Sorry is still hardest word for Mr Adams
Published 03/05/2016 | 02:30
There are three factors that should be considered in an apology: It should show remorse, acknowledge hurt, and lastly, never be ruined with an excuse. Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams failed on all three counts yesterday when attempting to atone for using a racist word for a black person in a tweet. There is no more loaded nor reviled epithet in race relations in terms of giving offence than the one employed by Mr Adams. Yet the more Mr Adams struggled against saying that he was sorry, the deeper he sank in his own quicksand.
Earlier, he had said his tweets about the film 'Django Unchained' and the use of the N-word were "ironic" and not intended to cause any offence. As a storm broke online he acknowledged his language was inappropriate.
However, he steadfastly insisted on giving context to his remark comparing the struggle against slavery in the US to the travails of nationalists. His efforts were both maladroit and risible. Reaching back through the centuries he even evoked the Liberator Daniel O'Connell - an avowed abolitionist who shared a stage in 1845 with Fredrick Douglas at an anti-slavery rally - to show that all great nationalists abhor slavery.