◾IRELAND’S greenest republican party played the red card yesterday when it banned a top academic from attending its annual conference.
◾Dr Marisa McGlinchey was stunned to be told she wasn’t welcome at the Saoradh Ard-Fheis – because she wrote for the Sunday World! The politics expert is the author of the best-selling book ‘Unfinished Business, the politics of ‘dissident’ Irish Republicanism’. The publication of her book earlier this year coincided with the murder of 29-year-old journalist Lyra McKee.
◾And shortly afterwards, Marisa contributed an opinion piece to this newspaper. For many years Marisa has been a regular at party conferences and political seminars throughout Ireland. She is currently writing a book on the SDLP. But on Thursday, Marisa received word from Saoradh that she wasn’t welcome at its Ard-Fheis in Newry. And when she asked for an explanation, a party spokesperson said it was because she worked as a journalist on the Sunday World.
◾Ms McGlinchey explained she wasn’t a reporter. In fact she had an established reputation as an academic, employed as Assistant Professor of Political Science at Coventry University. And she further clarified she had merely contributed an article to the paper in her role as a political analyst.
◾But her account cut no ice with the Saoradh spokesperson. Yesterday, Ms McGlinchey told us: “I was shocked to be told that I was banned – and even more shocked when I was told the reason. “As an academic who specialises in Irish Republicanism, I attend political conferences all over the world.
◾”The last thing I expected was to be told I was being denied observer status at a Saoradh conference in Ireland – because I worked for the Sunday World! “I don’t. I’m employed by the University of Coventry,” she said.
◾She added: “It’s going to be very difficult to properly reflect the views of Saoradh if I’m banned from attending its conference.”
With many thanks to the: Sunday World and Hugh Jordan for the EXCLUSIVE original story