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9 February 2015

Self-important Gerry Adams detached from any reality

Joan Burton
Joan Burton

Gerry Adams writes a blog called Leargas, which my Irish-English dictionary translates as sight, insight, discernment or vision. I read, or skim, it regularly for reasons of journalistic duty and can report that, though it's instructive for those of us who want to know what's going on in his strange head, it's hard going.

Not that I'm surprised. I've read some of his mawkish short stories, I follow his weird tweets about his ducks and his teddies, I mostly manage to get to the end of his articles and speeches and, in 2003, heroically, having been asked to review it, I read the whole of one of his volumes of autobiography.

I just looked up what I said in the National Review about A Farther Shore: Ireland's Long Road to Peace. Explaining to the American audience that, although Adams had "reinvented himself as a charismatic, philosophical, politically-correct tree-hugger", he had actually led the IRA he denied being a member of, I described the book as a "plodding compilation of lies, damned lies, and cliches".

I listed a few of those, including: "Dialogue happens every day in all our lives"; "Equality is good for everybody"; and "unionist hackles were raised".

I stand by my last sentence: "Anyone who encourages this man to write should be ashamed of himself."

Unfortunately, enough people did, so more than a decade on, Adams is still churning out the words, his style just as turgid, but the tone even more self-important, for he has become so detached from reality and so convinced about his own greatness that he's genuinely incredulous when he gets a tough time in the Dail, or in the Press.

A recent blog, headed "Taoiseach sees north as a foreign country", is a lengthy attack on the Fine Gael/Labour coalition and the party leaders, Enda Kenny and Joan Burton, who failed to toe the Sinn Fein line in the negotiations for the Stormont House Agreement.

Adams denounces successive Irish and British governments for ignoring Northern Ireland until the emergence of the civil rights movement (I can't argue with him there) and complains about Fine Gael's John Bruton (who was succeeded as Taoiseach in 1997 by Bertie Ahern), who too often agreed with the British.

"However, and I do not say this lightly, this Fine Gael-led government is the worst I have ever had to deal with. And I have dealt with every government since Charlie Haughey's time.

"But the current administration, led by Enda Kenny and Joan Burton, is the most deficient, inefficient and incompetent of all of them in dealing with the north."

What this is all about is that Kenny and Joan Burton (like most Dail deputies) can't stand Gerry Adams, regard his Sinn Fein colleagues as devotees in a dangerous cult, enrage him by throwing his past at him and refuse to be silenced by platitudes about peace.

They have seen him up close, they know him much better than any of their predecessors did and they fear for Irish democracy if he gets into government.

So when it came to the December negotiations, Kenny was shoulder-to-shoulder with David Cameron in trying to achieve a reasonable agreement and refusing to be bullied.

Afterwards, Kenny denounced Adams' behaviour during the talks as "outrageous" and Adams's political opponents (the Left can't stand him, either) are claiming that, in Northern Ireland, Sinn Fein have agreed to an austerity policy they oppose in the Republic.

Desperately trying to shore up their socialist credentials, Sinn Fein are snuggling up to to Syriza in Greece and Podemos in Spain.

Feeling vulnerable, in his blog Adams reached piously for his hitherto trusty weapon: "The peace process is the most important political project on this island at this time. It needs to be nurtured, protected and enhanced. It should be at the top of the [Irish] government's agenda alongside other priorities. It isn't.

"For my part, I will continue to urge the Labour and Fine Gael government to accept that the success and stability of the peace and political process in the north and the all-Ireland institutions are bigger and more important than any shortsighted, selfish electoral political agenda."

You have to laugh.

Ruth Dudley Edwards

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