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Adams, of all people, shouldn't joke about gunmen

Is Gerry Adams' mask beginning to slip?

For years Adams has played the role of peaceful democrat, batting away pesky reporters' questions about his leadership of the Provisional IRA.

But, thankfully, reporters keep asking these - and other - questions of Mr Adams, his party and the activities of the Provos.

And it's getting to Gerry, it seems. How else to explain his remarks at a fundraiser in New York last week, in which Adams recounted how the editor of the Irish Independent was confronted by an IRA gunman during the War of Independence? Adams and his Sinn Fein apologists have defended the remarks, stating he was not advocating violence.

But that's a mealy-mouthed qualification, at best.

Gerry Adams, of all people, should realise the significance of making jokes about gunmen.


He should also need little reminding that the Independent Group, the target of his remarks, has had two journalists murdered by gunmen in the recent past.

These comments were all the more crass and unacceptable in the light of these brutal murders.

The remarks raise serious questions about Adams judgment and show a barely concealed disrespect for press freedom in a democracy.

They also remind us of another menacing comment Adams made a few years ago about the Provos: "They haven't gone away you know."

Thanks again for the warning, Gerry.