Adams is now saying he doesn’t expect a “quick response” from republican armed groups to his offer of this morning. Well, if he wanted a quick response he could have went to the Tower Hotel in Derry last night and he would have been given a spot on the platform, where he might not have been speaking to the leadership of armed groups but he would have been engaging with a lot of disillusioned republicans. (Ruairí Ó Brádaigh has issued a statement in response, included after the jump.)Further to Fair Deal’s earlier post regarding Adams’ offer to meeting with the leadership of the INLA, CIRA and RIRA. A number of people have noted it’s a rubbish offer, done for PR purposes alone. That very well may be; it does beg the question why Adams is not willing to share the platform himself with any of the independents at the Concerned Republicans’ meetings (or invite said independents to share the platform at the debates Sinn Fein are organising)…
So, Gerry Adams, in keeping with his need to conduct back-room, closed door deals, and his desire to demonise his opponents while appearing to be whiter than white himself, is offering to meet with the “leaderships of the INLA, CIRA and RIRA” and brief them on what he’s doing. Why doesn’t he accept a platform space at the public meetings being organised by Concerned Republicans, where he could reach a broad swathe of republicans, instead? Or invite some of the Concerned Republicans onto the platform at the Sinn Fein debates? Many of the people who are speaking at and attending these meetings were comrades of Adams, worked closely with him, or worked under his direction, and know him well. Is he unable to answer their concerns and questions publicly? Why not go onto Hearts and Minds, and debate the independents, where everyone could see, instead of sending someone like Ó Muilleoir to stand in for him? It seems he would prefer to meet in secret with a secret elite that, by nature of their roles in the named organisations, must remain secret, to talk secretly.
Meanwhile, Ruairí Ó Brádaigh has given Adams a clear answer in a statement released this afternoon:
‘Who is Mr Adams addressing?’
Statement By Republican Sinn Féin President Ruairí Ó Brádaigh
Who is Mr Adams’ addressing? Is it the people who have resigned recently from his party? For our part we are not dissidents.
Mr Adams knows well our core values. He knows that no reconciliation is possible. Republican Sinn Féin’s values were once his own, before he and the Provos decided to accept the institutions of British rule in Ireland. The discussions he proposes do not refer to us.
A little flavour of tonight’s Hearts & Minds debate:
“Sinn Fein know something is up and they are about to be hit with the political equivalent of a tsunami,” said Gerry McGeough last night at the debate in Derry. “The entire republican movement is a complete and absolute shambles. The British are more in control than ever. How have we ended up here? With an inept and bungling leadership. While we were suffering they were already engaging with the enemy o further their own political careers. Republicans are totally and utterly fed up. We don’t recognise any British police force here in Ireland. It is totally unacceptable. Sinn Fein has lost all moral right to represent the republican people of Ireland – they must and shall be replaced.”
“I’ll be happy to add my voice to those who argue that the only way forward for the republican cause is to get to the position where republicans control or at the very least have substantial influence over policing affairs,” wrote Máirtín Ó Muilleoir on his blog. “No doubt, there’ll be a lot of finger-pointing and lecturing from those who have branded the rest of us turncoats and sellouts but let’s be clear about this: I’ll take no finger-pointing or lectures from anyone on policing because as a nationalist citizen of the six counties, as a Sinn Féin councillor and as a Joe Soap, I’ve experienced the business end of collusion, torture and murder which passed for policing here. Gerry Adams was beaten unconcious by the RUC, Martin McGuinness was targeted by that force for murder. If both say it’s time to cross the policing Rubicon, count me in. We need a new start to policing in this part of the world just as we need a new start to governance. But it won’t be delivered fully formed, that’s why hard work and solid support for democrats who wish to transform a police force into an accountable police service is essential in the days ahead.”
7:30 on BBC2, 11:35 on BBC1
UPDATE: Dissident voices speak out, Ch4 News report by Carl Dinnen about last night’s meeting in Derry (video report available).