Eilis O’Hanlon is not so much coming to the rescue of Gerry Adams, as upbrading the Taoiseach for using the abduction and murder of a Belfast housewife to punctuate his own inability to answer fairly straightforward questions from the Opposition:
In the right context, the charges against Gerry Adams carry considerable weight. Last week, demanding that the British government come clean about its role in the murder of lawyer Pat Finucane, it would have been perfectly legitimate to inquire what secrets of his own Adams might be hiding behind that greying beard. But Enda Kenny now uses the same accusation every single time he addresses Adams, whether it’s relevant or not to the subject at hand.
Last week’s row came as the Dail debated the Budget. In October the same thing happened when Adams questioned Health Minister James Reilly’s judgement. Back in January, Kenny even raised the IRA issue after Adams called him “an eejit” when he was pictured having his hair ruffled by Sarkozy.
The Taoiseach might like to think he is doughtily defending innocent victims against the might of the Provisional IRA war machine, but in reality he’s just diluting the impact of the alleged charges against Adams by cynical and lazy repetition. Like the boy who cried wolf, Kenny accuses Adams of being an IRA godfather so often that the words have lost their impact. When the time comes that the charge ought to be raised, people now simply roll their eyes and sigh: “There he goes again.”
By using the Troubles like a high five to punctuate Dail questions when he thinks he’s on a roll, Kenny is disrespecting the memory of Jean McConville and other victims. They should never be forgotten and those who may have questions to answer about their brutal fate must be made to answer for what they did. But don’t use their memory as a tactic to avoid answering serious questions about the Government’s lamentable record and your own feebleness as a leader during a time of national crisis.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty