Sunday 19 November 2017

Past will haunt Sinn Fein while Adams stays

Electoral success can't obscure questions over the party leader's character and deeds

Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams

Eilis O'Hanlon

Labour right now is like a man hunched over his pint at the end of the bar, moaning that his wife doesn't understand him. Sinn Fein is the bad boy made good, flashing his cash and boasting how he proved everyone wrong.

There's always a strange edge of aggression to such triumphalism, as if it's only one small step from celebration to confrontation. If this is how the party acts when it is doing well, imagine what SF will be like when it all goes pear-shaped again. It always does eventually. That's politics.

Not that it doesn't have the right to enjoy its place in the sun. Elections belong to winners. Nor is the party necessarily wrong to say that the political and media establishment – for such is how it sees its enemies, as if everyone who doesn't like SF is part of some sinister, unified conglomerate, in the manner of the Empire in Star Wars – needs to start taking SF seriously as a major force and rethinking how it counters its challenge when so many people have been driven by despair into the arms of extremists promising superficially attractive solutions.

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