Monday 5 December 2016

Kevin Doyle: Adams's muddled response was a bizarre audition for Taoiseach

Published 08/02/2016 | 02:30

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams

Gerry Adams is auditioning to be Taoiseach right now.

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He wants to be the person who decides on the definition of a fairer society, who legislates for our future and who travels the world representing the Republic of Ireland.

On Saturday, the Irish Independent carried a front-page picture of two men with AK-47s storming into the Regency Hotel in Dublin amid a scene that looked like a terrorist attack.

Therefore, it shouldn't have come as a surprise to Mr Adams yesterday that journalists would quiz him about Sinn Féin's policy to abolish the Special Criminal Court, which was set up to deal with alleged terrorists and gangsters.

Next Friday, former IRA commander Thomas 'Slab' Murphy, who was recently described as a "mass murderer", is due to be sentenced in the same court for tax evasion.

It was inevitable that Mr Adams would be asked to explain what was his vision for reforming the justice system in the event that non-jury trials were scrapped.

And yet he had nothing better to say than a muddled offer to effectively go away and Google the answer.

After first suggesting that jurors could be shipped off into a witness protection style programme for doing their civic duty, he viewed the shocked reaction of reporters and immediately backtracked.

"Measures", he suggested, could be put in place to protect juries.

What measures? "You would have to go and check on those and we will if you wish come back in detail on that."

And if his offer to buy a reporter Bruce Springsteen tickets wasn't bad enough, he then moved on to asking reporters if they thought it was right that he spent four years in jail without a trial.

What he thinks his arrest in the 1970s at the height of his IRA career has to do with measures necessary to control gang crime in Dublin in 2016 is not at all clear.

Sinn Féin wants to be part of the policy debate during the General Election, but it needs to be able to explain why its ideas are for the good of the country, not just Mr Adams's old friends.

To suggest you can abolish a pillar of the justice system and not know what you want to replace it with is bizarre.

Remember, Gerry Adams is auditioning to be Taoiseach.

Irish Independent

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