuasion, conditional upon each contribution not being libellous or defamatory.
I too was intellectually challenged by some aspects of Declan Kearney’s reading of the history of the Civil Rights movement.
As a student of that era I accept Kearney’s contention that some republicans were involved in the CR movement. I interviewed several of these down the years.
The SF chairman’s bold claim however that the CR campaign was inspired ‘also directly by the strategic decision of the IRA and Sinn Féin leadership’ startled me.
I turn now to my decision to use a photograph of John Hume in the Declan Kearney article.
Being affronted by some elements of Mr Kearney’s Civil Rights comments regarding the alleged drivers behind it and what I viewed as his gracelessness in appearing to studiously avoid mentioning John Hume’s name, I decided to put an image of the former SDLP leader at the heart of the article as a reminder to all that some facts of history were indeed being reinterpreted by Sinn Féin.
Of necessity it is not my remit to write or re-write the substance of any contributor’s copy on my website. This is a truism.
SDLP leader Colum Eastwood was acquainted with my raison d’être for using John Hume’s photograph as soon he raised his concerns about its inclusion with my colleague Brian Rowan. Brian is a valued regular contributor to my website.
On Monday at 23.46 Tanya McCamphill, press officer for the SDLP advised me in writing, former party General Secretary Bríd Rodgers wanted the right to reply to Declan Kearney on the website.
I agreed to that. Níor scrióbh Bríd rud ar bith fós ar an suíomh idirlín. Tá fáilte roimpi sin a dhéanamh fós.
I bear no grudge against my critics.