Sunday 22 January 2017

Sinn Fein's real problem is ghosts from the past, not its media critics

If Adams is such a great leader, then why do only half of his own supporters want him to carry on, asks Eilis O'Hanlon

Eilis O'Hanlon

Published 30/10/2016 | 02:30

Protestations of progress: Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams with vice-president Mary Lou McDonald and other party members. Despite all Sinn Fein's claims that the party has moved on, it is still guilty of a backwards-looking mindset Photo: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos
Protestations of progress: Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams with vice-president Mary Lou McDonald and other party members. Despite all Sinn Fein's claims that the party has moved on, it is still guilty of a backwards-looking mindset Photo: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

If there's one word or phrase that comes to most voters' minds when they think of Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, it's probably "IRA". He is indelibly associated with the Troubles in Northern Ireland, despite claiming to have played no part in any actual violence.

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The one word that comes to mind when thinking of Mary Lou McDonald is surely "austerity". She's risen to prominence as a result of her opposition to economic cuts.

The place most associated with Adams, likewise, isn't even part of the State; it's Belfast, despite the fact that he's been TD for Louth since 2011. For Mary Lou, obviously, it's Dublin, heart of the country's political and economic life.

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