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Adams is Sinn Féin’s worst asset


Mr Crowley

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When Frank Flannery, Fine Gael’s director of elections, suggested that his party could contemplate coalition with Sinn Fein but for the “matter of a private army”, there was a predictable furore from Fianna Fail and other parties.

In the middle of a difficult European and local elections campaign, the overture was a welcome diversion for Fianna Fail. Even so, Dermot Ahern should have resisted the temptation to denounce the suggestion as “stomach churning” and demand Flannery’s resignation.

The “stomach churning” soundbite was an unfortunate echo of John Major’s assertion that talking to Sinn Fein would “turn his stomach”, even as the prime minister was in secret negotiations with them. The outrage was doubly unfortunate in view of the fact that, in October 2004, Ahern went even further than Flannery in flirting with Sinn Fein. “Obviously if circumstances change, our view in relation to Sinn Fein going into government will change,” he said at Hillsborough Castle, appealing for IRA decommissioning. “There will come a time, I envisage, when Sinn Fein will be in government in the Republic as they will be in the north and I hope that happens in the future.”

Both Fine Gael and Fianna Fail emerged from the IRA. Both parties realise that present-day Sinn Fein could make the same transition. At present, though, supping with Sinn Fein is high-risk and requires a long spoon. It’s one thing to have a compulsory coalition as the price of peace in Northern Ireland, but a voluntary deal in the Republic would be another matter.

The obvious difficulty is that a scandal involving the Shinners would be unlikely to stop at brown envelopes. It could include secretly buried bodies, money laundering and pay-offs from foreign terrorist groups. A coalition deal with Sinn Fein would be particularly risky while people like Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness and Martin Ferris remain at the top table. Their involvement in republicanism during its most violent phase has left them with a lot of personal baggage. How can they convincingly distance themselves from anything nasty that emerges from the IRA woodwork?

Meanwhile Adams still can’t resist embroidering a story. Much of what he says is for effect; he doesn’t stick to the literal truth. This potential for inaccuracy has serious political implications for any politician seeking to do business with Sinn Fein.

Consider the interview Adams gave to David Norris on Newstalk last Sunday. Asked about his favourite songs, he didn’t mention republican ballads or Christy Moore as he sought to create a softer image. He mentioned You are my Sunshine, and Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, from Monty Python’s Life of Brian. This was sung in the film by three unfortunates being crucified by the Romans, and Adams wanted to tap the image of resilience and humour in the face of oppression.

“I remember that being sung in prison,” he said. “When I was in prison, after a very, very brutal incursion into the prison wing and the prison officers beat everybody and the wing was deadly silent and then from way down the wing we heard this little voice going Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. Then within about five minutes there were about 100 men playing that at the top of their voices.”

Savour that golden moment. IRA prisoners, badly beaten but reacting cheerfully, without rancour, in the face of brutality. It’s an iconic image that Adams conjured up to illustrate his positive outlook. The problem is that he conjured it up out of nowhere; it’s a fabrication. We know this because Adams got out of prison in 1978 and the song wasn’t released until August 1979. Unless the Monty Python team stole the lyrics from IRA prisoners, Adams couldn’t have heard it sung in jail.

Rusty Nail, a blogger, has tracked down the likely origins of the story to a similar anecdote Adams related in his autobiography, Before the Dawn, published in 1996. But there are significant differences. In the original account Adams writes: “One memorable night on the anniversary of internment there was a great session on our wing that went on until the early hours of the morning.” Prison staff were lining up in riot gear to restore order when a little voice came from the back singing On the One Road, a ballad of republican solidarity. The prison officers, instead of beating the inmates, conducted a head count and let the party continue.

Who knows if this is true either? Are both stories like Adams’ continued denial of IRA membership, even though he was released early from jail to join an IRA negotiating team in the 1970s?

Sinn Fein got a taste of that when Bertie Ahern, as taoiseach, angrily denounced the party’s leadership for treating the Irish government “like eejits” in their blanket denials of IRA involvement in the Northern Bank robbery and other crimes.


Liam Clarke: Adams is Sinn Fein’s worst asset - Times Online

There could be difficult times ahead for dear leader.
 
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Mr Crowley

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Can't quote copyright material in its entirety, mucker.
Ah, but it is not in its entirety my dear shafty. I chopped a bit off either end to avoid the copyright issues.
 

factual

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Gerry Adams has been an excellent leader for Sinn Féin.

Not only is he internationally recognised for his work in the six counties, but also he tends to get high approval ratings, and has built up Sinn Féin such that in each and every like for like election in the 26 counties the vote has gone up. He is an excellent media performer.

His job is safe.
 

JCSkinner

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Doesn't work that way. 'Substantial' quoting is still breach of copyright.
Suggest you trim a good bit more rather than leave it to the mods.
You and Clarkey raise a good issue here, and it's worth discussing. I'd have pos repped the thread if you weren't breaching copyright.
 

White Horse

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Who would do a better job?

Mary Lou alienates as many as she charms.

A little bit more research and swotting up on economics and Adams would be fine.
 

Seánod

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I don't think there's any serious appetite for asking Gerry Adams et al to step aside within Sinn Féin. However, there is some validity in the points made by Liam Clarke here, even though I don't agree with the 'tone'... if I'm allowed to use that term. As long as Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness are seen as the lynchpins of the party leadership the party will be perceived to have a strongly northern gravitational pull, and carry with it all the baggage of conflict, which actually sits uncomfortably with the new direction that both these figures have carved out for Sinn Féin. If they want to see their programme come to full fruition (whatever that may be), then they probably need to work towards moving away from the leadership.

At the same time, this could be traumatic for many party members and supporters, who would be trusting of this leadership because of their years of involvement in the struggle, as opposed to a sudden influx of new-kids-on-the-block. There would be a period of rudderless uncertainty for Sinn Féin in any transfer of power.

Even if they don't plan their exit politically, old father time will do it for them because they are no spring chickens any more anyway.

I would add that I wouldn't agree with the title of the thread. Adams is by no means Sinn Féin's 'worst asset'. He has probably passed his 'peak' as an asset though.
 

Mr Crowley

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Gerry Adams has been an excellent leader for Sinn Féin.
Depends what you think he excelled at.

Not only is he internationally recognised for his work in the six counties, but also he tends to get high approval ratings, and has built up Sinn Féin such that in each and every like for like election in the 26 counties the vote has gone up.
He is an excellent media performer.
So is Daniel O Donnell but I don't want him representing me. Also, cast your mind back to the party leader debate on RTE; the one where he got his arse handed to him.

His job is safe.
Because of sycophantic drones like you.


Skinner,

The post is bound to be copyright compliant now, ye fussy hoor ye.
 

pete2

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Gerry Adams has been an excellent leader for Sinn Féin.

Not only is he internationally recognised for his work in the six counties, but also he tends to get high approval ratings, and has built up Sinn Féin such that in each and every like for like election in the 26 counties the vote has gone up. He is an excellent media performer.

His job is safe.
I think he may go if the matter of a suitable replacement can be worked out. He wouldn't want to be doing an Alex Salmond. Against that does Gerry need this sh1t?

Frankly I think SF politics are out of fashion at the minute, the hard left (where SF sit in EP) and center left, both in and out of government, are being hammered all over europe tonight. Which is great for those of us concerned about europes directions but not so great for the 'SF keep left' muppet show who currently hold Republicanism hostage.
 
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wysiwyg

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Who would do a better job?

Mary Lou alienates as many as she charms.

A little bit more research and swotting up on economics and Adams would be fine.
Sorry .. nope.. Gerry is a busted flush as far as voters down here are concerned. To be honest, no matter what way the party will spin it.. and they will spin it.. but SF are having a terrible local election

FF, the party from where SF expected to glean off "soft" votes, are falling all over the place, and SF are stuck in a groove.

I said this when I left the party, and it was one of the main reasons I left. What's worse, is that by hanging on for so long, I think he has also destroyed the career now of Mary Lou Mc Donald, who would have made a very good figurehead for SF in the 26 counties. How they square the 26/6 circle and retain the support of both bases either side of the border, is going to be a difficult question.. but for those who think Gerry should stay, I have one simple question .. why ?

What more can he bring to the party ?
 

onlyonpaper

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Apr 4, 2008
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The guy with the best long term prospect of being a reasonable leader is Pearse Doherty. He's young and quite articulate. Diaadvantage is his Dgl S.W. constituency against the strongest FF machine in country. However, SF peaked in 2004 in the wake of the formation of Executive in the North and all the worldwide goodwill that went with it. Here in Sligo their influence is noticeably waning as Sean MacManus takes more of a backseat and they have had a fairly poor local result. Reults in Dublin also not good. They are seriously in danger of becoming a small rural republican party instead of having major influence in the urban working class areas
 

kenneth

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What about ferris as the next leader?
Caoimhghin O Caolain would be my choice. I don't know what it does for the party in the north but Adams being party leader is certainly a hinderence on them in the south
 

irish_bob

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Caoimhghin O Caolain would be my choice. I don't know what it does for the party in the north but Adams being party leader is certainly a hinderence on them in the south
o caolain comes across as a phoney , doubt hed grow the party much , sure he tops the poll in every election but he is afterall in the most sinn fein friendly constituency in this part of the island
 

HEAVENHELPUS

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Caoimhghin O Caolain would be my choice. I don't know what it does for the party in the north but Adams being party leader is certainly a hinderence on them in the south
Hes a big part of the reason why Sinn Fein is going from strength to strength in the North. Civil war politics is still the order of the day in the South. Only a United Ireland will change this. 1.5m Unionists and Nationalist added to the electrode would change the hole political landscape on the Island for the better.
 

asset test

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For a lot of people in the South, sorry to say it, just being SF is a hindrance in itself.

I don't think a change of leadership will change the views of those who are not convinced that SF have left behind all traces of terrorism, murder, money and fuel laundering, and an open invitation to the whole world to immigrate here.
 

Tiernanator

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For a lot of people in the South, sorry to say it, just being SF is a hindrance in itself.

I don't think a change of leadership will change the views of those who are not convinced that SF have left behind all traces of terrorism, murder, money and fuel laundering, and an open invitation to the whole world to immigrate here.
I think that is a bit unfair especially the immigration bit at the end of your post. I don't know anyone in Sinn Féin who is for open borders. In fact it was FF that opened our borders or have you forgotten that?
 

Wednesday

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Frankly I think SF politics are out of fashion at the minute, the hard left (where SF sit in EP) and center left, both in and out of government, are being hammered all over europe tonight.
Are you actually paying attention to this election? The one in Ireland, I mean, not the ones in constituencies SF isn't even running in.
 

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