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.
Mr Adams is on record previously saying that no one has a monopoly on suffering and that there is no hierarchy in victimhood. It would be instructive to see how such sentiments would sit alongside his use of the N-word in parts of America, where the scars from the running sore of racism are so raw.
The Sinn Féin leader's increasingly bizarre forays onto Twitter are undermining both his and his party's credibility. Surprisingly, or perhaps depressingly, no one from Sinn Féin criticised the comments of Mr Adams. Had any other party leader's language been as incendiary or insensitive the chorus of condemnation from Sinn Féin would have been cacophonous.
Independents must not hold everyone to ransom
It has been said that the problem with procrastination is that it has been around since the beginning of time. It's starting to feel like the same may soon be said about the talks on forming a government.
Just because those who have participated in the protracted negotiations today have shown no sense of urgency about the proceedings does not mean that there isn't one.
The Dáil's single most important priority is to form a government. We are now into the third month since the election, and it is the turn of the Independents to state their case.
Lest anyone forget, it is the taxpayer or voter who foots the bill when it comes to signing off on wish lists. Holding them to ransom would not be wise.
It is reasonable for TDs to be briefed on the terms of agreement but arm-twisting or parochial pork-barrelling is not in the country's interest.
There is no reason to believe that the Independents will behave other than responsibly. They have more to lose than most should there be a return to the ballot box.
At home, the crises on housing, health and on the industrial front are deepening.
Yesterday, Roscommon-Galway TD Michael Fitzmaurice said he would be very surprised if there was a government in place by Thursday.
There will be no reward for crawling towards conclusions which by now have become inevitable.