I'VE a solution for Gerry Adams in his current plight. So, OK, he was never a member, senior or otherwise, of the IRA, but why doesn't he just pretend he was? It would save him all the grief he's been getting over the airwaves during the last few days.
After all, a few months back on the 'Marian Finucane Show', Eamon Gilmore pretended, or maybe just forgot, that he'd ever been a member of Official Sinn Fein, and that landed him in all sorts of bother until he suddenly remembered that indeed he had once been a Stickie.
And guess what -- even those who'd been cheesed off by his temporary amnesia didn't give two hoots.
Gerry, of course, is in a slightly different position, never having been a member of any shady organisation, but for as long as smear-mongers like Micheal Martin keep saying otherwise, he's going to remain on the defensive. So why doesn't he tell a big porkie-pie instead, declare he was once in the IRA and get himself out of a jam?
That way, you wouldn't have had Sinn Fein hopeful Peadar Toibin persistently evading Richard Crowley's leading question on yesterday's 'Campaign Special' (RTE1).
Richard's query was "should a political leader be ashamed of having been in the IRA?" and Peadar managed to dodge it even when Richard repeated it four times. If Peadar hadn't felt so cornered, he might have just said 'No', which would have ended the matter.
A bit of an own-goal, really, much like Enda Kenny trying to defend his plan to abolish compulsory Irish in the Leaving Cert.
Why raise the vexing topic at all, especially when, as Richard reminded us, Fine Gael had come a cropper with the exact same proposal in the 1961 General Election?
"Ill-advised to bring it up", was the verdict of panellist Catherine Halloran from the 'Daily Star', though she reserved her more stringent comments for Fianna Fail, calling the party "an endangered species" and suggesting its toxicity was such that they should consider "dumping the name".
Otherwise, there wasn't a lot happening yesterday, indeed so little that a dull performance by Labour's Eamon Gilmore on Radio One's 'Morning Ireland' earned news headlines -- merely because he'd rubbished Fine Gael's "stealth-tax" plans.
As for Labour itself -- "we're in this to win", Eamon doggedly declared, thereby ignoring every poll in the land and causing the listener to reflect that it might have a better chance under Pat Rabbitte or Ruairi Quinn.
On the same station, John Murray had an engaging chat with the estimable Jesse Jackson, who spoke eloquently about poverty, civil rights and the songs that meant most to him.
One of these was Sam Cooke's 'A Change is Going to Come', which I'm sure Gerry Adams would love to adopt as Sinn Fein's theme tune for the election.
And another of Jesse's choices, Marvin Gaye's 'What's Going on?' would be the ideal anthem for the Green Party, whose leader, John Gormley, came across as very muted on Pat Kenny's morning show.