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.