Late Late

Arriving home from Dublin late in the day and tired to boot my idea of a relaxing end to the evening was hardly one of watching the Late Late Show which had earlier been billing an appearance by Gerry Adams as a significant feature. Watching Northern politicians waffle about the peace process might have some uses but as a means to keep awake it is pretty much redundant.

Listening to any of my former military leaders from the days when I was an IRA volunteer holding court on television is not something I have a penchant for. They never seem to say anything that would halt me in my tracks and cause me to think, ‘didn’t expect that.’ Nor are they ever able to announce the securing of anything remotely resembling the aims which the IRA promised to deliver while I was a member. So, as time passes, what leaders from my IRA days say does not send me scrambling for the paper or a TV remote control in the way that it once did. It makes absolutely no difference to anything whether I hear them or not.

I felt in advance of last evening’s chat show that there was nothing the Sinn Fein president would say that would shock or startle viewers. He was hardly going to reveal that he was the Provisional IRA’s chief of staff in 1977-78 or its Belfast commander in 1972-73. Secrets best left buried I suppose. Nor was he likely to announce a united Ireland for 2016. His colleague Martin McGuinness tried moving that ‘certain day’ forward to 2014 a year ago only to be scorned and sniggered at by the unionists. Try spinning that bollix to the electorate in the South and you are certain to be laughed back across the border. What it amounts to is simple: the Promised Land has been sent packing and in its place a greater public consideration of Brian Cowen’s more sober assessment that the country might be free from its economic woes by 2016. That is what taxes most people’s minds, not the endless peace process and nonsense about a united Ireland in 6 years time.

Still, tired as I was, I lay down on the settee wondering how Ryan Tubridy might handle the interview. He had demonstrated from the first Late Late show he hosted that while Brian Cowen might be Taoiseach of the country the Taoiseach of Late Late was Mr Tubridy and no other. He was hardly going to prove susceptible to the Adams ploy of bullying and hectoring. Nor would he allow his interviewee to drone on endlessly about the peace process. RTE can’t have the whole country sleeping during its big Friday night special.

All things considered, it had all the potential for no contest. Tubridy has always looked sharp and quick on his feet. Adams in recent years has seemed cumbersome and jaded, repeating the same old mantras, searching out some scapegoat onto whom his woes can be pinned. Moreover, I was of the view that his major Irish News interview alongside his slot on the Tubridy wheel was not coincidental. Both may have been timed to draw the sting from the upcoming book on IRA matters by the distinguished journalist Ed Moloney. What has filtered out from the book thus far seems to have frightened the Sinn Fein horses. If so, Adams rushed his fences and shot his wad too soon. The much anticipated book has not been released to coincide with the anniversary of the death of Brendan Hughes, the late Provisional IRA leader, whose testimony is said to form a crucial part of the Moloney story. When the book does come Adams will not have the same opportunities to defang it.

In all then the Late Late promised to be something to stay up for, no contest or otherwise. Yet the willpower deserted me. Not long after Samuel L Jackson appeared I drifted off. My wife, maybe not expecting a handsome enough Valentine’s treat, shook me from my slumber to tell me ‘it’ was on. ‘It’ indeed; through bleary peepers what ambled across the screen in front of me seemed like something from a Stephen King novel. Was it really Harold Shipman back from the grave beaming out from our screen? While relieved to realise that my eyes were focussing in on Gerry I could hardly feign joyousness at the knowledge that here was someone with even more accomplishments than Harold.

So how did it go? It was not one of the Sinn Fein president’s worst performances. He keeps them for election time down here. Yet he will get no bounce whatsoever out of it. Tubridy gave him little space to promote himself. Rapid fire questions which produced only banal responses prevented Adams taking control of the interview. His one attempt, when he made reference to the republican anti-Treaty credentials of Tubridy’s grandfather, quickly saw the initiative snatched away from him by the Late Late host’s fleetness of foot. The moment had passed and the opportunity was lost. Where other interviewers have let go off the reins when confronted by Adams ‘whataboutery’ Tubridy tightened his grip and cleared the fence.

Most things, even his evasions on the issue of his brother Liam’s inexcusable behaviour, might not have caused Adams any credibility problems. Tubridy for whatever reason chose not to press him hard enough. It was the silly old prevarication on the question of IRA membership that has disembowelled him time after time, which saw him limp out of the studio. If Tubridy failed to experience a Paxman moment when Adams denied ever having been a member of the organisation he once led as chief of staff, then many others registered it for him. Urban myth or not, Paxman is reported to have famously said that a thought that often crosses his mind when interviewing politicians is ‘why is this lying bastard lying to me.’

The answer is in the question.


  1. enjoyed that post a cara, rather you than me having to listen to that lying git, now to spread rose petals all over the bed oiche go maith

  2. Just though your readers might get a kick out of the link sent to me by crime writer, Sam Millar, on Facebook. It's a pisser.

  3. just read that guardian post Mary sent, typical Adams ugh thats my tv viewing sorted and it wont be that show

  4. Mary, thanks for that link. It is certainly challenging to our sense of anything ethical to watch him at this lark. While I would think he is probably closer to Christ than Willie McCrea it doesn't give him much of a lead. It is so full of cant and dishonesty. Must blog something about it

  5. Cannot believe they paid him £10, 000 to do the documentary.What an insult to decent people! or maybe we will get to see him walking on water, hopefully not in the dead sea. Anyway he has survived whatever it was he got up to, could any of us survive watching him in "search of his Jesus"?

  6. Just watched the Late Late... much later. You should have stayed asleep Mackers as this Adams interview would give any Irish republican, nightmares as it was so bizarre. Gerry Adams has managed only to convince me that he is deeply lost in self denial so much so that his self denial has since been infected by a self denial all to itself. Also, I did find myself agreeing with Gerry Adams’ assertion concerning sections of the print media as being despicable and I was hoping that Ryan Turbridy as promised would return this matter but he didn’t.

    It was indeed despicable that only a few journalists brought these matters to the public interest and more sad that Gerry Adams implication is that only one journalist was despicable. Which places me and Gerry Adams at a polar opposite viewpoint. I would ask Ryan Turbridy and the countless other “journalists” who stayed “mum” why? Gerry seems to praise those who remained non active. I praise those who placed it in the public gaze where it rightfully belongs.

    Although, I am hopeful that some good and greater good will emanate from the interview, Gerry Adams says he will seek counselling. I hope he enters it with humility and arising from this humble process, a healing for many can emerge including Gerry Adams himself. Who still depicts himself as a man who did his best but could not even bring himself to say, I let my niece down. Gerry’s self denial is honest at present because he does not set out to let anyone down or put them down as he is at all times, striving to keep his self denial up.

    If / When future counselling, soul searching and humility brings about a self realization and indeed many epiphanies for the Sinn Fein President to share with us all. Ryan Turbridy has the inside news because Gerry’s ego has well ..... sort of invited himself back to the show in 5 years time “God spur us” as the still President of Sinn Fein in 2015. This humble interview after 5 years of counselling would be worth viewing as Gerry might emerge from the closet of closets.

    Yes, my name is Gerry and I was a proud volunteer of the IRA, I lived in self denial for decades and my ego run riot through many lives and I let people down.

    My name is Ryan and my Granda was once an irregular just like Gerry and I think it is despicable that many journalists including myself are careerists and evade public interest when selfish interest is paramount

  7. “I don't for one second step back from my responsibility as a leader of a struggle that has caused both hurt and damage to other human beings."
    Thanks Mary for that link and as we can all see now here is a sentence taken from what Gerry has said to the reporter in which he publicly admits to being Chief of Staff of the Provo’s .They are there for all to see so hopefully our online friends from Sinn Fein can tell me that yeah its true he was in the Ra or maybe they give the number of Spec Savers and tell me I am blind.