herald

Tuesday 30 September 2014

I hope Gerry's slept well, it's more than Jean's family have

IN Ken Loach's forthcoming and final film, Jimmy's Hall, the director touches on the problems faced by one-time 'men of action' trying to find their place in post-independence Ireland.

The transition from cold-blooded murder and ethnic cleansing, to bedding into a putatively civilised society is never easy, as former revolutionary firebrands simply swapped oppression from the khaki uniforms of the Crown for more (much more) of the same from the purple and black robes of Rome.

Some revolutionaries, eh?

Emerging from that screening (it's a truly terrible film, by the way) I heard the news that a first-time Labour candidate had been hounded out of an estate in Tallaght while canvassing, the young woman being abused and her ordeal recorded and uploaded online for all the world to see her humiliation.

TOUGH

Some would argue that anyone considering a career in politics needs to develop a tough hide, and while that's certainly the case, there is a world of difference between having a skin thick enough to withstand a baiting by Vincent Browne and enduring a potential battering from bully boys. Even the Shinners would distance themselves from mob behaviour like this.

Ah, my old friends the Shinners: what a few days it's been for them. At the start of the week they were absolutely flying, looking great in the polls for both the local and European elections.

Streaking ahead with idiots who fall for their 'bright new alternative' bull, despite the fact that a class of reasonably bright 10-year-olds with a grasp of middling-to-hard sums could drive an armoured car through their economic proposals. And then ... and then.

The arrest of the appalling Gerry Adams with regard to the abduction, murder and disappearing of Jean McConville in 1972 soon put a halt to their gallop.

Suddenly they were on the back foot. Every one of their candidates was immediately caught in the headlights as the questions shifted from what they were going to do to this country (perish the thought but have your passport up to date just in case) to what their leader did or did not do in his country four decades ago.

It was interesting to watch Shinners squirm when confronted with the allegations of Adams' membership and, indeed, leadership of the IRA in Belfast.

I only hope Adams got a couple of decent nights' kip in his cell at Antrim police station, because that's more than Jean McConville's family have had for the past 40 years.

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