Gerry Adams has performed worse on live TV. His 2007 debacle in which he underwent intellectual humiliation at the hands of Michael McDowell is a case in point. But Monday night’s Prime Time was a bad outing for him. It is hard to see how it could have been anything else in the absence of Jim Gibney being the interviewer. The deodorant of peace has never managed to suppress the stench of war that lingers around the Sinn Fein president. And until he goes away the stench shall continue making its way up noses and will invite the question ‘what’s causing that smell?’ The entrance price to the political establishment in the South is considerably higher than in the North where an artificially deflated fee gets just about anybody in, few questions asked.

That Adams is even on TV being relentlessly grilled about ‘murder’ amounts to about five goals down before the first ball of the game has been kicked. It is a PR nightmare and a critic’s wet dream. Adams hardly helps his own cause when he describes IRA killings as murder and seeks to defend that characterisation on the grounds that all killings are murder, which quite evidently they are not.  Moreover, Sinn Fein approved an arrangement on policing and justice that permits British law enforcement agencies to pursue and prosecute people like him for pre Good Friday Agreement political offences.  This invalidates any insinuation Adams might make that the conflict is a thing of the past and that we should refrain from going there in terms of public scrutiny (looking at the British excepted of course). His own party has legitimised the type of questioning he finds so objectionable.

Rather than get the credit he thinks is his due for his supposed understanding of what constitutes murder Adams merely invites the follow up question of why he directed a murder campaign.  He is unable to convince anybody, other than an American groupie in Dublin it seems, that he was never a key IRA leader at the heart of its military strategy.

What moral difference then is there between him and the late Harold Shipman if murder is murder is murder? Is what may then be termed the ‘stench of murder’, as it was so icily put to Martin McGuinness during his failed presidential campaign, to be allowed to waft through society without as much as a cursory question?  What sort of society would Ireland be if Harold Shipman in pursuit of the health ministry portfolio could come on television and object to any questioning about the fate of his patients?

There is a double disjuncture at play here which is proving problematic for the Sinn Fein leader. Adams has long sought to carve out a political career for himself as a leading politician on the island of Ireland. Given his military past he could more easily do so had the guerrilla proved successful. That would have resulted in a more positive discourse around the application of an armed strategy. The men of 1916 and War of Independence behaved no differently from Adams, yet the state formation that flowed from their actions has legitimised their war making. Whatever dubious victory Adams may claim in his coment to Johann Hari that 'this is the only IRA campaign that has succeeded', it is very much viewed as something whose significance is limited to the North. Playing second fiddle to the DUP at Stormont as part of an internal solution over which the British are sovereign is a far cry from statehood no matter how territorially limited Irish nation statehood has undoubtedly been. Partition not only firewalled the Southern body politic from the Northern conflagration but it also helped douse any cross border spread of legitimacy that might have accrued the way of IRA leaders like Adams. Simply put, the losers’ pen signs surrender documents. It does not write history.

Adams is further caught in the disjuncture of how political violence was subject to different experiences in the North and the South. Denizens of cities like Cork or Dublin simply are not culturally attuned to the same degree as citizens of Belfast or Derry to have a nuanced approach to the type of violence that the North underwent. To Southerners it was a ‘black North’ phenomenon that sometimes polluted southern society. As the South did not have to breathe in the toxic fumes of British and unionist repressive rule and subjugation it is not as understanding of the actions of a killing machine as efficient as the Provisional IRA.  As Mick Fealty of Slugger O’Toole pointed out to me recently, when the oppressed are seen to kill considerably more people than the state oppressing them, its claim to be the effect rather than the cause of political violence is greatly diminished.

These awkward joints are there for all to see and no amount of buffing makes them go away. While they fail to disappear, Gerry Adams for as long as he is in public life will face questions about things that did disappear.


Miriam, Gerry & Harold

Gerry Adams has performed worse on live TV. His 2007 debacle in which he underwent intellectual humiliation at the hands of Michael McDowell is a case in point. But Monday night’s Prime Time was a bad outing for him. It is hard to see how it could have been anything else in the absence of Jim Gibney being the interviewer. The deodorant of peace has never managed to suppress the stench of war that lingers around the Sinn Fein president. And until he goes away the stench shall continue making its way up noses and will invite the question ‘what’s causing that smell?’ The entrance price to the political establishment in the South is considerably higher than in the North where an artificially deflated fee gets just about anybody in, few questions asked.

That Adams is even on TV being relentlessly grilled about ‘murder’ amounts to about five goals down before the first ball of the game has been kicked. It is a PR nightmare and a critic’s wet dream. Adams hardly helps his own cause when he describes IRA killings as murder and seeks to defend that characterisation on the grounds that all killings are murder, which quite evidently they are not.  Moreover, Sinn Fein approved an arrangement on policing and justice that permits British law enforcement agencies to pursue and prosecute people like him for pre Good Friday Agreement political offences.  This invalidates any insinuation Adams might make that the conflict is a thing of the past and that we should refrain from going there in terms of public scrutiny (looking at the British excepted of course). His own party has legitimised the type of questioning he finds so objectionable.

Rather than get the credit he thinks is his due for his supposed understanding of what constitutes murder Adams merely invites the follow up question of why he directed a murder campaign.  He is unable to convince anybody, other than an American groupie in Dublin it seems, that he was never a key IRA leader at the heart of its military strategy.

What moral difference then is there between him and the late Harold Shipman if murder is murder is murder? Is what may then be termed the ‘stench of murder’, as it was so icily put to Martin McGuinness during his failed presidential campaign, to be allowed to waft through society without as much as a cursory question?  What sort of society would Ireland be if Harold Shipman in pursuit of the health ministry portfolio could come on television and object to any questioning about the fate of his patients?

There is a double disjuncture at play here which is proving problematic for the Sinn Fein leader. Adams has long sought to carve out a political career for himself as a leading politician on the island of Ireland. Given his military past he could more easily do so had the guerrilla proved successful. That would have resulted in a more positive discourse around the application of an armed strategy. The men of 1916 and War of Independence behaved no differently from Adams, yet the state formation that flowed from their actions has legitimised their war making. Whatever dubious victory Adams may claim in his coment to Johann Hari that 'this is the only IRA campaign that has succeeded', it is very much viewed as something whose significance is limited to the North. Playing second fiddle to the DUP at Stormont as part of an internal solution over which the British are sovereign is a far cry from statehood no matter how territorially limited Irish nation statehood has undoubtedly been. Partition not only firewalled the Southern body politic from the Northern conflagration but it also helped douse any cross border spread of legitimacy that might have accrued the way of IRA leaders like Adams. Simply put, the losers’ pen signs surrender documents. It does not write history.

Adams is further caught in the disjuncture of how political violence was subject to different experiences in the North and the South. Denizens of cities like Cork or Dublin simply are not culturally attuned to the same degree as citizens of Belfast or Derry to have a nuanced approach to the type of violence that the North underwent. To Southerners it was a ‘black North’ phenomenon that sometimes polluted southern society. As the South did not have to breathe in the toxic fumes of British and unionist repressive rule and subjugation it is not as understanding of the actions of a killing machine as efficient as the Provisional IRA.  As Mick Fealty of Slugger O’Toole pointed out to me recently, when the oppressed are seen to kill considerably more people than the state oppressing them, its claim to be the effect rather than the cause of political violence is greatly diminished.

These awkward joints are there for all to see and no amount of buffing makes them go away. While they fail to disappear, Gerry Adams for as long as he is in public life will face questions about things that did disappear.


23 comments:

  1. Why does he stay? Surely he must know politically and morally he is proving a serious liability.

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  2. Nuala,

    power. Not to change anything. He sort of read JFK's patriotic speech the wrong way round: it is not what you can do for your party but what your party can do for you.

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  3. Excellent post Anthony and truth be told I enjoyed every minute of the Prime Time show and show it really was. Miriam O Callaghan in all honesty did not have to do a lot,a few questions to the quisling $inn £ein president for life and he was squirming like the snake he is,his notion that if he repeats his lies often enough people will either start to believe him or just get fed up asking questions that he wont answer,big mistake in interview terms,as Antony points out in football terms he is five goals down before the match starts, had he a long time ago declared that he played a central role in the republican movement,which we all know he did,and that until there was a proper truth recovery process in place then he would not discuss his role any further,I think something along such lines may have bought him some time and even some credibility,but to demonise his former comrades by stating that "those killed by the IRA were murdered" acting in most cases on his say so,and in turn accepting the bitch Thatchers assertion that the activities of the republican movement was a crime and as such then Bobby Sands and everyone else involved in the republican movement was a criminal is a ridiculous if not disgusting statement from even a carpetbagger like Adams,this man who has covered up for paedophiles an even buried one draped with a tricolour. appears on national television and tries to project an image of a man of peace when everyone but the blind fools who follow him know that he is a man of many parts and someone who would gladly lay down your life for the love of his country..he has done it so many times before. he called Dolores Price and Brendan Hughes two decent and staunch republicans liars and dissident republicans who wanted him dead ,yet he squirmed his way into carrying Brendans coffin,the man got hammered on Prime Time its another warning shot to the ambitious wannabes in that party the their president is away past his sell by date..fuck him .

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  4. Seems to habitually get things wrong.

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  5. Marty, this is a good take on it.

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  6. Anthony it is indeed an excellent take on that show and a very probable explanation on why he even bothered, Adams and others of that ilks answer to anything relevant is to deflect and obfuscate the issue at hand,his tenuous grip on power within the party must be slipping badly, the Mary Lou,s and Pearce,s must be already trying out the big seat, the liar-bility that Gerry Itwasntme has become is something that if there was not the shadow of the gunman still remaining,he would have been put out on the after dinner circuit speaking long ago.

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  7. maybe the American groupie got confused and was shouting 'GO-GO-Adams'. Quickly!!

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  8. He has well lost the plot, I was wondering was he using maggie hatchets words, Crime Is Crime Is crime, into , Murder is Murder Is Murder.

    So were Guilty One and all.
    To call Dolours and Brendan Liars is beneath contempt.

    Are we all so naive? , we know he was at most of the Army Council meetings before they SF got there feet under the table to took it over, He got every ceasefire he needed to appease the British and further his political career.

    The more he talks , the more he puts his own boot in his own mouth.

    I have never seen anyone on Live TV who has consistently lied over and over again.

    Maybe someone is going to pull the plug on him and he can then slither down a drain forever.

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  9. Great piece that. In my opinion he did not do too bad bearing in mind he is a narcistic psychopath with all the attributes of a Grade A professional liar.

    This man will only leave the stage via stretcher. Power and control is his drug of choice. I have really noticed over the last few years how professional the SF political machine has become.

    I also believe this has been CIA funded and directed. I have no proof, yet, but this certainly looks like their MO.

    I suppose the man who Gerry termed as American friend that paid for his operation, could possibly be the man to shed most light on the subject.

    I am starting to believe he wasn't out flanks by the british, but out, was out flanks by consent USA style. Makes sense really.

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  10. So after all the lies Gerry has finally agreed with Maggie Thatcher that the people who were causing all the problems in Northern Ireland were in fact criminals. The Hunger Strikers were conned into believing that they were giving up their lives to defend the right to be Political Prisoners when in fact one of the men negotiating on their behalf believed them to be murderers and criminals.
    Imagine Gerry’s speech at the next Hunger Strikers memorial ….here lays Bobby Sands the criminal who gave up his life for others who are murderers and cut throats
    Danny Morrison leads the round of applause
    After his dreadful performance with Miriam surely people should now wake up to the fact that here is a very untrustworthy man, he would sell his mother down the road to further his Political career, or should that be Father

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  11. The context of this interview was highly significant not only from the perspective of the last 40 years but what Republican groups (political & militant) who are currently attempting to resurrect 'Phoenix from the ashes' in the O6C should expect from the country they hope to be re-united with in the future.
    If the interviewer had of been Jeremy Paxman/Andrew Marr/Nick Robinson etc then there would have been calls for insurrection from the four corners of this partitioned island. But the simple fact is, it wasn't!
    It was an Irish interviewer berating a suspected former terrorist leader form a different jurisdiction on murders carried in HER pseudo sovereign state. In adopting this approach, Miriam re-iterated the 'out of sight, out of mind' attitude of the 26 counties that has dogged the North since partition. Whilst she cherry picked 'incidents' from our turbulent past, she conveniently forgot to mention how complicit the South government were in 3,500+ deaths through their ignoble attitude towards the 06C, beginning with Jack Lynch's indecisiveness in '69.
    The triple locking of partition through GFA would only succeed if the normalisation (PEACE) process would firstly pacify Republican aspirations and then criminalise the 40 year 'war' effort. We are now witnessing the final phase of the re-integration of the O6C firmly within the union. Who better to hammer the final nails into the coffin of re-unification than the figure head of the 'cause', Lord Gerry Adams.
    Since his entrance to the DaĆ­l he has continuously capitulated by his public denunciations of PIRA actions. And all for political acceptance in a partitioned state!
    He hammered home the death nail when calling Brendan Hughes & Dolours Price 'liar's.
    'Et tu Brute'!

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  12. "As Mick Fealty of Slugger O’Toole pointed out to me recently, when the oppressed are seen to kill considerably more people than the state oppressing them, its claim to be the effect rather than the cause of political violence is greatly diminished."

    That is typical, Fealty middle class liberal crap, what he is doing here is attempting to equate 800 years of English State occupation and oppression with the 40 whatever years of the PIRA campaign. I might add 800 years of murder inc scattered a tad few more corpses around Ireland than the PIRA.

    Besides the Provos were a lot of things but an oppressed group they were not. The whole point about fighting back by whatever means, is the individual's involved have moved beyond victimhood.

    To put it bluntly they no longer meekly serve their time.

    T

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  13. Organised Rage,

    I think Mick Fealty hit the nail on the head and far from being crap was spot on in terms of how thimgs are perceived as a conflict is fought out. There is nothing essentially liberal in what he says. A Marxist could quite easily make the same observation without in any way subscribing to Liberal ideology.

    That Mick Fealty might be a Liberal is neither here not there for the purpose of this discussion. He has made no equation between 800 years of English rule and the PIRA campaign, rather restricting himself to the perception of events. He probably does not even disagree with your observation that over the range the British have killed more. But his was a periodised look which Marxists like Althusser were fond of taking.

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  14. For Adams to claim the Hunger Strikers and all volunteers in the Irish Republican Army were murderers, is as despicable as Adams covering up for his pedophile brother. Adams has a tongue for every occasion, most times it's forked.

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  15. "As Mick Fealty of Slugger O’Toole pointed out to me recently, when the oppressed are seen to kill considerably more people than the state oppressing them, its claim to be the effect rather than the cause of political violence is greatly diminished."

    The latter part of this comment I am having difficulty in getting my head around. Maybe someone can elaborate on what this means..its claim to be the effect rather than the cause of political violence is greatly diminished."

    Surely Republican militancy resurgence was entirely reactionary to the British treatment of the Civil Rights movement on Bloody Sunday? The Border campaign was nipped in the bud and it took the murder on the streets of Derry to provide the catalyst that militant Republicanism needed.

    As the conflict continued Republican militant groups got themselves dragged into the sectarian myre. A self-defeating strategy because it went against one of the fundamental principles of Wolfe Tone which was to unite 'Catholic, Protestant & Dissenter'.

    Therefore, the resurgence of the PIRA was fueled by a natural 'fight or flight' mechanism which kicked when we were faced with the actions of a brutal oppressor on our streets. The momentum this created allowed the 'long war' re-unification strategy to be formulated.

    Is it not the case that the Border Campaign had re-unification as it's principle driving force, the post '69 PIRA campaign created a re-unification strategy as it developed?




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  16. Fenian,

    32 years ago today republicanism reached probably its zenith in terms of perception: when it was enduring rather than inflicting. Mick Fealty's point is very basic: when a body that is resisitng repression/oppression takes more lives than it loses then it has a correspondingly greater difficulty in making the claim about it being the effect of political violence. The argument is less about the morality and more about functionality.

    Even if the Provisional IRA was a response to British state stategy (which I believe it generally was although there were different constituencies feeding into the Provisional response) the level of the response rather than the response per se can be used against the insurgents in terms of perception. Grievance legitimises response but not every response.

    Reunification was an objective long before the Long War strategy (of the mid 70s)came into play.

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  17. "Mick Fealty's point is very basic: when a body that is resisitng repression/oppression takes more lives than it loses then it has a correspondingly greater difficulty in making the claim about it being the effect of political violence."

    AM
    Mr Fealty's points are never very basic, they are designed to advance his own political and personal beliefs and whomever is the power in the land.

    He knows full well it is impossible to divorce the PIRA campaign from those of the previous generations who refused to bend the knee.

    Social progress it a war of attrition, we win some and loose some but the revolutionary urge for justice and equality means this struggle will never cease until it reaches its ultimate goal, whether in Ireland or elsewhere.



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  18. Organised Rage,

    I find the criticism of Fealty very weak without any substance to show that he is what you say he is.

    I don't subscribe to the teleology you outline, feeling instead that these things are never guaranteed. And I share Orwell's view of revolutionaries that nine times out of ten they are social climbers with guns.

    As for the PIRA campaign, this was touched on by Fenian today in a somewhat different context. Quite some time ago my own experiences and study of it led me to conclude that the relationship between previous IRA campaigns and PIRA's is marked more by discontinuity than continuity. And when we put emphasis on the ruptures it becomes easier to understand how the PIRA settled for so little in terms of more traditional republican goals.

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  19. My critism of Mr Fealty is neither weak nor strong as I did not go into details, what it was my honest opinion of the man born of personal experience and the reactionary elements he mixed with in London, which I will admit have weighed heavily on me.

    Orwell's view of revolutionaries as social climbers with guns is very witty and has a grain of truth about it, but it hardly stacks up as some of the worlds greatest revolutionaries never came within reach of a gun. I suppose Marx is the most famous, but there are countless examples out there as I am sure your aware.

    As an outsider I have never looked at the PIRA campaign as a continuation of previous IRA campaigns but another brick in the wall of 800 years of struggle.

    Of course there is nothing automatic about the outcome of any struggle, nor can defeat and victory always be clear. I suppose Zhou Enlai famous quote on the French revolution is the best example of this. When asked what its significance was he is alleged to have replied, "It is too soon to say."

    I think much the same about the PIRA's war, although I do believe history will be much kinder to it than the Mick Fealty's of today, let alone the MSM and house trained English historians.

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  20. Organised Rage,

    thanks for this.

    I think a person who is intellectually promiscuous is a more useful excavator of ideas and better placed to exercise judgement than one who is faithful to his own school. I think TOny Benn was a good illustration of this. Keeping the company of Enoch Powell did him no harm.

    Marx and co are perhaps amongst the 1 in the 10 who do not social climb with guns. I have seen too many revolutionaries trade in the revolution to think Orwell is wide off the mark.


    As an outsider I have never looked at the PIRA campaign as a continuation of previous IRA campaigns but another brick in the wall of 800 years of struggle.


    And the difference is?

    I am familiar with the Zhou En Lai quote and have found it a marvellous way of masking something we have no clue about. But then the Chinese were the master pragmatists.

    As for PIRA's war it all depends on who writes history. We need a mutiplicity of histories rather than one.



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  21. could not believe what adams said in that video @ 5min 10 sec's.

    "and there were Criminal Prisoners ; Ordinary decent Prisoners" , so does he mean the republican prisoners were not decent?.

    He sure as hell gets into a turmoil when put under pressure.

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  22. Itsjustmacker,

    I think he was trying to say Ordinary Decent Criminals. They were the ODCs whereas we were the NCPs - Non Conforming Prisoners. It was jail management terminology. Quite often a screw in conversation would use either without trying to annoy.

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  23. Anthony:

    Thanks for clearing that up for me.

    So if I go and rob the Northern Bank and got lifted and sent down , that would make me an "ODC".

    Do they get "BROWNIE" points. lol

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