|The Bishop of Louth|
A private family affair is just that and none should ever intrude publically into a private family affair, leaving it to the family to sort. When a cynical manipulator of the media chooses to milk a private family tragedy for a political end then that act is deserving of comment and questions.
In the first instance it has to be noted that when a report of child abuse was made to the RUC in 1987 the abuse allegation was overlooked for a leverage opening on the then leader of the republican movement. The child was abandoned by the very institutions of the state set up to safeguard and protect vulnerable children. That abandonment and indifference towards the plight of the child was compounded by its abandonment by the one uncle who could have made a difference.
In the aftermath of the Liam Adams trial and with the availability of documents and court records to give a deeper understanding of what precisely happened we are undoubtedly grateful that we live in the internet age when information is accessible pretty quickly before somebody dresses it up and presents it to us as something more akin to propaganda than fact.
The raw fact that Gerry contacted the Social Services the day after confronting Liam in Buncrana to complain that Aine was living in a dirty house and had nits rather than reporting her vulnerability to an abusive parent speaks volumes for the concern Gerry the man had towards Aine the child.
Further he only broke for cover when he discovered that Chris Moore was doing a documentary for UTV which would raise disturbing questions about his role in the saga. Having assessed the immediate impact of that documentary to be inimical to Big Gerry, he and his advisors called in Tommie Gorman from RTE a couple of days later when Gerry hung his own father out to hang in that infamous interview – which was designed to further cloudy the waters, engender sympathy for poor oul Gerry and stop people asking awkward questions.
The questions didn’t stop though and when Suzanne Breen forensically dissected Gerry’s whole account for The Sunday Tribune she exposed lie upon lie, deceit upon deceit in Gerry’s accounts.
Not that many took notice, why let little things like facts get in the way of a good counter-revolution with electoral and financial gains still to be made -- such facts can be dismissed as the moaning of disgruntled opponents of the peace process.
But they came back again in crystallised form when a jury in Belfast found Liam Adams guilty of his crimes. And the reaction again from the Sinn Fein spin machine was to shoot the messengers. Journalists who covered the story are denigrated as lacking credibility and bona fides: it’s all a personal witch-hunt against Big Gerry; it’s the Brits; it’s the securocrats.
I don’t believe Sinn Fein internally though is such a united front around the Dear Leader who everybody loves and reveres; party strategists have to be considering the negative dynamics of going into elections with the stench of sexual abuse hanging over the party. Adams is clearly no longer the magical negotiator who could sell pork to the Arabs never mind sand, his cross examination exposed him as a faltering and unconvincing witness, more a liability than an asset hence his non-recall at the second trial.
Dismissing criticism of Gerry Adams as the outworking of opponents of the peace process is a cynical manipulation of the discursive format, It is not anti-peace to question the motivations and wisdom of a leader, it is not anti-peace to call out a snake oil-salesman on his inconsistencies and evasions. As republicans committed to a republic which cherishes all of the children equally we are obligated to raise voices of concern over the abandonment of a child and the subsequent media pantomime to present the unsavoury details in a manner favourable to Big Gerry the victim .....
Gerry lives in two worlds, he has told us so in his book “A Farther Shore”, there is the fictional happy ending world where we swallow his version of history/events and then there is the other world, the world of truth and reality which we are not yet mature enough to handle. Referring to the hunger strike Adams comments:
“A happy ending, finally, eventually, it seems to me is more important than a tell-all story now.”Like the hunger strike, his handling of sexual abuse allegations against a child leaves a lot more questions to be answered than clarity. There are no happy endings though: six men died unnecessarily in 1981 to get Adams into a lucrative lifestyle which has seen the poor boy from Ballymurphy move up the social ladder; abandoned child victims don’t have happy endings, the memories never leave them. Then there is the matter of our patriot dead who died believing we were in this for the long haul while Gerry was secretly negotiating behind our backs to bring the war to a close. No happy endings......
We must continue to question though, to be silent is to be acquiescent. As republicans who once believed in and followed Gerry Adams we have every right to ask questions and demand full disclosure of all the secret dealings of the leadership of the Provisional high command. We deserve this and we earned the right to demand it when we stood against the British and endured all that they threw at us. It is time for the tell-all story now.