Andrew Lynch: Is Adams having a laugh by saying his rivals are corrupt?
Gerry Adams obviously has a good sense of humour. The Sinn Fein leader (or Baron of the Manor of Northstead, to give him his full British title) has chosen to launch his party's election campaign by accusing his rivals of being "deeply corrupt".
Given the Shinners' well-documented history of murder and mayhem, this is a bit like Andy Gray complaining about sexism -- and suggests that despite his makeover from Armalite to Armani, the whiff of sulphur surrounding Adams and his fellow republican fanatics is still lingering in the air.
The longer this election goes on, the more Adams looks like a Leaving Cert student who didn't bother to open his books until the night before.
He has been repeatedly tripped up over his ignorance of the economy, admitting to the BBC last week that he didn't know the rates of child benefit or VAT in the Republic.
As a result, he is reduced to making vague charges of corruption against "the political elite" in a woefully misguided attempt to seize the moral high ground.
Frankly, this is a pretty sick joke. Of course the Government should be held to account for its gross mismanagement of the economy.
If we're going to start digging up the past, however, then Adams might recall that he also has a few skeletons rattling in his closet -- and unlike Fianna Fail, he's never uttered even the slightest word of apology for his sins.
Adams is a Dail candidate in the constituency of Louth. The smallest county in Ireland is also the location of several unmarked graves, containing the bodies of people murdered by the Provisional IRA.
Until 2003, when her remains were discovered, one of them was Jean McConville -- a mother-of-10, from Belfast, who was kidnapped, tortured and shot because she dared to comfort a British soldier who lay dying on the street.
McConville's daughter, Helen McKendry, lives in Louth and repeatedly reminds Adams that he is reputed to have been the IRA's commanding officer in Belfast at the time her mother was killed.
Whenever he is challenged on the issue, he looks extremely uncomfortable and denies that he gave the order, but refuses to go into any more detail.
This is moral corruption on a grand scale -- and when you consider the butchery that Adams was prepared to condone, the sins of the banking system seem a lot smaller by comparison.
The opinion polls suggest that Adams will probably make it to the Dail.
After all, he and his party have one massive advantage over their more mainstream rivals.
Since they know they're going to be in opposition, they're free to make whatever wild promises they like -- and at a time of economic despair, their simplistic slogan of 'burn the bondholders' obviously has a populist appeal.
On the trifling matter of our €18bn budget deficit, Adams has nothing to offer but bluff and bluster.
To be fair to him, however, Sinn Fein/IRA's history shows that they are pretty good at getting banks to part with their cash. Their approach is fairly similar to that of Pat Shortt's character in Father Ted, who emerges from the building with a shotgun and a fistful of banknotes, explaining "'Tis my money -- I just didn't want to fill out the forms."
If Sinn Fein is to be stopped, then the other parties need to start exposing them at every available opportunity. So far, unfortunately, everybody seems to be scared stiff of them.
Gerry Adams has proved that he doesn't understand the meaning of the word 'corrupt'.
On February 25, the Irish electorate should recognise that people with blood on their hands can't be allowed anywhere near power -- and teach him the meaning of 'humiliation' instead.