An administrative input error or just a good call?
Carol Hunt thinks US security got it right by refusing Gerry Adams entry to the St Patrick's Day party
Last week I discovered that Gerry Adams had blocked me from following him on Twitter.
Obviously I'm devastated. No more will I be able to read about Gerry's love for his teddy bear, his rubber ducks, or quotes like the one he posted from Maya Angelou: "Does my sexiness upset you? Does it come as a surprise. That I dance like I've got diamonds. At the meeting of my thighs", as well as other inappropriate - and quite frankly creepy - comments.
But I saw online that Gerry reacted on Twitter to the fact that he was denied access to the White House St Patrick's Day party last Tuesday by posting a picture of his invite and writing petulantly: "My invite 2 The White House. Just saying." Poor Gerry. Seemingly he was only mortified as he had to wait 90 minutes outside the party while everyone else passed him by and probably whispered: "They're not letting Gerry Adams in. Wonder what he's done this time?" Even Martin McGuinness got in - and sure everyone knows he was an actual member of the IRA unlike Gerry who was just ... well, whatever.
Was he wearing white socks? Did he not have a suit and tie? But no, seemingly it was just a silly mistake, the type they must be always making in a place as casual about invitations as the White House. You know how it is. They would have loved to have Gerry attend the party, is what they were saying, and if it was up to them and all that, but the computer said "no". Very unfortunate but you can see how this sort of thing can happen. Can't be too careful and all that. Especially with terrorists. Sorry, ex-terrorists. In a statement afterwards, the US Secret Service said: "We would like to express our regret that the issue involving Gerry Adams' entry into the St Patrick's Day reception could not be resolved in a more timely manner." Since then the director of the US Secret Service has "apologised profusely" for "an administrative input error".
Maybe they "inputted" the name 'Gerry Adams' into their computer and it started flashing up words like 'bombs' and 'murders' or 'defender of rapists and tax cheats'. Yep, that may have done it. Obama's Chief of Staff Denis McDonough might be assuring us that he's investigating what happened but the fact remains that Adams was not allowed in - and he eventually left when he was made aware of the fact that he wouldn't be getting in. In my book that's not just an "administrative input error", that's a very blunt, "we know who you are, what you've done and you're not the sort of guest we want", no matter how Mr Adams wants to spin it. And spin it he did.
Despite the fact that Mr Adams has spent decades persecuting people in the most heinous ways possible, he has now developed a very healthy persecution complex himself. After his experience with White House security he released a statement which included the comments: "Sinn Fein will not sit at the back of the bus for anyone. We are elected to represent citizens and we will do this." Seriously. Gerry Adams doesn't get admitted to a party and he thinks that's in the same category of suffering as a century of brutal racial segregation. Not only that, but he has the stunning audacity to compare himself to Rosa Parks.
Well, he's deluded enough to think that maybe people in the US just buy the Sinn Fein airbrushed version of history and not the actual facts. But last year the liberal, intellectual magazine The New Yorker published a meticulously researched 15,000 word report on aspects of Adams's IRA history, entitled Where The Bodies Are Buried with the sub-heading: 'Gerry Adams has long denied being a member of the IRA. But his former compatriots claim that he authorised murder'. He's deluded enough to think that people don't know - or if they do, that they don't care - about the years he's spent lying about not being a member of the IRA or what he knows about the killing of Jean McConville, among others.
He's deluded enough to think that Thomas 'Slab' Murphy is a "good Republican". He's deluded enough to think that he's gotten away, scot free, with protecting rapists and sex abusers, and of continuing to head an organisation that still has criminal connections. And Adams is deluded enough to think that he can remain leader of Sinn Fein without damaging the credibility of likeable and effective politicians like Mary Lou McDonald and Pearse Doherty.
How long can this farce continue? Imagine if somehow Adams was voted Taoiseach, in some dystopian alternative government, and he was prevented from attending the St Patrick's Day celebrations in the White House because he's on a list which very clearly marks him out as "dodgy" and means he faces what is known as "secondary inspection" when boarding planes for North America. Is this really how we think Ireland should be represented abroad - by a man known for his inability to be honest?
While I was campaigning for the General Election last month, one of the most frequent questions I was asked was: "Who would you not go into government with?" Without hesitation I was able to assure all voters that the answer, the red line as it were, was Mr Adams. Not just because of his terrorist history but because, as a woman - as a human being - I found his attitude to victims of sexual violence horrific. Sinn Fein is doing itself no favours in keeping this major liability at the helm of its party. No matter how entertaining some people find his tweets.
@carolmhunt Carol Hunt is a Seanad 2016 candidate for the NUI panel