[Soapbox] Shinners, please don’t blame the messenger!

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Gerry Adams is a liar.  There.  I’ve said it.  Cue the wolf circling the sheep and herding them all in.  He’s never been in the IRA. (yeah, right)

He was in jail when ‘Always look on the Bright Side Of Life’ was written (not true).  He is reported to have told the family of Jean Mc Conville that he was also in jail at that time (he wasn’t).

Lies have a habit of tripping you up.  Not so, if you’re Gerry Adams, it appears.

No matter what he says, you could nearly set the clock for the endless line of Sinn Fein workers and supporters who peddle the party line, and hoist Gerry off the hook, time and time again.

Disturbing

Most times, people outside of the party cabal merely roll their eyes, safe in the comfort of the knowledge that they know the truth.  While it’s disturbing, it is not necessarily surprising.

What is rightly disturbing, and at times disgusting, is the party faithful’s reaction to the recent furore surrounding Gerry Adams, and his handling of former Sinn Fein representative Liam Adams (also his brother), and the child rape and sexual abuse of his niece, Aine.

At present, Gerry is well and truly on the hook, and rightly so.

The subject of child abuse is a very emotive issue.  A prominent politician’s knowledge of a confession to abuse, and the considerable delay in reporting of same is always going to be headline news.

That aside, the twists and turns in this story – mostly exposed through strong journalism, amid contradictions within the President of Sinn Feins own version of events, and the party has a major problem.

So, what does it do?

Its key figures go to ground, stay silent, and put their heads in the sand; while the party faithful take to social media sites to, wait for it, not explore the issue of sex abuse cover up within the republican community, but attack the journalists – the only people to date to have asked the hard questions.

Journalism

It was journalists the victims of sex abuse within the republican community went to when they needed to be heard on the issue and action to be taken because those within their own communities were not getting the message.

It was journalists who listened to the frustrations, waited patiently until tears subsided and stories tumbled out and who did something about it.  Journalists gave these victims something which they had not had when meeting Sinn Fein personnel.  Journalists gave them a voice.

At present, supporters of Adams, and indeed the man himself, are citing that this is a “private family matter”, and that his family are rightly entitled to privacy.

Certainly the victim in this case is.  Scrutiny rightly has not been placed in her direction.  She hasn’t done anything wrong.   She has already made her feelings regarding her uncle and his brother known in an emotional interview, with journalist Suzanne Breen.

She was scathing of her uncle Gerry’s action towards her:  “Imagine sending the person you believed had been abused by your brother a book thanking that brother.”

Her story brought other victims forward and current legal cases are ongoing.  The spotlight in this case is, however, rightly placed on a man, in a prominent and powerful position, who has serious questions to answer.

Politics

It was Gerry Adams who politicised this case, firstly by his actions, or inactions while in an elected position, by his use of the “peace process” as an excuse under cross examination in court, and his lashing out at “political opponents” for raising issues.

In essence, he accepts that he is a public figure, subject to scrutiny, but he clearly doesn’t like it.

Neither do his followers.  One tweet from Gerry, and they bleat about “witch hunts”, and “deplorable journalism” and “anti SF bias”, in an attempt to pull the wool over everyone else’s eyes, and the shepherds protective cloak even more tightly around him.

In The Sunday Independent, journalist Eilis O’Hanlon penned a brave piece of journalism, shining a light into the sordid workings of the republican movement when it came to rapists, and sexual abuse.

She researched the issue, and dealt with the facts.  She spoke to a victim.  She quoted another republican and his experience when it came to republican cover up of abuse.  She spoke to the Rape Crisis Centre.

Bizarre

She rightly called Adams out on his bizarre and insensitive tweeting of a Maya Angelou poem – then forensically dissected the disturbing conundrum which faces Sinn Fein at present; the issue of how they can call for arrest and prosecution of other powerful figures in society for covering up for, or not being proactive in child abuse, yet stay absolutely silent when the light is shone in their direction.

It was almost instantaneous, once the article appeared on Twitter.  The vitriolic attacks, the snide remarks and the grotty deflection centred not on the issue or the message, but on the journalist.  Ms O’Hanlon was abused, directly and indirectly, all over the Twitter and Facebook hemispheres.

She was accused of using sexual abuse to “further (her) own narrow agenda”, which presumably was the right not to be a voter of Sinn Fein, of being “bitter”, of “making it up”, she was “vile”, and told to “learn some manners”.

Even her dead sister was brought into the equation as an absurd reason for rightly raising the issue of abuse.

Eilis O’Hanlon is not the enemy.   Child abuse and cover up is.   She is a journalist who works hard, and is required, to write articles on topical issues for a National newspaper.

What other columnist, in a country where arguably one of the most powerful political movements stands accused of issues in relation to child abuse, would simply do what others have done, and ignore the issue?

Damaging secrets

Sinn Fein of course would like to see this subject buried.

It’s not going to happen.  It’s been rearing its head for years now through a trickling of victims, and more are set to come forward.  The dike is open, and the waters can’t be dammed.  The attacks on Eilis, on other journalists, and on victims are an attempt to deflect responsibility.

It attacks the messenger and ignores the message.

Sinn Fein supporters have got it wrong.  They should be asking very hard questions of their movements leadership, and demanding a straight answer.  Blind faith in a man who clearly has trouble with some aspects of his memory is not a clever move.

Instead of seeing him as a victim, they should be mindful  that there are very real victims, who have directly suffered from rape and abuse, and stop retraumatising them with repeated denials.

They should admit, directly and collectively to their role in the cover up of abuse in many cases, and the abhorrent treatment meted out to victims.  Then they should ensure that this never, ever happens again.

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  • Barney

    When you have a slow site create a sockpuppet account and indulge in a bit of trolling and general coat trailing

  • GEF

    Sinn Féin president’s adversaries believe he is vulnerable
    Over his long career Gerry Adams, with his paramilitary (which he denies) cum and political past, has ended up in corners without any discernible escape route. Yet he has always managed to dodge his enemies and emerge with his political position secure.’ Has Gerry Houdini done it again?

    http://www.google.co.uk/url?q=http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/gerry-adams-under-pressure-over-knowlege-of-abuse-by-his-brother-1.1560761&sa=U&ei=UvtcUs2WI8iA0AWlrYGQBw&ved=0CCUQqQIoADAB&sig2=ACU2_-I0jpCadj2eZwdo6A&usg=AFQjCNGQlkVX8poQ7tNGyZFBr8XUFW-Rgw

  • tacapall

    “Gerry Adams is a liar”

    Glad you’ve finally realised that fact Mick, I could add another few virtues that the man’s devoid of but whats the point, the man done a runner to Dundalk because the people of West Belfast knew the truth. Im sorry to tell you this Mick but Adams was never in jail, he was interned in Long Kesh, I read Eilis O’Hanlon’s piece and although she’s the northern equivalent of Eoghan Harris when it comes to her opinions of Sinn Fein and Irish politics, her article was accurate but only the tip of the iceberg. I wouldn’t say all allegations of sexual abuse by members of the IRA was all brushed under the carpet as there were IRA members unfortunate not to be connected to the right people who were punished severely

  • Mick Fealty

    Not me tac…Soapbox slot is an occasional slot for someone who like most of our commenters want to remain annonymous.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “Gerry Adams is a liar. There. I’ve said it.”

    Suzanne Breen was equally blunt a couple of days ago: Liar Adams now plays the victim

    She begins:

    Gerry Adams is a stranger to truth, decency and the milk of human kindness. On every single count he has failed from the moment Aine told him 26 years ago her father had raped her.

    and ends:

    Care and compassion, just like truth and transparency, are damningly absent in both the past and present of Gerry Adams.

    The SF leader seems to be struggling when confronted by a gaggle of women much as the former Labour leader did. On this occasion, the women have included journalists and members of the legal profession.

  • jh25769

    If Sinn Fein want Gerry Adams as their president, let them. If Sinn Fein supporters want to vote for a party with Gerry Adams as it’s president, let them. Sinn Fein isn’t a normal political party and any amount of pressure or criticism isn’t going do one iota of damage. We live in a democracy, let the people decide.

  • Barney

    Yellow card!!

    Can the admin delete my account

  • Barney

    I don’t want to be associated with a coat trailing site

  • märsta

    stop posting then – sheesh!

  • babyface finlayson

    Barney
    Too late.
    Henceforth you will always be known as ‘Barney from the coat trailing site’..

  • Mick Fealty

    Do I need to hand out more?

  • between the bridges

    Obviously there are more astute political commentators than me on here so forgive my simple analysis. Imho GA has already been ‘disciplined’ by SF/IRA. the night of the long elbow seen him booted out of w.belfast, installed as a whipping boy for the ‘not in my name’ mexicans, and told he could remain as a figurehead until 2016. Meanwhile back at connolly ranch st Martin of peacemaking is lord of all he surveys and still desires a nice average industry retirement sitting on his aras…

  • westprog

    It might be that Eilis O’Hanlon is purely motivated by spite against Sinn Fein and a warped loathing of Ireland and Irishness. Perhaps she’s in the pay of MI5 (which is one of the allegations levelled against her). Perhaps there’s no substance to the claims that Sinn Fein covered up sexual abuse.

    The fact remains that the people attacking her are siding with abusers and against the abused. Until they know for a fact that every single accusation is definitively false, they are helping in a coverup.

    I feel sorry for some of the foot soldiers being used as cannon fodder. What they post today will be there to be see forever after. The senior SF figures are wisely keeping very quiet and hoping it all blows over.

  • Mickish

    Mick,starting to think you have forgotten where you came from or what side your bread used to be buttered on.If we all rake the coals we can come up with all types of dirt on anyone! Like the old saying goes” let them without sin,cast the first stone” ….

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Sinn Fein drones will blindly follow SF

    DUP comeallyeas will blindly follow DUP

    So it goes.

  • tacapall

    “I feel sorry for some of the foot soldiers being used as cannon fodder. What they post today will be there to be see forever after.”

    Westprog is there something wriiten in any posts above that only you can see ?

    Who are you talking about ?

  • cynosure

    Yes he is a liar. In the context of whether he was in the IRa, it is the received wisdom and I expect it’s true. So he lies about his membership of it. Which I think is defendable because he would be taken to jail if he told the truth. The dup have cleverly resisted moves for a reconciliation process which would probably involve an amnesty, because it would help SF and GA. So he has to lie. He’s painted himself into a corner and has to keep it up. The ‘bright side of life’ is just an example of this. (But a really lame example, that looks ridiculously innocuous in comparison to the OP’s other ones).

    So I think this means he is damaged goods. He did great service to the movement and the peace process but even if an amnesty was called today and he was free to come clean about the Ira thing, the lies, though understanable, would be fatal politically. So he has to go. Maybe not now but when this blows over.

    Regarding the cover up of the abuse of his niece. If that’s true, it’s I defendable and he would be truly fucked up shitbag

  • cynosure

    Sorry, I meant indefensible.

  • hseany1978

    Disagree quite a bit with the focus of this, and related, pieces.

    My main reason for this disagreement is that reporting crimes in working class, republican areas to the RUC was a no-go area for a long time, arguably until the late 90s.

    The main reason for this is that the RUC routinely tried to make informers of people who reported crimes and indeed also made informers of people who were guilty of committing them.

    This accusation is still levelled at the NIPS and one just has to look at the recent UTV expose of suspected informers (and their treatment by the police) for evidence of this approach.

    The suspicion of the RUC therefore in these areas was almost absolute and, as a consequence, people would: A) go to the PIRA to ‘deal’ with these matters, B) suffer in silence.

    Therefore, while Adams’ position and stance on this matter will appear repugnant to some (and it should be condemned – although I dont know how I would like and feel if it was a brother of mine and niece involved in a horrible incident like this one), it should also be contextualised and even juxtaposed with how the security forces dealt with this matter i.e. they were only interested in making an informer of G.A’s niece.

    People should also remember that child abuse was long treated as taboo – again up until the 90s – in Ireland. Incidents were routinely covered up, swept under the carpet, etc etc. Again, that context shouldn’t be forgotten also.

    Some may view this comment as excusing G.A – it is not. However a little scope for the big picture would not go amiss either.

  • Alias

    If they ever hooked Gerry up to a polygraph machine, the needle with would fly off its pivot and embed itself in a wall. The residual problem for the Shinners from these sexual abuse revelations is that the leader and its party is going to sound as credible as Sean Fitzpatrick giving a speech on financial ethics whenever it makes a contribution to the on-going public debate on child protection policy in Ireland. The only way it can manage that handicap is to keep quite doing such debates, thereby scarifying the party’s input into child protection policy for the leader. It’s impossible to understand the mentality of those drones who choose to provide free cover for him but suffice to say that they have profoundly embarrassed their selves…

    Incidentally, the article linked by GEF in the second post on this thread is definitive.

  • Alias

    Typo: “…keep quiet during such debates…”

  • Alias

    “although I dont know how I would like and feel if it was a brother of mine and niece involved in a horrible incident like this one”

    Well, if your 13 year old niece told you that your brother had raped her for a period of 6 years and asked you to help her, what would you do?

    (a) Ignore her for 4 years from the day she told you, not even sending her a birthday or Christmas card, never mind securing counselling services for her or the resolution she asked you to help her get?

    (b) The opposite of the above.

    I think it is fair to say that no one with even a basic level of decency would do (a) above.

  • paulG

    Are there any mitigating claims in GA’s defence that Liam was punished (a beating by the IRA for example) or that he was monitored by SF members in the following years while working with youths? We may not have all the facts yet.

    If anyone believes that much of the Southern press are not politically motivated in this, then we only have to look at the soft ride given to Emmet Stagg after he was caught with a rent boy in Phoenix park. Many of those rent boys at the time were underage and some were victims of child sexual abuse before (consequently) falling into drugs and then prostitution.

    Yet Emmet didn’t even have to resign from the Labour party despite being the culprit (of using prostitutes) while Gerry has only sat on some evidence of a culprit.

  • between the bridges

    paulG, ”if the SF/IRA child protection core were monitoring or beating Liam it would all be ok…”

  • westprog

    Tacapall -

    there are people on Twitter who are attacking O’Hanlon over the story. The gist of it is that it’s all political, it’s shameful to exploit the victims, what about a thousand years of oppression, Kincora – in fact, it’s all an object lesson in whataboutery.

    The people doing this are not official SF spokesmen, and they don’t claim to speak for SF. In fact, many of them claim not to be affiliated in any way. They are still part of an attempt to silence the investigation though.

  • westprog

    hseany1978 -

    if SF were to come clean and admit that due to the impossibility of dealing with the police, coupled with the attitudes of the time, they got it wrong, and now publicly call on anyone who suffered at the time to come forward and be heard – well, that would be an appropriate response. Acknowledgement and explanation.

    What we seem to have is obfuscation, denial and smearing.

  • socaire

    I think that the only fair way to sort all this out is for the political intelligensia who us humble ‘foot soldiers’ are lucky enough to have gracing this blog and allowing us to read their incisive comments – supported by nothing but the gutter press – for them to stand against SF in every election from here on and see what the outcome is. Will the sheep at last see the light or will the dumbos still vote for the party/person of their choice.

  • http://www.selfhatinggentile.blogger.com tmitch57

    “Sinn Fein isn’t a normal political party and any amount of pressure or criticism isn’t going do one iota of damage. We live in a democracy, let the people decide.”

    @jh,

    I agree with the first sentence. NI is, however, as unique a democracy as SF is a political party. No official opposition and hence no real expectation that there is an alternative to the parties in the Executive. In NI one is either co-opted or irrelevant. Brendan O’Leary the doctor who prescribed consociationalism for NI, said recently that separate school systems are necessary for maintaining consociationalism. In other words keep the inmates locked in their sectarian cages lest they try to change the prison rules.

  • 241934 john brennan

    ‘Oh what a tangled web we weave.’ Over the years Gerry has woven such a tangle around himself that even he cannot escape from it. Neither can anyone else precisely locate him within his fabricated cocoon, which is infinitely complicated and wrapped in never-ending tissues of his own making.

    Like the Oracle of Delphi his answers may either be direct, conditional upon something else, ambiguous, or downright false. You pays your money and youse takes your choice.

  • Reader

    socaire: – for them to stand against SF in every election from here on and see what the outcome is. Will the sheep at last see the light or will the dumbos still vote for the party/person of their choice.
    We know what the outcome will be – SF will continue to get about 27% of the vote here – probably not as many as the DUP. I assume the sense of your argument is that is roughly the percentage they each deserve?

  • socaire

    No, Reader. I’m making the point that the awesome pile of criticism by a sorry collection of West Brits, Free Staters and journeymen tinkers does not amount to a hill of beans.
    A mathematician named Hall
    Had a hexahedronical ball.
    A fifth of its weight
    Plus his pecker times eight
    Was four-fifths of five-eighths of f**k all.
    #

  • Dixie Elliott

    “You’re not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who says it…”

    Malcolm X

    In the eyes of those who see Adams as a patriot…Wrong can be excused even if reality goes out of the window.

  • Reader

    socaire: I’m making the point that the awesome pile of criticism by a sorry collection of West Brits, Free Staters and journeymen tinkers does not amount to a hill of beans.
    Well, if by ‘hill of beans’, you mean ‘votes’, then yes it does matter. After all, if SF get fewer votes than they think they deserve, then they have to have some sort of theory. And if you can’t blame the influence of insufficiently patriotic elements on the island, you might have to start blaming the party, or the voters.

  • Dixie Elliott

    Moyle councillor makes ‘culture of bullying’ allegation as she resigns from Sinn Fein

    A MOYLE Sinn Fein councillor, who dramatically resigned from the party, claimed one of her reasons was because of a “culture of bullying”.

    [...] She was a member of Sinn Fein for eleven years and represented the Glens electoral area since 2011.

    The councillor told the paper she had taken “careful consideration” before making her decision and claimed Sinn Fein had taken “decisions that serve a narrow party interest ahead of the common good.”

    Cllr McKillop said: “I have been tormented by the decisions the party has made on behalf of the people I represent. I have expressed my unease with senior party figures both locally and regionally and my concerns have been met with indifference.”

    The councillor claimed she was unable to establish a “mechanism to question party policy”.

    She added: “Instead a culture of bullying and innuendo accompanied any desire to engage in reasoned political debate.”

    And the councillor added: “Instructions are delivered from the leadership in a series of meetings and are to be carried out without examination or query.” [...]

    http://www.ballymoneytimes.co.uk/news/local-news/moyle-councillor-makes-culture-of-bullying-allegation-as-she-resigns-from-sinn-fein-1-5584761

  • socaire

    A party works for the good of the party until it gets into government. Then and not until then can it afford to work for the good of the people.

  • Charles_Gould

    He has a very low level of moral integrity.

    Compare and contrast Conal McDevitt.

  • socaire

    Charles, are you referring to Shame-us or have you not noticed that this is not still a Gerry post?

  • Alias

    “A party works for the good of the party until it gets into government. Then and not until then can it afford to work for the good of the people.”

    I guess no one told you that they’ve been in government since May 2007 so there goes your theory.

  • Dixie Elliott

    socaire said…

    “for them to stand against SF in every election from here on and see what the outcome is…”

    Child rape and abuse and the cover up of….

    Adamism’s answer is, stand against us in elections….

    Stand against the richest party in Ireland?

    A party who’s employees/ full time election workers are paid by British funding.

    A party with two papers.

    A party which can rely on it’s voters fear of ‘the other side’ taking their side’s seats.

    Most of all a party playing the peace process card in the knowledge that people fear if they reject the Shinners at the polls they are rejecting peace.

    If people are therefore willing to vote for what in effect is, the Tory Party’s Northern Irish branch then what chance has anyone else?

  • socaire

    This is a government? I was under the impression that it was a temporary accord. Am I wrong? Dixie. I hear you and understand you. You don’t need to keep repeating yourself.

  • son of sam

    Dixie
    “A party with two papers “—- Presume you would class the Andersonstown News as one.Is An Phoblacht not now online.You might of course be referring to the Derry Journal which on occasions gives the impression of being a conduit for all the Shinner press releases!

  • cynosure

    Great poem, Socaire. Lol

  • socaire

    Mick gave me a yellow card for it.

  • Dixie Elliott

    Talking about newspapers or as Adamsism refers to those who write what they see as wrong…

    Anti-Republican rags, the Gutter Press etc.

    I seem to remember a while back the whole uproar, the Irish News weren’t pleased for one, about the Andytown News being the only paper in the North funded by the….British Exchequer!!

    I seen a few ‘West Brit’ comments being thrown out by the faithful…Thought I’d stick that in for the brassed-neck of it.

    Add the Exchequer money to the funding being pumped into SF community groups and I’d say, if it wasn’t for the Brits a hell of a lot of Shinners would be signing the dole.

  • Alias

    “I was under the impression that it was a temporary accord. Am I wrong?”

    You couldn’t be more wrong if you left a starving Mary Lou alone in your cake shop. Three to six months is temporary: six years is permanent.

  • Neil

    “You couldn’t be more wrong if you left a starving Mary Lou alone in your cake shop.”

    Woman playing.

    “Three to six months is temporary: six years is permanent.”

    6 years is permanent? Get a dictionary.

  • Mick Fealty

    Try this Neil…

  • paulG

    btb, Oct15 1:31

    Not by current standards. Not even by conditions of the time, but mitigating to a degree, certainly.

    Bearing in mind that Republicans and particularly GA were on a constant war footing, enveloped in all of the largely warranted paranoia that goes with it, – those may have appeared the only actions open to him.

    If he had chosen them, then it would have demonstrated a desire for whatever justice was possible and an acceptance of a duty of care to the children of the wider community.

    To date, it appears all the more damning that there is no claim that even those (or similar) measures were pursued.

  • Alias

    “Get a dictionary.” – Neil

    Okay. How about this one:

    “intended to exist or function for a long, indefinite period without regard to unforeseeable conditions: a permanent employee; the permanent headquarters of the United Nations.”

    Get a dictionary. ;)

    His argument is that the Shinners are only self-serving because they’re not in government but once they get into government they’ll no longer be self-serving. I pointed out that they were already in government since May 2006. He then modified his false argument to claim that the government must not be temporary in order for the leopard to change its spots. Of course, all government is temporary – lasting for an average of five years – and all government is permanent (you’ll soon be celebrating the 100 anniversary of Stormont). If the Shinners don’t regard six years as a long enough period of time in which they should not be self-serving then won’t change their spots during the normal period of any other government. Not that they could change said spots, anyway, so our mutual friend was simply rationalising his party’s bad behaviour.

  • socaire

    Several points, Alias. Firstly, I make the point that this is not a government. No one side can move without the other’s say so. There are so many checks, balances and vetos built in (and for good reasons) that radical progress is impossible. A government governs. An accord is temporary until one or other side in the accord becomes head buck cat, then governing can start. Party must come first until this happens or else they won’t be there to ever serve the people/country. So now you understand ‘temporary’. Second point. I would rather be a mutual friend than a mutual enemy. Thirdly, Sinn Féin is not my party.

  • 241934 john brennan

    Gerry not in Dail this morning for budget debate. Mary Lou leading for SF. Mary Lou for SF president!

  • son of sam

    Socaire says at 12 44 pm
    “Sinn Fein is not my party”.——He had many of us fooled there!Could he be Alliance perhaps?!!

  • socaire

    or NI21?

  • socaire

    Eventually the LUP community will realise that Provisional Sinn Féin is not the be-all and end-all of Irish Republicanism. As the coolies say ‘Think outside the box’.

  • westprog

    The thread is quite enlightening as to why this isn’t going to impact on SF support. The typical response doesn’t even start to address the issue of whether the accusations have merit. They clearly don’t, because they cast SF in a bad light. Therefore the people making the accusations must have bad motives. They must therefore be bad people, “West Brits, Free Staters and journeymen tinkers” and their questions and criticism can be and should be and will be ignored.

    It’s simply not possible that SF did anything wrong. They were right to insist that no internal settlement would ever be accepted, and they were right to campaign in favour of an internal settlement, and they will be right in whatever future political accomodations they propose. If they ever issue a statement saying that they were wrong about the child abuse issue, they’ll be right about that and it will prove all the critics wrong.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Westprog

    Zigactly!

    You’ve summed it up wonderfully.

    The SF hive and its drones will be vindicated and anyone who has any objection or criticism to offer them must simply be ignored as a pointless hater.

    And a communist…