Kevin Doyle: What stops Mary Lou from stating obvious about Adams?
Published 09/02/2016 | 02:30
There are a lot of reasons why Mary Lou McDonald has one of the safest seats in Ireland.
Her reputation as a local representative is well-established. She is one of the strongest performers in the Dáil and has made good use of a high-profile position on the Public Accounts Committee.
And despite the often ungratifying Thursday handbags with Tánaiste Joan Burton that became a recurring theme over the last year, she is a very pleasant person.
Working-class and middle-class voters like her.
In any other party, the leader would be looking over his shoulder at a younger, more intelligent pretender to the throne.
But Gerry Adams doesn't have to worry about his deputy leader being unfaithful or getting above her station.
No matter what he does, no matter how often he slides into the ridiculous and no matter how serious the accusations get, Mary Lou McDonald stands firm.
When Adams was arrested in connection with the disappearance of Jean McConville, she cried that it was "politically motivated" by "old guard elements" within the PSNI.
The time he failed to alert police to the sexual abuse suffered by his niece at the hands of his brother, McDonald didn't criticise him.
After Adams described former IRA chief and tax dodger Thomas 'Slab' Murphy as "a good republican", she went further, saying he was "very nice" and a "typical rural man".
All of which begs one massive question: Why does Mary Lou McDonald do it?
What is it that prevents her from stating the obvious: that Gerry Adams is a liability to Sinn Féin?
Apart from the fact that he is friends with murderers, he is weak on economics and struggles to sell the Sinn Féin message in any coherent way.
Yet he is the undisputed leader of the party for more than 30 years. That's hard to explain in a so-called democratic party.
By consistently backing Adams, the Dublin Central TD is damaging her own credibility.
Whatever about a heave, it would at least be reasonable to admit that he is plain wrong when he makes a suggestion that 'gangland' doesn't exist.