Sunday 11 December 2016

No, Gerry, you were never kept on a plantation

Gerry Adams’s excuses grossly insult his unionist neighbours, writes Ruth Dudley Edwards

Published 08/05/2016 | 02:30

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams. Photo: Tom Burke
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams. Photo: Tom Burke

YouTube has a clip from a 2009 interview with Gerry Adams reminiscing about a favourite song that was a comfort to him in jail.  “After a very brutal incursion into the prison wing, the prison officers beat everybody and the wing was deadly silent and from way down the wing we heard this little voice going “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”.  Within five minutes, “there were 100 men singing at the top of their voices.” 

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Apart from the inconvenient truth that Adams had left jail a year before the  song was released, the story differs dramatically from what was in his 1996 autobiography, Before the Dawn, where there was nothing about a beating but prisoners were having “a great session” on the anniversary of internment.  At 4 a.m. they began banging bin-lids, which caused prison staff to arrive in riot gear and leave some time later after shouting abuse.  “I imagined I could hear a collective sigh of held breath being released as an eerie silence settled over the wing.  Suddenly a voice rose in song from one of the cells near me.  ‘We’re on the one road, sharing the one load,/We’re on the road to God knows where…’” Everyone joined in and “by the time we had the song finished our appetites had been whetted and our concert continued until some time after the light of dawn

had entered our cells.” 

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