Gerry Adams's bizarre and creepy Tweets raise questions for Sinn Féin
Late one evening, a little over a week ago, Gerry Adams launched the following tweet into the world. "A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. Sleep."
It was just another of his 11,000 tweets which are in the main extremely egotistical, giving unwanted insights into the banal details of his daily routine. If you have the stomach to stay with his Twitter outpourings you will learn that the 67-year-old leader of Ireland's third largest political party suffers from bad breath, farts a lot, and indulges a remarkable sweet tooth.
But there are other elements to his tweets which seem decidedly creepy and make for uncomfortable reading. His two teddy bears, called Tom and Ted, feature a lot in his tweets. There are references to, and photographs of, rubber ducks, and he likes to engage in regressive baby-talk.
Two months ago he produced a book featuring his selected tweets entitled 'My Little Book of Tweets' a complimentary copy of which landed upon the desks of all the political journalists based at Leinster House.
The booklet contains the following caption to a photograph of a rubber duck: "My bestest pressie! The queen of all rubber ducks, a high class kinda ducky." It contains genial photographs of his little dog Snowie who is deemed "a mighty dog for one dog".
We are left to assume that the collected tweets are an effort to soften his image. It may even be a further effort to have us believe that he never - ever - was a member of the IRA. Dozens of well-informed people - including former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and current Taoiseach Enda Kenny - utterly reject these denials.
Clearly, the booklet should not remind us that he has repeatedly insisted that he did not order the 1972 abduction, torture, murder and clandestine burial of Jean McConville, the widowed mother of 10 young children. It is more likely to be an effort to show us a sort of whimsical and soft-centred Nelson Mandela figure.
Mentioning Nelson Mandela brings us rather neatly to the latest spot of bother Gerry Adams has landed in via Twitter.
Late on Sunday he launched these two beauties into the ether after watching the Quentin Tarantino film 'Django Unchained'.
"Watching Django Unchained - A Ballymurphy N*****!" read the tweet Number 1, although in his case, Adams had spelt out the offensive word. Tweet Number 2 went: "Django - an uppity Fenian!"
It was a rather ham-fisted attempt to compare the lot of nationalists in his native Ballymurphy in Belfast with the suffering of black slaves in the southern states of the USA. The 'Django' star, played by Jamie Foxx, was clearly closely identified with IRA heroes. Adams admits to an association with and knowledge of the IRA.
Both tweets were promptly deleted. But not before they had been widely shared and criticised for using the taboo N-word.
What followed was vintage Adams. He apologised in a kind of a way and then quickly went into self-justification mode.
"Anyone who has seen the film, as I did last evening, and who is familiar with the plight of nationalists in the north until recently, would know that my tweets about the film and the use of the N-word were ironic and not intended to cause any offence whatsoever," he said in a statement issued by Sinn Féin.
Any other party leader would face mass calls for his or her resignation in comparable circumstances.
Back in his first year as Fine Gael leader, Enda Kenny's public use of the N-word in telling a rather tired old joke caused a major furore. Only an abject and comprehensive apology saved the day. But in Sinn Féin they do things rather differently, especially when it comes to Adams who has led them for a remarkable 33 years. That sound you hear is the sound of the party wagons being circled. 'Ballymurphy Django' will lead the rebels' defence.
Being arrested and questioned about Jean McConville's murder, and questions about managing child abuse issues, have not harmed Adams and this one won't either.
But even the most ardent Shinner must have concerns about many of his many tweets.