Jude Collins

Thursday, 16 December 2010

'Kitchen unit narrowly misses politician'

Any day now I’m expecting to see a headline saying ‘Kitchen sink narrowly misses Gerry Adams’. That’s about the only thing the media, north and south, haven’t thrown at him. Bloody Friday, Robert McCartney, the Hunger Strike, the Disappeared, his brother, the Northern Bank robbery, economic illiteracy...It’s been going on for so long, it makes you wonder why the Sinn Féin leader has gone out of his way to see that he’s on the electoral roll in County Louth. ‘I wanted to be able to vote for myself’ he said. Mistake, Gerry. Any day now, you’re going to come under fire for your shamelessness in voting for someone so wicked.

The one thing all these charges of wickedness share is an absence of evidence. The latest revelations coming out of Wikileaks is presented as proof that Adams and Sinn Féin were planning the Northern Bank robbery while talking to Fianna Fail. What proof? American diplomats, we’re told, believed the south’s Justice Depertment had solid evidence Adams knew about the plans to rob the Northern Bank... Um, chaps. Hate to say it but, er, – that’s not evidence. That’s this-man-I-know-told-a-man-I know-that-he-was-certain talk. In fact it’s inconceivable that if the Justice Department did have solid evidence showing Adams involvement in the Northern Bank raid, they wouldn’t have produced it and hauled him before the courts.

The same applies to the other charges – Bloody Friday, McCartney, the Hunger Strike, etc. In all cases there’s an assumption that Adams MUST have been involved. But no proof. And certainly no proof that he was involved in the incriminating, career-busting way his critics yearn for.

Malachi O’Doherty, in a piece in the Belfast Telegraph, says that the truth is, people in the north, because of his peace process contribution, don’t care, but that people in the south, with less peace process focus, may well damn him. As is often the case, Malachi’s half-right. People here don’t care...No, that’s not the right word – they don’t mind if Adams was involved in the IRA. For many more, involvement would be seen as a badge of honour. Adams himself has always been forthright in his support for the IRA. So what’s the big difference if he says “I wholeheartedly support the IRA in their struggle” or he says “I was a member of the IRA during their struggle”? Not a lot. The media love grabbing it between their teeth and shaking it about, but that’s it.

No, there are two reasons why the kitchen sink is in danger of being ripped out and hurled in Adams’s direction. The first is that an election will take place in the south of Ireland inside the next couple of months, and Sinn Féin look like they’ve already doubled their support south of the border. The second reason is that an election will take place in the north of Ireland in five months’ time, and Sinn Féin could well emerge as the largest single party. For some politicians and pundits, that’s an appalling vista X 2.


  1. 'Sinn Féin is united and strong. Sinn Féin is looking to the future. Sinn Féin is making a stand. The British army, the heavy gangs, the old Orange regime and slíbhín governments here could not break us. Censorship, the prisons and the death squads could not break us. And no amount of black propaganda in the Tony O’Reilly press will break us either'- Gerry Adams, March 2010.

  2. I see the Ulster Unionist Party have selected Bobby McConnell a convicted double murderer as a candidate for Belfast City Council. According to the Sunday Life newspaper.

  3. Is that a recent photograph? He never seems to age.


  4. It is indeed, Sarah. Taken at Stormont at the Poc Fada competition, August of this year.

  5. Féilim Ó hAdhmaill17 December 2010 at 14:39

    Interesting points Jude re Gerry Adams. I suppose it shows yet again the lack of any contextual understanding of the conflict in the North which exists among most people in the 26 Counties. That ignorance has of course been manufactured by political elites and ( at the very least) a compliant media who consistently presented and continue to present a distorted image of what was really happening here. It should however also be pointed out that the peace process has never included an amnesty for those involved in the conflict ( except the unwritten amnesty which has always applied to Britain's occupation forces). IRA membership remains a 'criminal' offence. Thus anyone who was to come out publicly and state they had been in the IRA (and who had not previously been 'convicted' of such an 'offence') would be an idiot. And I don't think I'd want to vote for an idiot!

  6. Wasn't The deputy First Minister guaranteed immunity for telling all at the Bloody Sunday trial. If my memory serves me correctly (no guarantees there), the dFM used to deny IRA membership even though he, like Gerry, was often pictured in IRA photos.
    Anyway, what does it matter? There is no one I know that doesn't believe that the two of them were on the Army Council and that they both had a hand in some of the most horrendous acts of the conflict/troubles/war.
    Similarly, there is no one I know who doesn't acknowledge that they both played significant roles in bringing the conflict/troubles/war to an end.
    The only debate I ever hear is whether one, or both of them, is/was the top mole that is often alluded to in revelations about how the conflict/troubles/war was brought to an end.

  7. The first is that an election will happen in the south of Ireland inside the next couple of months, and look like they have already doubled their support south of the border.