Tuesday 20 February 2018

Adams: Should he stay or should he go?

Should Gerry Adams be clinging on for dear life or preparing a gracious resignation speech, asks Ruth Dudley Edwards

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Ruth Dudley Edwards

Ruth Dudley Edwards

There's no point in applying normal criteria either to the politician Gerry Adams or the quasi political party he's been leading for 33 years. I'm as guilty as anyone of regularly getting steamed up about what he gets away with and lamenting that while normal politicians are often professionally destroyed because of being caught out in minor indiscretions, brazenness, omerta and fear have protected Adams and many of his colleagues from getting their comeuppance.

Of course we should investigate, scrutinise, interrogate and judge militant Irish republicans by the same standards as anyone else, but we should be realistic. For complex reasons to do with the brainwashing of generations with a pernicious ideology of victimhood, a large number of us suffer from moral blindness about the brutality of physical force nationalism, so widespread public indifference to new revelations and allegations about past sins of the IRA are a fact of life.

In the BBC Spotlight programme that caused a furore last week, it was alleged that Denis Donaldson, a senior Sinn Fein official and British double agent, had been murdered in 2006 on the insistence of former IRA chief-of-staff Thomas "Slab" Murphy "to maintain army discipline". The media honed in on the more exciting suggestion by an anonymous source that Gerry Adams would have had to consent. Cue for Sinn Fein to pour bucket loads of effluent over everyone else or, as Micheal Martin put it, follow the familiar pattern of "pounce on the messenger, attack and deny, attack and deny".

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