Saturday 24 August 2019

Kevin Doyle: Gerry, spare me your 'forgiveness' - just say sorry for legacy of pain

Gerry Adams addresses the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis in the RDS, Dublin
Gerry Adams addresses the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis in the RDS, Dublin
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

MOMENTS after delivering his self-serving rewrite of history, Gerry Adams walked through the press in the Royal Dublin Society.

Grinning, he declared “all my friends in the media” before moving in my direction, shaking my hand and stating: “I forgive you.”

It was a strange moment, given that he also felt the need to mention “the Independent Media Group” in his keynote address, noting that this organisation “doesn’t want Sinn Féin in government”.

The video footage will show that I shook his hand and laughed – what else would you do when the interaction takes place against the backdrop of 2,500 riled-up Adams supporters. But here’s what I should have said.

Gerry, I don’t need your forgiveness, nor do my colleagues, who for decades now have questioned your legitimacy as a political leader.

The blood spilled by the IRA cannot be washed away with glib talk of how our “comrades” were at war. Detective Garda Jerry McCabe was not at war. He was at work.

Prison officer Brian Stack was not at war. He was at an amateur boxing match.

Jean McConville was not at war. She was at home, taking care of her 10 children.

Paul Quinn was not at war. He ran foul of the son of the south Armagh IRA commander and as a result got almost every bone in his body broken.

It’s unlikely that their families will ever be able to offer forgiveness to their killers – or to those who worked to shield murderers from justice.

In your speech, you accused the media of having “cronies (who) have run this State for nearly 100 years in their own interests”.

Yet when it suited, you acted as an apologist for convicted tax dodger Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy. You’ve spoken on the need to promote women’s rights – but where was your sympathy when Máiría Cahill was subjected to an IRA kangaroo court?

So, Mr Adams, spare me and my colleagues your forgiveness.

Instead, offer up an apology to those who have feel a lifetime of pain because of the legacy you leave behind.

Online Editors

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