You cannot have things both ways, Mr Adams
Published 21/12/2015 | 02:30
Gerry Adams has a talent for periodically playing the victim. He is at it again now, insisting that his friend and colleague, Thomas 'Slab' Murphy, did not receive fair play, mainly because he was dealt with before the non-jury Special Criminal Court.
Since last week, Mr Murphy is a convicted tax cheat and the case against him will be completed in the new year when sentencing will take place.
In the recent past, Mr Adams has stressed Mr Murphy's importance to Sinn Féin and the republican movement. Now the Sinn Féin leader has repeated his assertion of the convicted tax cheat's republican credentials - while also stressing every citizen's obligation to pay their lawful taxes.
The two juxtaposed statements are mutually contradictory. Mr Adams, who leads a party which aims to take political power in Ireland's two jurisdictions, is very blatantly trying to have things both ways. All citizens must pay their taxes - but perhaps not Mr Murphy, and not here and now.
It is a blatant piece of political double-speak of a kind Mr Adams and his colleagues glory in castigating.
Mr Adams's comments on the Special Criminal Court (SCC), which operates with three judges and no jury, are also extremely interesting. In its current manifestation, the SCC has been with us since 1972.
Most democrats who support the rule of law would dearly like to see it stood down. But all of us - including Mr Adams - must live in the real world.
And the brutal realities of that world are ones of jury intimidation and the terrorising of witnesses which rendered regular courts powerless in dealing with certain categories of offenders. IRA and other so-called republican activists made this special court necessary as they attacked our security forces and the democratic institutions of this State.
The SCC has been a necessary evil and most of us look forward to the day when it is no longer needed. Clear thinking and straight talking from Mr Adams would help here.