herald

Friday 23 February 2018

Adams to continue pulling SF strings

Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams

Gerry Adams finally ended years of speculation by announcing during his presidential address at the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis last Saturday that he will step down as leader next year.

He has ruled his party with an iron fist for more than three decades. His leadership brooked no opposition, no challenges, no dissent and developed into a rather sinister cult.

Although he received a tumultuous, well-choreographed reception from the party faithful, many in Sinn Fein will be happy to see the back of him.

I have no doubt that the majority of the new crop of TDs and councillors considered Adams and all his bloody baggage from the past a major obstacle to the party's future political ambitions for seats at the cabinet table.

Rejected

I have my doubts that his departure will make Sinn Fein any more attractive as a partner for the two main political parties in the Republic.

In the wake of Adams' announcement, both Fianna Fail and Fine Gael rejected out of hand any suggestion of going into government with Sinn Fein after the next election.

Sinn Fein and its deputy leader, Mary Lou McDonald, have a long way to go before they can convince the majority of people here that they are fit for government or a normal democratic political party.

The reality still is that Sinn Fein and the Provisional IRA are two sides of the same coin.

The army council of the Provisional IRA, despite all denials to the contrary, has never been disbanded or stood down.

To the present day, the armchair generals and hard men of the Provos in Belfast and South Armagh still call the shots, if you'll pardon the pun, and dictate overall policy and strategy to their political alter-ego, Sinn Fein.

These sinister, shadowy individuals, as Adams warned us very publicly, "haven't gone away, you know".

They have never repudiated the strategy "to achieve a united Ireland with a ballot box in this hand, and an Armalite in the other".

Maybe in his retirement Mr Adams will have time to reflect on and repent the atrocities inflicted by the Provisionals on innocent people on both sides of the Border.

Conscience may at last tempt him to unburden himself to the authorities down here and in the North and provide information on a number of notorious murders.

These must include the brutal killings of mother-of-10 Jean McConville, Co Louth farmer Thomas Oliver, Armagh man Paul Quinn and prison officer Brian Stack.

However, I realise it is indeed a forlorn hope that he will come clean.

If, as expected, McDonald becomes the next leader of Sinn Fein, my fear and the fear of many in this country is that Gerry Adams will remain the puppetmaster pulling the strings behind the scenes.

For the foreseeable future, Sinn Fein as a political party will remain subservient and an obedient servant of its military wing, the Provisional IRA.

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