Eamon Dunphy defends Gerry Adams over Jean McConville murder by IRA
"This state was founded on violence. So nobody in this country is in a position to claim that Gerry Adams did something that the founding fathers of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Labour party didn’t do themselves"
RTE broadcaster Eamon Dunphy has defended Gerry Adams and said controversy surrounding his alleged involvement in the murder of Jean McConville would not harm him politically.
He doesn’t believe Gerry Adams’s alleged involvement in Jean McConville’s murder by the IRA in 1972 taints him as leader of Sinn Féin or even as a possible member of a future government.
“I’ll tell you what I think about Jean McConville,” the broadcaster told independent.ie exclusively.
“I think the Jean McConville case – which is forty two years old - is an atrocity of the worst possible kind: to take a mother of ten and murder her and not tell people where the body was. It was a terrible atrocity. It happened forty two years ago,” he said.
“Forty two years before that, Michael Collins and other revered Irish figures were slaughtering people. So I think there comes a put where we have to realise that this state was founded on violence.All the heroes and icons were involved in violence. Sean Lemass, for example, was a gun man, in the popular parlance.”
“Ryan Tubridy’s grandfather was a gun man and a killer and he went on to be very respected – including being Director General or Chairman of the RTE Authority.”
“So nobody in this country is in a position to claim that Gerry Adams did something that the founding fathers of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Labour party didn’t do themselves,” Dunphy says.
“And what’s different about Adams and McGuinness and the Sinn Fein leadership is that they ended the IRA. They took the gun out of Irish politics, they took it out of Irish politics not on their terms; there is no United Ireland. It was an enormous political achievement and I recognise it as such. Others don’t. “
“I am a big admirer of Eoghan Harris,” he says later. “We were fellow revisionists when the going was tough in the North. I think the plus on Sinn Féin’s side is the quality of the people that represent them as TDs. People like Mary Lou and Pearse Doherty.”
Asked about whether Irish people have a fear of a hidden agenda with Sinn Fein, Dunphy says: “I think there is resistance.
"I think there is a plateau where they’ll get to, where maybe they’re reaching, with middle class people, and people of a conservative disposition. They’ll say: ‘No. I just don’t trust them. And the memories of the Troubles are vivid still.’"
"But there is a new generation. It is exactly twenty years since they laid down their guns. They had a bomb in 1996 but then they stopped. The Good Friday Agreement is very old now.
"A new generation of people is going to come who won't remember the wretchedness, the atrocities that were committed - Enniskillen, Warrington, that we were all against.
"We asked them to lay down their guns, end the IRA and go into politics. They did those things. They are in politics. Now I think they should be treated on the merits of their argument. You could quibble with their economic policy in a big way. It might empty the country of anyone who is earning ten schillings a week,” he laughs.
Would he like to see Gerry Adams as Taoiseach one day?
“Gerry Adams is much more able and capable – and has a much greater political CV – than Enda Kenny...The more interesting question is: what would America and all those guys say if Gerry Adams was Taoiseach?”
Would the money run from Ireland?
“I don’t think it would, because if you look at some of the guys they deal with South America and Central America, Nicaragua and places like that, the corporate world doesn’t have a conscience. It has interests. “
So you’d market Ireland as the new Nicaragua?
“No. I think if you are saying to me would big corporate people who are important to this county, would they run away if Gerry Adams was Taoiseach. I don’t think they would. They’d run away if we changed our corporate tax rate.”
On the subject of the Labour party, Dunphy thinks “the Irish people have been betrayed by Labour in every single way".
"Labour has basically stood over things that are shameful. They have betrayed people who voted for them. Labour had a golden opportunity. It will come to Sinn Fein’s turn.
"They will have the opportunity to go into coalition. If they [Sinn Fein] go into coalition with a conservative party – Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael – they will be destroyed as well.
"We need a re-alignment. We need Fine Gael to go into government together and have a re-alignment. So we have Left/Right politics like everywhere else.”
He has no interest in getting involved in politics himself. He says he was asked by Fine Gael to stand with Lucinda Creighton in the last general election in Dublin South East. “I wouldn’t make a good politician!”