Contrasting views of the Adams arrest for Irish Americans

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Jason Walsh grew up in the Upper Falls and witnessed as a child the horrors of the “Death on the Rock” events in Milltown cemetery. Here he presents a more authentic and reasoned assessment of recent days in the Christian Science Monitor than what the American audience is  used to.

 Gerry Adams says he was never a member of the IRA, let alone a member of its ruling army council. Few believe him, and he knows that few believe him, but the question only comes up in the context of other political disputes. Opponents, north and south of the border, scoring points against his growing party. After Adams was arrested, a mural was painted in Belfast hailing him a peacemaker and visionary, cueing much guffawing. It’s not so long ago that he was feted as such by the American, Irish and even British governments. He cuts a grubby figure today, but it is undeniable that he brought the IRA campaign to an end by convincing Irish republicans to support the Belfast Agreement and pursue their goal of Irish unification by the ballot box alone

Sinn Féin frequently equates opposition to its party, whether from commentators, political rivals or disgruntled ex-IRA members, with opposition to peace. In some cases, this is justified. There are plenty of people who opposed the peace process from day one, many on the basis that Sinn Féin were simply not to be tolerated at all.  But the accusation is mostly nonsense. Equating opposition to Sinn Féin with being opposed to peace is not only absurd, it smacks of desperation and an inability to deal with dissent. It also misreads the mood on the streets. Few in the republican heartland of west Belfast where I grew up would have been pleased to see Gerry Adams arrested, and a good proportion probably accept Sinn Féin’s claims of a conspiracy against it, but no one was going to go back to war over Adams’s arrest—or over anything else.

Tim Pat Coogan, fine former editor of the defunct de Valera -owned Irish Press, historian of the IRA and critical biographer of de Valera and Collins, is one of the most civil and civilised of men. His long form work is of high quality but he has always  entertained  the darkest suspicions of Britain and all its works and a particular loathing of unionism that today seems old fashioned. He gives house room to a conspiracy theory that extends from Ed Moloney to Downing St. His conclusion on the peace process differs.

Moloney and McIntyre have shed copious crocodile tears on radio and television over the fact that Boston College handed over the tapes of the interviews on which the book was based to the Six County authorities. The move to secure the tapes was both inevitable and entirely predictable.

But before there was any question of court proceedings being taken to enforce the tapes hand-over, the Moloney/McIntyre book, based on the words of a dead man, constituted a journalistic hand grenade hurled into contemporary Six County politics.

The black ops swoop on Adams was part of a larger scene – probably masterminded by Belfast and London securocrats – and it has heightened tensions. The depressing scene needs to be alleviated by the addition of some counter-balancing figures from the Irish American world.

The peace process is in trouble.

 

 

 

 

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  • megatron

    Everyone is lying which makes this hard. GA saying he was never in the IRA is obviously a lie but a neccessary one. The government(s) saying they had nothing to do with his arrest is obviously a lie but a neccessary one.

    I honestly dont have a view anymore on the motives of the governments. SF’s participation in southern elections (understandably) complicates the Irish govs position. It also understandably causes SF to be suspicious.

    British gov probably not too keen on SF being successful either. We’ll find out in 30 years I suppose.

    I do agree with Jason Walsh that SF should have avoided crying wolf too loudly. Looked a mixture of silly and threatening – neither a positive look for them at the moment.

  • westprog

    I’m surprised that Coogan didn’t include the faking of the moon landings and fluoridation.

    One might think that a journalist would be a little more careful about accusing other journalists of working for sinister interests – especially with Tim Pat’s background.

  • Tochais Síoraí

    Walsh’s piece is pretty much on the money.

    More importantly though, in the history of Slugger, has there ever been a more spectacular typo?

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    that’s some Freudian slip on Tim Pat Coogan

  • Charles_Gould

    Typo alert: I think there should be a comma after Press.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “. His long form work is of high quality but he has always entertained the darkest suspicions of Britain and all its works and a particular loathing of unionism that today seems old fashioned”

    High quality MOPEry.

    He is the arch-peddler of the ‘mighty-celtic-warriors/oppressed wretches’ paradox.

  • cynic2

    Aye its the securocrats what done it …those securocrats who shaped and moulded SF for the last 30 years carefully crafting and nudging it into the shape and direction to deliver their policy.

    Adams, McGuinness and their ilk, if they but realised it, are their finest creations and to be nurtured, not destroyed

  • cynic2

    “a particular loathing of unionism that today seems old fashioned”

    Where does loathing stop and racism start?

  • Morpheus

    “The black ops swoop on Adams was part of a larger scene”

    How can walking into a pre-determined police station for a pre-arranged appointment possibly be described as a ‘black op’?

    I honestly think that mountains are being made out of molehills in this whole saga…again. Gerry Adams had questions to answer, he went and answered them. The PSNI had to ask Gerry Adams some questions, they arrested him asked them. He was released without charge and the DPP will decide if there is enough evidence to prosecute – my gues is that they won’t if no evidence was produced during questioning. But that’s it, end of story.

    SF can moan about political policing around election time all they want but the PSNI decide when questioning regarding a murder should take place, not an election schedule. They can moan all they want about dark forces in the PSNI but all I can say is, if they exist, do something about it so public support for the police is maintained.

    ‘The latest installment of ‘Get Gerry’ is done and dusted for now and like Jason says “no one was going to go back to war over it”, can we discuss something more interesting instead?

  • Niccolo

    cynic2,

    I agree and to quote the late Brendan Hughes from 2001, “The sad thing about all this is that the British set this up. This is the British answer to the Republican problem in Ireland. It’s a British solution, it’s not an Irish solution. It’s not a solution that we have control of.”

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

    “The depressing scene needs to be alleviated by the addition of some counter-balancing figures from the Irish American world.”

    I have no idea to what he is referring to here. My impression is that Irish politicians have no more respect for Irish-Americans than Israeli politicians have for Jewish-Americans: they are regarded as a source of cash and a destination for discredited politicians to go on tour.

    I own or have read several of Coogan’s historical books, which I find to be useful as long as he is discussing things purely Irish. But once the British come in his prejudices come out.

  • babyface finlayson

    Morpheus
    “How can walking into a pre-determined police station for a pre-arranged appointment possibly be described as a ‘black op’?”
    Or indeed a swoop!

  • http://dreamingarm.wordpress.com CW

    Yawn…………. over a week later and yet another bloody Adams post.

    Does no-one on this blog have anything interesting to talk about? A major international bike race started in Belfast today, the first of its kind in NI, yet nobody has a word to say about it.

  • babyface finlayson

    CW
    A bike race? How would we get a good argument from that?

  • http://dreamingarm.wordpress.com CW

    A good argument, BF? A discussion on who’s going to be wearing the pink jersey in Rome in a few weeks time would be a good start. After all, pinkness, riding, things going round in circles and all things Roman have been the subject of many a lively debate on this site.

  • wild turkey

    ‘Where does loathing stop and racism start?’

    ah, possibly about 3 nanoseconds after a SF minister sits in a coalition gov’t . But it will be presented as ‘an ireland of equals’

    ever read the diaries of Victor Klemperer?

    “To me the Zionists, who want to go back to the Jewish state of A.D. 70 (destruction of Jerusalem by Titus) are just as offensive as the Nazis. With their nosing after blood, their ancient “cultural roots,” their partly canting, partly obtuse winding back of the world they are altogether a match for the National Socialists. That is the fantastic thing about the National Socialists, that they simultaneously share in a community of ideas with Soviet Russia and with Zion.”

    ― Victor Klemperer, I Will Bear Witness: A Diary of the Nazi Years, 1933-1941

  • Dixie Elliott

    Did Gerry ‘tout’ on Ivor Bell?

    “Will Gerry Adams appear as a witness against Ivor Bell in his trial on charges of aiding and abetting the murder of Jean McConville?

    That is the question that leaps out of a statement issued by Mr Adams yesterday that was critical of Boston College’s Belfast Oral History Project but in the process also apparently identified Ivor Bell as the mysterious interviewee known only as ‘Z’.

    In the statement Adams says that Anthony McIntyre’s “interview with Ivor Bell”, along with other interviews with the late Brendan Hughes and Dolours Price, “formed the mainstay of my arrest last week.” Since Bell has not admitted to being ‘Z’ and the PSNI concede they must still positively identify this person, Adams’ statement could be of invaluable assistance to the prosecution.

    More here…

    http://thepensivequill.am/2014/05/did-gerry-adams-felon-set-ivor-bell-to.html

  • babyface finlayson

    CW
    Well I see the boys on black mountain have put out a nice message for the race anyway.
    ‘Fine Dominio Brittanico’
    My latin is a bit rusty but I’m pretty sure it means;
    ‘British rule is fine’ which is nice of them.
    At least it wasn’t ‘Romanes eunt domus’

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Tmitch

    “I have no idea to what he is referring to here. My impression is that Irish politicians have no more respect for Irish-Americans than Israeli politicians have for Jewish-Americans: they are regarded as a source of cash and a destination for discredited politicians to go on tour.

    I own or have read several of Coogan’s historical books, which I find to be useful as long as he is discussing things purely Irish. But once the British come in his prejudices come out.”

    From what I recall of TPC’s books, he alludes to the idea of the ‘Irish Americans’ (as in the non-Protestant variety) forming a large and powerful bloc and that this powerful bloc can be used to beat Britain on occasion.

    I have no idea how strong or weak such a lobby may be but it’s what I remember from his books.

    That and tremendous bias…

    ——————————————–

    And as for his ‘black Ops comment’, well, Morpheus words it nicely:

    “How can walking into a pre-determined police station for a pre-arranged appointment possibly be described as a ‘black op’?”

  • Dixie Elliott

    “Don’t Cry for Me Our Martina…”

    “Bik thats brilliant!”

    “Thanks Gerry.”

    “Na h-abhair é mo chara.”

    “I thought it up myself Gerry.”

    “You didn’t consult me beforehand?”

    “Well no Gerry I thought I’ll write a song about you being interned for 4 days with only canteen sandwiches and a solicitor to get them. and being as you were inside Antrim PSNI station I thought it would be OK.”

    “You don’t do anything without asking me to ask them eejits what I think beforehand, isn’t that right Big Bob?”

    “T’is right Gerry.”

    “Y’see Bik….Big Bob doesn’t think for himself, he thinks what I tell him to think, isn’t that right Bob?”

    “T’is right Gerry.”

    “Then Bob why ‘n fuck did you make an Ian Paisley out of yourself you fucking eejit, while I was naked except for a change of clothes and hungry for a michelin star restaurant and the peace process about to lose money?”

    “Sorry Gerry I’ll beat my head of the wall until I black out.”

  • ArdoyneUnionist
  • Morpheus

    For goodness sake, how many times? Have you not seen A Few Good Men? The judiciary don’t give a crap about what the ‘dogs in the streets’ know, they are only concerned with what they can prove.

    This fake concern for The McConvilles is nauseating – watch how they are dropped like a hot potato next week when the realization sets in that they are of no further use to those who pretend to care about them but really only care about Gerry Adams. The McConvilles will be left to pick up the pieces again after the most recent ‘use and abuse’ session.

  • Kevsterino

    I disagree with Coogan’s assertion the the peace process is in trouble, or at least any more trouble than it has been in for years.

    It has stagnated. That is obvious. But in trouble? There is zero chance of it becoming like 1972 all over again.

    Flags? Nobody in their right mind is going to kill someone over how many days a Union Jack flies over city hall. Parades? Until some other regime is agreed by the parties, the Parades Commission will simply keep trudging along with occasional controversy popping up now and then. And people are going to differ on their impression of the past. Perhaps for their entire lives.

    So, Northern Ireland will remain under the jurisdiction of HMG, but in a way that is unique within the United Kingdom. People there can be as Irish, British or Northern Irish as they themselves see fit. Dublin now has a role to play in that scheme and the Dublin/London axis will be nourished and grow stronger as time goes by. Particularly since the folks sent to Stormont are so ineffective when it comes to running the place.

    If Sinn Fein can manage to become a coalition partner in Dublin, then the situation is fundamentally changed. At that point, there could be Sinn Fein ministers on both sides of the table in those ‘Cross-border Bodies’ or whatever you call them.

    Recent events seem to point to the fear in Dublin and London of that coming to pass. I can understand that.

  • between the bridges

    It’s hard to disagree with Tim Pat’s analysis, however he left out the bit about the Boston project being a CIA sting…

  • Dixie Elliott

    Anyone believing that the so called peace process is in trouble has to be stupid enough to believe that the shinners would go back to war.

    The thought of frozen bank accounts alone would hit that thought on the head.

    So how is the so called peace process in trouble I wonder?

    I think if anything this nonsense is nothing more than pre-election scare-mongering….Vote for us or we could end up having to go through it all again!

    Believe you me there are plenty of people out there gullible enough to believe it.

  • GEF

    Looks like SF have dismissed them already Morpheus

    “Sinn Fein dismiss me now. They refuse to meet with me. But nobody can tell me to shut up about my mother.
    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/regional/jean-mcconville-s-daughter-shattered-but-will-take-civil-action-against-gerry-adams-1-6051355

  • Politico68

    Americans are so used to election campaigns decsending into a dirty war that the average Sam can spot political foul play a mile away, or in this case four thousand miles away. Of course thru patronizing the gullible Americans, clearly too stupid to see ‘our’ truth we fail to allow ourselves to accept that maybe the outsiders are more accurate looking from afar. This of course does not suit the manipulators at home who just need enuff of the public to believe the guff, and how dare those intellectually inferior American observers attemp to interfere with our upside down due process, upsetting the process of infecting our political landscape so the establishment and their media gimps can have a clear run at tricking the Irish into maintain the elite status quo. As my own professor here in UCSC said ‘ you guys are getting dirtier than us’. Mick of course pulls Walsh out of obscurity to assist in programme of deceit. For Sure, Walsh is quite correct, not everybody who is against SF are anti peace process. He acknowledges the wreckers out there, of which there are plenty. But, and this is where is credibility melts; never has SF claimed that people who oppose them on political matters are anti process. Quite the opposite, the party invites and welcomes criticism on issues such as policy, economic ideology, social policy, foreign affairs, the EU etc. Etc. For Walsh to suggest otherwise is disengenous and factually incorrect.

  • sitarman

    IrishCentral.com went overboard on this with their usual messianic Adams worship, all for a ‘crisis’ based on little more than paranoia. Coogan & O’Dowd were whipping up the faithful state-side with headlines such as ‘Adams arrest a wake-up call for Irish America’ & ‘One again Ireland needs America’s help!’. One gets the feeling that many in Irish-America are just busting to get back to raising money & sending guns for old Ireland.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Kevsterino:

    Flags? Nobody in their right mind is going to kill someone over how many days a Union Jack flies over city hall.

    I am not sure that unionism or loyalism has properly come to terms with life as a minority. It is hard to predict how they will react when it properly dawns on them.

    A loyalist armed campaign could do nothing other than harm, not only to civilians but to their own cause (whatever it is). But there are some who would be stupid enough to try it anyway.

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

    “There is zero chance of it becoming like 1972 all over again.”

    @Kevsterino,

    Yes, but what about the chance of violence at the levels of 1968-1970 or 1995-2001? During these periods at least a handful of people every year died in political violence not to mention the 29 killed at Omagh in 1998.

    “Nobody in their right mind is going to kill someone over how many days a Union Jack flies over city hall.”

    There are plenty of people in NI who aren’t in their right minds. Look at all the people who killed to change which flag would fly over the city hall or to keep it from changing.

  • Kevsterino

    No, t, the issues are simply not on a par with what was at stake in the ante-GFA era.

    I think some folks actually miss those days and now lurch from one faux crisis to the next as a ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ (apologies to James Dean)

  • Kevsterino

    Comrade, an armed loyalist campaign would not have enough support in the community to sustain it like in the old days, at least not as far as I can see. There are some out there willing to get violent about flags, parade routes and I guess the price of Buckfast, but not enough to make the mayhem of the bad old days.

  • Seamuscamp

    Kev

    I’m not sure how much support / how many individuals need be involved to get the conflagration alight. The 1956 IRA/Saor Uladh Boder Campaign had virtually no support in Belfast but inept reaction by the State (internment, banning songs, keeping Gaelic sport off the BBC, declaring hurleys would be regarded as weapons under the Special Powers Act etc) did its best to keep the flame alive. I don’t think the initial idea (by either side) was to provoke a war resulting in the death of thousands and the injury of thousands more. History is full of drift and blunder.

    BF

    Yes your Latin is rusty – or worse.

    Cynic

    ““a particular loathing of unionism that today seems old fashioned”
    Where does loathing stop and racism start?”

    Surely you are not claiming that Unionists are a race? And it’s not merely semantics to point out that “loathing of unionism” is not the same thing as “loathing of unionists”. The latter is clearly sectarian; the former is common sense.

  • Kevsterino

    Seamus, I agree regarding the drift and blunder, particularly the blunder bit. I would recommend not going down the curfew/internment/diplock route this time around.

    If people can’t restrain themselves from violating the peace of their neighbors, lock them up using the same laws as apply to any other crime. I think, though, that our Comrade has a valid point, though, regarding how unionists will react when they realize the old majority is a thing of the past. As Northern Ireland becomes incrementally more Irish, it might blow their minds.