“Let’s not contemplate defeat..”

With the focus on the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis, the BBC NI’s Politics Show’s Kevin Sharkey reports on the party’s difficulties in connecting with voters there – it’s worth listening out for SF Councillor Killian Forde’s comments about that “hostile” media. Below the fold a “philosophical” Gerry Adams, the “longest serving Irish political leader on the island”, dismisses questions about his position and praises the DUP for “doing their best” in government the Northern Ireland administration. He also points to Mary Lou McDonald’s new role, “elected by the Ard Fheis”, but neglects to mention that she was the only candidate for the position of party vice-president. And on the potential for a future coalition with other parties, including Fianna Fáil – “The Ard Fheis will make the decision..” [As they did on policing? – Ed] Indeed. Also included is Martina Purdy’s report on a new “number one priority” on view at the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis. Here’s Kevin Sharkey’s report.

Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams on his, and his party’s, future.

And, despite what Gerry Adams told Jim Fitzpatrick in the interview above, Martina Purdy spots a new “number one priority” in the party speeches.

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  • I thought that Kevin Sharkey’s report started off very weak, but greatly improved at the end. It was interesting to see the lack of any movement since February 2003 for the Provos in the polls, and also to see Killian Forde refuse to blame the media alone, but not really have much to say beyond the initial soundbite about becoming part of the bigger conversation.

    I noted that both he and Mary-Lou referred to Ireland unconsciously when meaning the south, although it was noticeable the delegates all spoke in terms of the 6 and 26 counties. I thought the hall also looked a little empty for Mary Lou’s speech.

    Adams’ interview also unconsciously revealed a large part of the problems the leadership of which he is part have. When citing examples of parties who had faded away, he automatically reached for a northern example, before throwing the PDs in as an afterthought. While this northern mentality is dominant, it’s hard not to see an immediate disconnect with the experiences and concerns with many voters in the south. Compare that to say Labour, untrammelled by the north. Which has of course been part of Gilmore’s agenda for nearly two decades over three parties for precisely this reason.

    This whole golden circle thing is a con to avoid any proper analysis. Compare it, say, to publications by The WP on Tony O’Reilly and other aspects of the economy in the 1970s and 1980s. PSF needs to produce that level of detail, and I can’t understand how it has proven unable to do so, especially with the resources of the northern civil service available on some issues.

  • blinding

    Good to see Mary Lou McDonald being made vice-president. This will increase the partys profile in the 26.
    Now if she could retain the Euro seat or claim a seat in the Dáil then that would be a job well done.

  • How will making her VP raise the profile of the organisation in the south? It might say she is more important, but until there is a strong range of people from the south, it is widnow-dressing.

  • blinding


    Every journey begins with the first step

  • iluvni

    Why are the overwhelming majority of speeches at Sinn Fein’s Ard Fheis made in English?

  • JG

    The way Sharkey says the word ‘comrades’ with such distain brings a smile to my face.

    I think SF will continue to stagnate. I never understood the fuss about Mary Lou, she’s a poor speaker and doesn’t seem very bright. Killian Ford is much more impressive but they just don’t have enough like him. If SF can’t increase their support in the current climate then they really are in trouble.

  • JG


    Why wouldn’t they be?

  • veritas

    Again Garibadly gives us the tired official ira/workers party spew…

    I ask you again, why don`t you criticise and call for the drug dealing thugs of the workers party/official ira to disarm?

    Why are you selective in namimg groups associated with gun toting criminals….Provos/SF which you use frequently but when refering to the workers party you don`t term them as officials and never refer to the continued existence of a fully armed official ira?

    Are you a member of the WP?

  • Pete

    It seems that Gerry Adams actually believes that the DUP can be patronised when in actual fact they have walked rings around Sinn Fein in government.

    It seems that Gerry thinks that nobody would dare try to pull one over the eyes of the great aggressor and sumpreme colonel of violence, and therein lies his weakness.

    It seems too that he thinks that the SDLP is dead because John Hume is gone when the political awaits his removal as leader of Sinn Fein and the effective end of the party. What goes around, comes around, Gerry.

    This is not a man of politics but a man of heavy delusional views who simply does not see the realities that face his ever declining in popular confidence and support party.

    Sinn Fein is a one man band and the leader is bonkers. That is the effective truth.

  • dunreavynomore

    Killian forde’s refusal to follow the party line about S.F’s failure to advance in the 26 co’s being all the fault of the media is noteworthy but there are not enough realists like him in that party..F. is going nowhere fast and as someone from Sth Armagh I have to say that their efforts to dismiss out of hand the claims of people like the family of Paul Quinn are not helping them. Why do they feel they have to protect anyone from murder charges? How do they see such behaviour as helping them advance?

  • bendovenorfolk

    Watching the Gerry vid, and the elegant denial and obfuscation, there is a certain déjà vu ( no doubt due to media bias)

    Gerry, our Gerry, the man of peace, the laureate of hossanahs, speaks and presents like Gordon Jonah Brown…and on the cutaway shots looks like Nelson McCausland. There is the evidence of media bias. A bias which the leader has risen above. Truth has trampled upon death!!!

    Our blessed Gerry. Let us pray.
    Fight the fight and keep those honkeys right.
    For your inspiration to the oppressed;
    is exceeded only by your humility.

    The land is parched.
    The people march.

    Only you have a handle.

    When the sun does not shine,
    help us light the candle

    … and await the election returns

  • iluvni


    There was a wee moment in Adams’ interview today with Jim Fitzpatrick where he noted that the BBC’s show covering the Ard Fheis was called ‘The Conference’, and tried to make some point that the BBC show should be called ‘Ard Fheis’, given thats what Sinn fein’s conference is called.
    Given this dedication to the language, you’d have thought it crucial then that proceedings were conducted in Irish, and not the language of the oppressor, the hated Brits….or is tokenism good enough on this issue for Sinn Fein?

  • Gael gan Náire


    Approx. 20% of Gerry Adam’s speech was in Irish.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Approx. 20% of Gerry Adam’s speech was in Irish.

    I wonder if 20% of the audience were able to follow that part of it ?

  • iluvni

    Well we can have differing opinions as to whether 20% is tokenism or not.
    I must ask though, can someone tell me whether Adams’ is an enthusiastic trier or if he is indeed fluent in Irish.
    It all sounds tortured to me, choking on the words most of the time.

  • Pertinent

    The problem deepens, the piece shows a reluctant Forde not even sticking to the script on “media hostility” he talks of a bias towards the other parties. SFs problem is one of relevance. They have or had a fair smattering of decent reps locally who either left, retreated to their constituency or have been sidelined.

    They simply can’t afford a bad June election, but it looks increasinly likely they will have one.

  • Gerry Adams – do chreidte i dhá theanga….

    Unbelievable in two languages….

  • Conchuir O Fearain


    as a south armagh constituient, do you feel, SDLP or DUP, or UUP, woul represent you any better??

    not to mention that Sinn Fein have made many appeals for the murderer(s) of Paul Quinn to come foward. Although Mr. Quinn is being made out to be an angel, when anyone from South Armagh should no otherwise, don’t you think??

  • Danny O’Connor

    A SF election with only one candidate,even the anointing by the bearded one will not save her from another bloody nose from the electoate.

  • dunreavynomore

    C. O. F
    No, as a republican I don’t have faith politically in any of those parties but I would have more trust in their morals and I would not fear their ‘wings’and if I needed, say, a councillor’s help I would approach one of them rather than a shinner. Re Sinn Fein and Paul Quinn , you seem to retreating back to the line that ”
    Mr Quinn is made out to be an angel” although I think you will find it hard to come up with quotes to back that up, and, more importantly, who had the right to slaughter him, angel or not? The big question still remains, has Murphy given the names of those who gave him assurances of the IRA’s innocence to the Gardai? Another one for you to mull on is why the ‘republicans’ who have been arrested for questioning have all exercised their right to remain silent? Now, I know that is their right and a valuable right but for people who, as you say,have made appeals for others to come forward, to sit silent themselves tells its own story. Murdering thugs pretending to carry the republican banner.
    B.T.W. I have just heard that the Quinns have an interview in the Smithsonian Magazine’s March edition and wonder how Gerry likes that when he begins his vists to the ‘diaspora’. What will he tell the diaspora about Tom Slab and how that family made millions on the back of their ‘struggle’?

  • dunreavynomore

    Maybe you heard it before but the last time Gerry Adams went to the doctor with a wee niggly complaint he was told “take two diasporas and stay in bed.”