Sunday 22 July 2018

Irish politicians should avoid the united Ireland cul-de-sac

In the pursuit of power, Gerry Adams is banking on a hard Brexit

Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill, Gerry Adams and Mary Lou McDonald. Photo: PA
Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill, Gerry Adams and Mary Lou McDonald. Photo: PA
Ruth Dudley Edwards

Ruth Dudley Edwards

Gerry Adams is exhausted, he told us in his blog last week. He was "too tired" for the first time since its foundation in 1988 even to attend Feile an Phobail, the West Belfast Festival, what with: "Martin's death. Two elections. Two USA trips in July. Constituency duties in the Dail and in Louth. Talks or what passed for talks at Stormont. It all takes time and effort."

It does, indeed. Especially if you're such a control freak that you choose to appoint as the formidable McGuinness's successor as leader of Sinn Fein in the Northern Ireland Assembly, Michelle O'Neill, whose outstanding qualification seems to be her biddability. So, in addition to his responsibilities as party leader in the Dail and president of the party since 1983, poor Adams has to be not just the organ grinder up North, but quite often has to take over from the monkey.

True, the party is short of talent. As Fionnuala O'Connor pointed out recently in her Irish News column, Sinn Fein is "a sub-standard outfit with no stars, a dozy script and the habit of taking their audience for granted, in a production that lacks credibility". But then it's hardly surprising that bright, young people are disinclined to join a party that seems mired in the past.

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