Gerry Adams' US trip break from pressure

 
Gerry Adams Gerry Adams had an approval rating of 29% at the start of October

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So Gerry Adams is flying off to the US to "brief the US administration on the political situation in Ireland" and the need for continuing American engagement in the peace process.

According to his Twitter feed, despite his frequent visits over the years, he is still selected for a "special security search".

That might be a minor inconvenience, but one would assume that the transatlantic trip would provide a break for the Sinn Féin president from the build-up of pressure in recent weeks.

First there was the conviction of his brother Liam for raping and abusing his niece Áine.

Then came the decision to call in Attorney General John Larkin to examine allegations that he had withheld information about the case.

Then there was Darragh MacIntyre and Alison Millar's powerful televised elegy to the Disappeared, which focused renewed attention on Mr Adams' denial of involvement in the disappearance of Jean McConville, a widowed mother-of-10.

The Sinn Féin president has broad shoulders and a reputation for walking away unscathed from allegations that would have sunk more conventional politicians.

Mr Adams topped the poll in Louth in February 2011, two years after journalist Chris Moore brought his niece's case to attention and after reporter Suzanne Breen exposed inconsistencies in his account of his relationship with his brother.

As of the start of October, Mr Adams had an approval rating of 29%.

This is behind Taoiseach Enda Kenny but ahead of Fianna Fáil's Micheál Martin and Labour's Eamon Gilmore.

Allegations

Whilst this rating might pre-date the cross-border transmission of this week's Disappeared documentary, it comes more than a decade after Ed Moloney's book, Secret History of the IRA, linked the Sinn Féin leader to an IRA unit of "unknowns" allegedly tasked with the grisly work of trying to cover up the murders on a permanent basis.

Those claims have since been added further weight by the broadcast and publication of more claims from the now-deceased IRA members Dolours Price and Brendan Hughes - allegations rejected again by Mr Adams this week as lies.

On a political level then, the drip drip of allegations doesn't appear to have put voters off backing the veteran Sinn Féin president.

Mr Adams celebrated his 65th birthday this year. Every time I have raised the possibility of standing down with him in recent years, he has rebuffed the notion that he might prefer to concentrate on writing books.

The more that opponents like the DUP's Edwin Poots seek to make capital out of Mr Adams' difficulties, the more it is likely to bolster his position within his own camp.

However, there are other dynamics at work.

Centenery

Given Mr Adams' and Sinn Féin's ambitions to expand further in the south, it is only natural commentators should start looking towards other TDs like Mary Lou McDonald or Pearse Doherty as potential leaders in waiting.

Mr Adams' denials of IRA membership - which fellow republicans might once have viewed as a necessary expedient in a war situation - are increasingly making him an object of derision, even to some within his own tight-knit community.

More than that, even if the substance of the latest allegations is not new, there could come a point when the folk memory of Mr Adams as Sinn Féin's 'Mandela' fades, while the public image of evasive appearances on the TV persists.

Given the impending centenary of the Easter Rising, it is often conjectured that the Sinn Féin president would like to carry on at the helm of his party until 2016.

Whatever happens between now and then, he will want to determine his own destiny rather than appear to be buffeted by his critics into a hasty departure.

 
Mark Devenport, Political editor, Northern Ireland Article written by Mark Devenport Mark Devenport Political editor, Northern Ireland

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  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 30.

    Would this be the same Gerry Adams who has consistently demanded "truth" and "justice"? It raises some concerns as to how truth and justice would be defined in Gerry's brave new Ireland.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 29.

    Forgetting about the politics of the country and who is catholic or protestant or what color flag they stand in front of, this man allowed his brother to abuse his daughter and as a member of government who decides our laws, he allowed it to go unchecked. This is a disgraceful act for any human being to allow and to walk away from with no repercussions. He deserves equal punishment.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 28.

    This is a very sad situation for any family to find themselves in.
    It would appear that there are many who would use this tragic event to 'get at' Gerry Adams.Like him or loathe him, how many would be willing to have their family's problems aired in full public view.
    His politics and political activity are separate from his family situation.
    People in glass houses should not throw stones.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 27.

    Caul is was on about Adams supporting his neice, the only thing he worried about is "is this going to affect me" stuff everything else

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 26.

    @25 Martin McGuinness received 13.7 % 1st preference votes in the 2011 Irish Presidential election. Opinion polls early in the campaign were averaging 28% in favour of McGuinness.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 25.

    You must have been following a different election result, because I remember the Martin McGuinness came a very respectable third, having been a late starter. To describe this a going "belly up" is simply not true.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 24.

    Poor Martin was rather exposed when his hilarious Presidential campaign went belly up. The southern electorate are now being shown the sordid side of Gerry.

  • Comment number 23.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 22.

    exactly Lurch, hypocrisy of the highest order, there are a few people who are hell bent on getting Sinn Fein and Gerry Adams out of power. British propaganda at its finest.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 21.

    What you appear to be missing is that this is something done by what were their own and it is not the fact that they were killed but rather their bodies were hidden away. Why must be the simplest question to be asked. For throughout the troubles many were killed on all sides by those on all sides. So why take the bodies away and hide them. What benefit, it only brought suffering to the families!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 20.

    Jeffrey Donaldson is a former member of the UDR in Co Armagh. He and many others should come clean on anything they might know about the activities of the UDR in that County. Regardless of what they know or don't know, they should at least be asked. This is all one sided as usual and cuts no ice with the Nationalist people. These people want to forget Nationalist victims but it shall not happen.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 19.

    Gerry Adams is in public life and it seems can be blamed for anything and more importantly asked anything by anyone. However, who is seeking answers from the retired Special branch, RUC senior officers and MI5 & MI6 who have been proven by Ombudman and HET enquiries to have been involved in many murders. They refuse to co-operate or answer questions and are conveniently ignored.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 18.

    You could make the same emotional documentary for countless number of afghan families that died innocently which the British Army/Government should be held accountable for. Just remember it wasnt too long ago when the British Government were calling Nelson Mandela a terrorist also.Gerry Adams has done more for the peace proces than almost anyone, yet media keep regurgitating the same old stories

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 17.

    The film makers sympathy for the traumatised families is feigned. Their motivation for making the documentary arises not from empathy but spite at their bête noire Adams.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 16.

    i feel there was an ulterior motive behind the 'disappeared' documentary. yes the whole episode is tragic, theres no doubting that, but it simply trying to discredit Gerry Adams.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 15.

    If legislation proposed by Jeffery Donaldson to exclude paramilitary members from being defined as victims (due before the Westminister parliament in December 2013) passes, this will mean that the vast majority of the 'disappeared' will not be officially considered victims. Absurd!

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 14.

    @Kaap4 It is an established fact that the paedophile was reported to the RUC by the victim in 1987. I don't think it is a laughing matter that they protected him from prosecution.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 13.

    Caul your having a laugh!!!!!!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 12.

    There appears to be a power struggle going on between the old guard and the new kids on the block. This is not just happening in the North but also South of the border. They are undermining SF which is weakening their position not helped by the fact that Mr Adams has been very quiet which has led to talk of him being replaced.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 11.

    @Kaap4. The abuser was reported to the RUC in 1987, it was they who protected the paedophile. Adams has supported his niece throughout this family tragedy.

 

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