Gerry Adams?

Is time running out for Gerry Adams?
Are the Vultures flying overhead.
Gerry has a lot of enemies …not least on Slugger O’Toole so if/when he retires or resigns, there will be much joy in that Quarter.
But frankly, Gerry is about 63 years of age…a grandfather and not in the best of health, so his resignation would hardly be unexpected.
But the prospect of The Fall of The House of Adams…is given a certain extra spice by the fact that his resignation/retirement might be accompanied by enough humiliation to damage his legacy.

For the best part of forty years, Gerry Adams has played a game of cat and mouse with his critics…his enemies.
He has been routinely accused of being a leader of the Irish Republican Army.
He has routinely denied it.
I have routinely laughed about it because its irrelevant.

Nobody ever admits being a member of the IRA. There is a curious code about such things. People are “ex-prisoners”. People are “Republican activists”. We get the code.
Nobody spells it out.
Being a member of the IRA is illegal. Admitting to such a thing invites scrutiny on other people.
And the “ex-prisoners” are not much bothered by Gerry’s denials.
Nor are “Republican activists” bothered.
They “get it”
And so do Sinn Fein voters.

But two things have emerged lately. Gerry has survived…more or less….accusations that he could and should have done more when he discovered that his neice was a victim of sexual abuse …Liam Adams (a brother) has recently been convicted of some pretty horrific crimes.
For three weeks now, I have been trying to write a nuance piece on Catholic attitudes to the old Royal Ulster Constabulary…in matters of “ordinary” crime. Its proving very difficult to write…not least because its a difficult subject.

And the second problem is The Disappeared and more precisely Mrs Jean McConville.
The Disappeared are a group of around seventeen people, who were killed by the IRA during the Troubles. And the bodies were never found. After the Good Friday Agreement, the IRA agreed to help locate bodies. So far, ten bodies have been exhumed from bogland and remote countryside. The families have been given a degree of closure.
The Disappeared come from the darkest days of the Troubles. It is one of the nastier aspects of the Troubles. All incurred the wrath of the IRA…their families routinely speak of personal disputes with the local IRA but it is common knowledge that some were informers.
Their deaths lonely and brutal.

RTE and BBCNI showed a documentary on “The Disappeared” last night. I have not watched it. Its not a subject that I wish to re-visit. People of my age dont really need to see such things.
Gerry Adams surviving one Scandal is certainly possible. To survive both….now thats a tall order.

The story of Jean McConville is a tragic one.
A mother of eight young children and living in the Divis Flats area of West Belfast, she was abducted by the IRA in 1972.She was literally torn away from her family.
She was taken away, beaten, murdered and buried on a beach in County Louth. The location of her body was unknown for thirty years.

It has of course been assumed that Gerry Adams was the Officer Commanding the Second Battallion of the Belfast Brigade and that Divis was in this area.
Mrs McConville (her supporters claim) was a decent woman who went to the aid of an injured British soldier. There is no evidence to support this.
Mrs McConville (the IRA claim) was an informer who reported information to the British Via radio transmitter. Equally there is no evidence to support this.
Clearly in a war situation…and God knows it WAS a war in 1972…informers cannot expect anything good to happen. Unionists might well argue that she was doing her duty as a “good citizen” but really few people in West Belfast would have seen it that way.
The fact that she was a widow with several children…the youngest aged six…is particuarly poignant and makes it noteworthy.
But for several years, Gerry Adams was Member of Parliament for West Belfast. Very few held his alleged history against him.

Certainly the story of Jean McConville was lost amid a lot of other stuff. Gerry Adams has always insisted he was never a member of the IRA. His constituents would frankly have regarded these denials as “little white lies”.
The ambiguity was required as the Peace Process gathered momentum in the 1990s. And the British Government, Irish Government and of course the Media invented a new narrative for Mr Adams. The Peacemaker.
When the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998, the victims like Jean McConville were airbrushed out.
Effectively there is an Amnesty.
It was always the understanding (never admitted) that nobody was going to pay anything more than lip service to the Victims.

But Sinn Fein were never meant to be anything more than the minority nationalist Party in the New Order. All changed when Sinn Fein started defeating SDLP for nationalist hearts and minds.

And the allegations surrounding The Jean McConville Case re-surfaced some years ago. And even more recently when two deceased IRA members left testimony incriminating Gerry Adams.

The vultures are indeed flying overhead.
Some or even many might have a degree of sympathy for Gerry Adams over his family circumstances. He has stated that he DID tell a priest (now deceased…conveniently say his enemies) of concerns about his brother.
But coupled with denials about his IRA past, this stretches credibility.
To actually admit that he was a senior IRA figure might make denials about Jean McConville credible.

All in all, the story of the Troubles is not a nice one.

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10 Responses to Gerry Adams?

  1. Think it may have been Finatn O Toole but there was someone on yesterday’s Talkback from the Irish Times and by error or design they kinda gave away rte’s motivation ie. there are a generation, in the south, who are interested in Sinn Fein but unaware of their history. He also mentioned the upcoming elections (it’ll be on the Tuesday Iplayer episode of the show).

    We had the usual selection of ex Provos comments/writings, accepting that which condemns Adams but including other contextual points made eg. taking a bit of Hughes and taping it on to a bit of O’ Loan to make a narrative that neither’s full statement supports.

    Personally, I believe the agenda is not the victims or their families but the optics of the 26 county electorate and the statelet, to a lesser extent. Jean Mc Conville and Mary Travers are brought out alternately, like two figures in this old weather clocks, in a very obvious manner. So much have they been used that I think any power they had as a hammer to bash Sinn Fein has greatly declined.

    • Ronan Burns says:

      That is exactly how I see it. These RTE folk have shown little interest in Catholic victims of Protestant violence. Nor have they shown much interest in the victims of Loyalist attacks on Eire.

    • I think thats true.
      Everybody knew that Sinn Fein had to be involved in 1998 but nobody anticipated that they would be the leading nationalist party.
      But you’re right….the southern parties want to stop SF in its tracks.
      The truth is that everybody under-estimated Sinn Fein.

      But the Media….see Slugger for example…has a high moral tone about SF.
      The narrative there is “how can good decent people vote SF?”
      They cant comprehend that a lot of people in nationalist communities saw worse than the Jean McConville incident.
      I believe Sinn Fein 15 years after the Good Friday Agreement are in same position Fianna Fáil were in 1937.
      The Pro Treaty people and the West Britons in Dublin 4 and probably Fintan O’Tooles grandad hated FIanna fail who never shook off the gunman image….De Valera, Lemass, Aitken etc…and never shook off the “dodgy” tag….right up to Haughey, Burke and the rest.
      Until two years ago nobody in South really cared about FF past.

  2. “here are a generation, in the south, who are interested in Sinn Fein but unaware of their history.”
    This is also particularly true here in America. And I must admit that I have been guilty of it myself.

  3. zig70 says:

    It’s worth watching the doc just for Gerry’s american teeth. Then there is the very well trimmed look and the carefully chosen words. ‘Ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight’ sprang to mind.

  4. I have no objection to the media in Ireland or Britain investigating the political (or military) background of Adams, McGuinness or anyone else. Politicians need to be under the spotlight and Adams and co. are not sacred cows. The execution of Jean McConville and the circumstances around it should be known.

    That is why we need a Truth Commission and amnesty process. Lets just get on with it.

    My only objection is the one-sided nature of it all. The former WP-OSF apparatchiks at the head of the Labour Party escaped the media microscope by and large (even when hiring “special advisers” with colourful revolutionary careers behind them). The DUP and UUP have quite happily pinned party rosettes to former British terrorists, convicted gunmen and bombers. The DUP was the political wing of Ulster Resistance. And the de facto political wing of the UDA-UFF/UVF.

    Everyone in the conflict has skeletons. But, as we have seen, the news media of a certain ilk are largely only interested in the skeletons from one side.

    • This is true. But what gets me is the Timing. I have not been to SDLP Conference (going tomorrow) but from their perspective SDLP are right to point it all up.
      There IS political advantage. But again nothing that is really new…..SF were brought in from the cold by a lot of people who cant quite cope with SFs success.
      Its about irritation at SFs dishonesty, personal animosity towards Adams, their own failures, and in the case of the letsgetalongerist bloggers animosity towards Adams, Kelly, McGuinness etc coupled with a sychophantic attitude towards Doherty, O’Muileoir etc

  5. Political Tourist says:

    I get the point about RTE but why would British TV (was it channel 4?) be that bothered about showing The Disappeared.

  6. wolfe tone says:

    As a republican i am more concerned as to why an intelligent man as Adams decided to cover up the allegations about his brother in the 80’s. Surely the odds were that the scandal, whether true or not at the time, wouldve brought damaging propaganda down on to the movement? There was a major propaganda war raging at the time and this would have been juicy stuff for mi5 via the sunday rags for example. For such a high profile republican it would have been wise to be seen,at least, to punish Liam Adams, republican style if you like. If a statement was issued at the time e.g ‘after an inquiry blah blah etc Liam Adams has been given 24 hours to leave Ireland or risk further blah blah’; it wouldve prevented the enemy from gaining a P.R blow against the PRM. However in his wisdom he didnt have to sanction such action as the enemy didnt seem to be interested in this scandal. The big question is, how did Gerry Adams know that the british secret services would pass up this glorious opportunity to put the boot into the entire PRM?

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