The news that Mary Lou McDonald, leader of Sinn Fein, is coming to Australia on a lecture tour in July 2022, recalls the fact that in 1999, her predecessor Gerry Adams was the only foreigner to fly in and campaign for the Yes Case in the Australian republican referendum.
Will reporters ask Ms McDonald whether she will do what Adams would not do, reveal the names of the IRA murderers of the young Australians visiting the Netherlands nine years before, Stephen Melrose and Nick Spanos? Asked about Ms. McDonald’s visit by the Daily Mail, ACM’s National Convenor said that based on government policy concerning terrorism, until the names of the murderers were revealed she had no place here.
The IRA at the time of the murders had claimed they believed the young Australians to be British soldiers but refused to hand over the murderers. Unsurprisingly, Prime Minister Bob Hawke contemptuously rejected the IRA’s attempt to offer an apology.
ACM argued at the time of Adam’s visit in 1999 that the ARM should distance themselves from Gerry Adams not so much that he was a foreign politician intervening in a domestic issue but because he would not reveal the name of the murderers of two young Australians in the Netherlands,
The ARM ignored ACM’s calls.
When Channel 7 in 2010 produced a documentary on the murder of the Australians by the IRA, including an attempt to interview at least one of the murderers, ACM’s David Flint recalled the fact that Adams had come here to campaign in support of an Australian Republic.
The ARM’s deputy president David Donovan immediately emailed Flint demanding “When did Gerry Adams come to Australia in 1999 and when did he ask Australians to vote ‘Yes’ to the referendum. No-one seems to be able to find any record of either event. Are you quite mad, an habitual liar or just an idiot?”
The Australian newspaper reported this and confirmed that a search quickly revealed that Adams did come to Australia in 1999 to campaign for the Yes case.