Tuesday 27 September 2016

Adams should stop playing the victim card and instead seek closure for the families who lives have been destroyed by the IRA

Published 23/09/2016 | 02:30

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams. Picture; Gerry Mooney
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams. Picture; Gerry Mooney

On the morning of Sunday, March 6, Gerry Adams switched on his computer and started to type.

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While his two main opponents in Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil were scrambling to form a government, Mr Adams was lamenting about where it on all went wrong for Sinn Féin in the recent general election.

Detailing his thoughts on his blog, the Louth TD blamed the other political parties and the media for Sinn Féin's failure to make significant gains.

"But be in no doubt that republicans would have done marginally better but for the barrage of negative campaigning that was targeted at Sinn Féin by the establishment parties and their lackeys in the conservative press," Mr Adams wrote.

"That negativity probably cost one or two points and several seats."

In the course of his written post-mortem, Mr Adams makes no reference to his personal failings in the campaign.

He doesn't address his disastrous public performances and his inability to explain his own policies, such as the controversial proposal to scrap the Special Criminal Court.

At one stage, he even fuelled suggestions - since disputed - that jurors could be put under a witness protection scheme.

Nor does his blog post tackle the fact that he ran away from questions about allegations that his close friend and "good republican" Thomas 'Slab' Murphy was a "mass murderer".

Ironically, the claims were made by a British soldier on the BBC 'Spotlight' programme - the same programme whose allegations this week have rocked the Sinn Féin party.

And in his blog, there is certainly no mention of the Stack family and the claims during the campaign by Austin Stack that he was given credible information that two senior members of Sinn Féin were involved in the murder of his father Brian.

All three of the issues, without doubt, affected Sinn Féin's election performance.

But time and time again, when things are going badly for Sinn Féin and their leader, the party rolls out the one strategy it seems to have mastered.

They play the victim card and blame everyone but themselves.

As Micheál Martin put it this week, the party adopts an "attack and deny" set of tactics.

It goes without saying that the allegations against Gerry Adams - that he sanctioned the assassination of Denis Donaldson - are of the most serious and grievous nature and therefore should, and probably will, be investigated by the authorities.

And I'm sure if they are without foundation, Mr Adams and his legal team will take the appropriate action to clear his name.

But playing the victim card at each and every opportunity simply won't wash with the majority of the public, particularly when you are a politician that has been linked to similarly heinous allegations in the past.

Mr Adams, like Enda Kenny, is coming towards the end of his political career, one which has seen many achievements indeed.

The Fine Gael leader suggests that he wants his legacy to be one in which he is remembered for the economic recovery, a positive response to Brexit and improving the lives of families in Dublin's north inner city through the new taskforce.

The type of legacy that Mr Adams leaves behind is one of his choosing. He could be remembered as the only Irish political leader in modern times whose name has been linked to such sickening crimes as the murders of Denis Donaldson and Jean McConville. The same man who, despite many contrary views, denies his membership of the IRA to the bitter end."

Or, he could be remembered as someone who instead of professing to be a victim, actually helped find closure for the real victims of the IRA and the republican movement.

The orphaned McConville children, the Stack family, the parents of Paul Quinn and abuse victims Mairia Cahill and Paudie McGahan, to name but a few.

Irish Independent

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