"Gerry Adams' Most Effective Opponent? Bertie Ahern"

So opines Chris Thornton, continuing a theme that has been lurking here, the possibility that Fianna Fail will open a Northern shopfront after the election is over.

Brian Feeney builds on that theme, says that since December, the Irish Government has said to Sinn Fein and the IRA, come back to us when decommissioning is done. Gerry Adams, beginning with his statement at the start of the campaign, has built the whole campaign – which is stepping up to fever pitch in the last days, with mini-manifestos aplenty sufficient to wallpaper every front hall in the North – around an answer to that challenge.

What do you think?

  • Alan McDonald

    I think that it has been made clear that words are useless, therefore there can be no “answer.” How Ahern will determine that the IRA has gone away will be interesting to see.

  • Circles

    Even more interesting will be how the unionist party (probabyl will only be one soon enough) wuill assess this.
    Bertie will no doubt do it whenever it is most politically expedient.

  • peteb

    One quick point, Richard, the Irish Government’s message was “come back to us when decommissioning is done and there’s an end to the IRA’s criminal activity”… IIRC.

    But Brian Feeney is right in that SF’s campaign is built around Gerry Adams’s initial statement.. or “bold initiative” as some would prefer everyone to call it.. the ‘mini-manifestos’ are little more than window-dressing.

  • DaithiO

    I think that Sinn Feins political opponents want them excluded for the same reason they attempt to criminalise them at every juncture.

    The reason ? Because to everyones amazement Sinn Fein are making a better fist at politics than them !

    There has to be more to policy than No, Not, Never, … ad infinitum !

    What do you think ?

  • Alan McDonald


  • spirit-level

    Yes DaithiO , the cracks in the DUP walls are starting to really show. They’ve done nowt to make a go of working things out….seige mentality… nothing to offer.. A coffin ship!
    The politics of DEATH.. whilst all around them, on both sides want to LIVE.. and turn on.

  • Alan McDonald

    Sorry, DaithiO, I just couldn’t resist that.

    I think that Ahern has been clear that the IRA has to go away. Is that the “No” you’re talking about? And is the No coming from the IRA?

    The RoI, UK and US positions seem to be the same on this. What part of go away is not understood?

  • Circles

    Actually ALan when they do “go” the more interesting question will be “what part of gone do you not understand?”
    How can this ever be proved? Will it be a case of “as long as anyone who wants a UI has a catapult at home there is an IRA”?
    They’ll become spooks to the unionists, and they’ll see them behind every door. And those delusions never go away

  • Alan McDonald


    Don’t tell any of the unionists here, but I don’t care what they think. I’m guessing that the RoI, UK and US governments already know what “proof” they will accept.

  • Vera

    That’s all fine, but (and I say this respect, and as a fellow American) they don’t care what we think either. Regardless of what the governments think (and I agree they will probably be reasonble), no deal can be done without the DUP. And they will never be convinced that the IRA have actually gone away. If there is any crime at all commited by “ordinary honest criminals” who happen to live in nationalist areas they will immediately start screaming “It was the IRA!” You can’t really prove a negative, even to someone who’s willing to listen to reason, and I’d never accuse Ian Paisley of being reasonable.

    I want the IRA gone as much as anyone. I think will be will better for Northern Nationalists and for Ireland in general. But I’m not naive enough to think that unionists will ever be willing to share power with Republicans, armed or not. There will always be an excuse.

  • Young Fogey

    Yeah, the Northern Bank robbers were just ordinary decent criminals who just happened to based in Poleglass.

    And Cardinal Ratzinger has just eloped with a black lesbian Muslim and announced Hans Küng as his successor.

  • harry

    “Yeah, the Northern Bank robbers were just ordinary decent criminals who just happened to based in Poleglass.”

    Want to try again?