The End Is Not Nigh

Anthony McIntyre with a brief assessment of the announcement by Gerry Adams to relinquish the presidency of Sinn Fein.

When Gerry Adams announced that he intends to stand down as Sinn Fein president no effort whatsoever was needed to resist regurgitating Stalin’s terse comment upon learning of the death of Hitler: “that’s the end of the bastard.” It is anything but.

Gerry Adams has devoted copious time and other people’s lives to the advancement of his political career. In today’s world Robert Mugabe readily springs to mind as being comparable in terms of power lust. Adams may be stepping aside but hardly away.

I was somewhat surprised by the imminence of his relinquishing of the presidency, having expected him to state that he would stand aside in 2066, allowing a new leader to assume control in time for the 150th anniversary of the Easter Rising.

In recent months despite signs that the iron fist with which he imposed his authority on the party was starting to rust, there were few indications from him that he intended to go. In August he undertook to lead Sinn Fein into the next election. When last year Eoin O’Broin opined at the McGill Summer School that there would be a new party leader within five years Adams tetchily snapped "he must know something that I don't know."

The likelihood is that Gerry Adams intended hanging on for as long as he could. However, the culture of bullying which he relied on so much to enforce his writ was increasingly coming under public scrutiny. Those the party were dependent on for expansion in the South were more and more refusing to be bullied. With a disappointing election last time around with the party not coming remotely close to usurping Fianna Fail, something had to give.

But that doesn’t mean the political career of Gerry Adams has run out of road. The symbolism of both he and Martin Ferris declining to stand for re-election to the Dail was clear. The Provisional IRA’s Army Council was at last leaving the electoral stage, allowing the vacuum to be filled by those with no military baggage.

Adams may now be calculating that the party under a different helm - where scandal rooted in the past military career of its leader will rapidly abate - shall open up new opportunities, particularly if the party enters coalition. How Sinn Fein fare in those changed circumstances might reconfigure the political landscape so significantly, draining Sinn Fein of toxicity, that Adams, possibly shed of the stench of secret graves, might well bid for the presidency in 2025. He has denied any interest but like his denials of having been an IRA member, that doesn't merit a rat's ass.

Don't expect Adams to go silently into the night. Do expect a period of reinvention where the image of elder statesman will be cultivated, away from the cut and thrust and mire of daily political life. A writer, poet, after-dinner speaker, international peace maker, human rights luminary, critic of terrorism, robust supporter of the state and its institutions, ad nauseum. All to ensure that from from the Ashes of 1969 arose Phoenix Park.

We have not heard the end of the Great Misleader.

Anthony McIntyre blogs @ The Pensive Quill.

Follow Anthony McIntyre on Twitter @AnthonyMcIntyre      

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Anthony McIntyre

Former IRA prisoner, spent 18 years in Long Kesh. Free Speech advocate, writer, historian, humanist, and researcher.

16 comments to ''The End Is Not Nigh"

  1. Stepped down in name only. Michelle O'Neill won't dare fart without explicit approval from the now Eternal Leader.

    The baggage of the Provos will always be there in the minds of the people. Adams taking a step backwards into the shadows fools nobody.

  2. "Politics is not the art of the possible. It’s the art of choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable"

    - John Kenneth Galbraith

    'Big Jarry' swallows hard yet again.

  3. maybe he'll join fine gael now. sure whats the difference folks, spin feign are fine gael on steroids now. wudnt be surprised if they elected a gay irish-speaking refugee tranny to the top spot now. that wud be the politically correct thing to do, and thats all that matters to this 'party' now. o bradaigh o conail rip.

  4. Anthony,

    A brief assessment but by far the best.

    The president is dead, long live the acting president Mary Lou McAdams!

  5. Grouch your not Larry Hughes in disguise are ye? lol

  6. no steve, i hope hes well, one of the best aul skins i ever encountered online and as sharp as anything. actually, he'd be some man to take over the shinners!

  7. no steve, i hope hes well, one of the best aul skins i ever encountered online and as sharp as anything. actually, he'd be some man to take over the shinners!

  8. I believe Mr Adams said that he is a team player and team builder and that he has complete confidence in the leadership they elected at the Ard Fheis. I haven't heard anywhere that Adams is quitting SF. So he will be around for a while as the great team builder.

    Then we had Pearse Doherty ruling himself out as new leader saying that he was confident that there were a number of young republicans who would be capable of stepping into Mr Adams' shoes". He wanted to concentrate on his family.

    Then we had Michelle O'Neill ruling herself because she wanted to concentrate in the North because the powersharing collapsed.

    That's minus two already so I wonder how many and who are the number of young pretenders that Mr Doherty referred to?

    According to the Irish Independent that leaves Mary Lou as the favorite. There are many ways I could classify Ms McDonald but spring chicken isn't one. Stepping into Mr Adam's shoes, well one thing for sure is, I wouldn't like to get on her wrong side.

  9. The news that the quisling $inn £eind president for life and beyond is about to retire reminds me of Ithink it was Mark Twains retort to the newspaper article announcement that he had died .he said"reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated "Adams the egotistical bastard that he is cannot live in this world like the rest of us without being the xenter od attention.his entourage or doting sheep.he may be making a move but I would suggest it is indeed a sideway one .I for one would love to see the bastard end up on a lonely border road or in a sanddune. That would indeed be karma .

  10. This could be the moment other political parties have been dreaming about, Mary Lou looks odds on to be in the hot seat but will she be able to control the Northern Command she will now quickly learn she really has no say

  11. Grouch

    So you have problem with LGTG people and refugees then. I wonder why.

  12. Grouch,

    I had time for Larry as well, even if he was barking mad sometimes. I went on hols and he disappeared? Did he get banned?

    Wouldn't have surprised me! lol

  13. Never mind Adams, as Steve R and Grouch point out, where is Larry Hughes?

  14. AM, do you remember the scene in Batman:The Dark Knight, where the Joker confesses to Batman he doesnt seek victory over him, because 'you [Batman] complete me'? Given only ink is at stake between you and Adams (he cant summon protesters to your house etc) , wouldnt you miss him if he did go? Similarly,writing about Danny Morrison is the only thing that slips you out of your zen state. Im not talking about your past dealings or your view on what they did during the HungeStrike, I mean your writings today/tommorow.

  15. barry, we're on different pages - i've a problem with media driven p.c. i think u mite be one of those black and white people who likes to label people as pro or anti something without really thinking about it. i am considered homophobic because i was against gay marriage. thats fine with me. but dont tell my gay mate who nearly got bullied to death years ago that im homophobic . me and a couple of politically incorrect mates put an end to the bullying fairly lively. personally, nothing gives me more pleasure than sticking up for anyone who gets bullied be they gay, refugees or northern taigs who had to put up with the biggest bullies on earth for generations. also, there is another side to all this equality nonsense, but i cudnt be arsed going into it now. any gay refugee trannies out there could do worse than bump into the likes of me - altho they mitnt quite 'get' me. just because i'm not into gay marriage dusnt mean i dont love gay people, but self obsessed gaylords who cant see further than their own 'suffering' do get on my tits though. and youd be surprised how much i love you too. also, there is more to the refugee thing too - u obviously didnt watch the barbara specter clip i recomended u before. slan.

    steve - i honestly dont know bout larbo, i went missing for a while too and regularly switch off from net anyway. i know he has a little nipper now as he mentioned it last time i read one of his comments. i hope he has 17 more kids coz ireland needs more little larry and larrette hugheses. slan.


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