The Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams, TD, has been blaming others, again, for the failure to agree a comprehensive package on, among other issues, dealing with the past – in particular, a failure to agree on the holistic approach that could be said to characterise the mechanisms contained in the Haass proposals. But he had some interesting comments to make last weekend on a specific topic from the past elsewhere - [Not here? - Ed] No, there - that could help inform further discussion.
Here’s what Adams had to say about dealing with that particular historical issue
“For some commentators, the responsibility and blame for this is being laid at the door of society.
“I have been trying to understand this. In this version of events everybody is to blame and everybody is at fault.
“However, everybody is not to blame. The victims are not to blame. It is as if the virtual imprisonment of unmarried girls and women and the theft of their children were a natural outworking of Irish society in that period of our history.
“However, that is too simplistic a picture. It seeks benignly or inadvertently to excuse the decisions that were taken by the elites in the State and church.
“As Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin told the Dáil this week, this can be too easily twisted into a view that since everyone was to blame, nobody was to blame. That is not good enough. [added emphasis throughout]
Indeed. However, the version of events that Adams
tries to understand criticises there is precisely the same version of events that his party has sought to establish, more generally, here.
As the man himself said in the long-forgotten 2007 Sinn Féin Charter for Unionist Outreach
Sinn Féin recognises that all our people have suffered greatly. Much hurt exists within our society. I acknowledge that republicans have contributed to this hurt. We have all contributed to this hurt. [added emphasis]
And when everyone is to blame? [Nobody is! - Ed].
Of course, holding the elites to account for the decisions they took here would have to include holding to account the elites within paramilitary groups.
But, baby steps…