“the best judge of how I address that community..”

Brian’s already noted some of Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams, MP, MLA, statements on the Today programme. But the Guardian’s Andrew Sparrow adds Adams’ response to criticism of Sinn Féin’s clinical, belated, response to the weekend murders. Apparently, “The Sinn Féin statement was totally and absolutely unprecedented” [Historic, even.. – Ed].

“We have been very successful at how we have brought the broad republican community to where we are. I have to be the best judge of how I address that community.”

[Gerry knows best? – Ed] Indeed. Although there are alternative views..
Adds As I mentioned in the comments zone to the linked post above

Odd use of “deliberately” in the sign-off question in Eamon’s otherwise very good analysis.

The obvious answer to the question posed is that the Special Reconnaissance Regiment were requested by Orde because he needed their specialist counter-terrorism knowledge since his own police service has been reduced in its own capability.

And he didn’t tell the Policing Board because he either didn’t trust them not to leak that information and/or he knew that if that information was made public it would undermine Sinn Féin’s efforts to portray those other republican paramilitary groups as criminal.

He’s canny, politically, like that.

And from what we can tell, if Vincent Kearney hadn’t reported it, no-one would have known about it.

That Sinn Fein want to portray those other republican groups as criminal, in order to justify their opposition to them, is merely another attempt at revisionism on their part.

Not to mention part of an ongoing battle for control..

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  • alan

    Just a pity that SF have to be so staid and machine like in their response. It lacks sincerity when you hear one spokesperson after another say ‘It was wrong and counter-productive’. Sounds like they are talking about a chess move not the loss of human life……now that’s a thought.

  • kensei

    I have to be the best judge of how I address that community.”

    Just wondering Pete – who would you suggest knows better than Gerry Adams how Gerry Adams should address anyone?

  • 6 County Prod

    Although using similar wording, Marty comes across as a lot more sincere than Adams does. As usual, it is excruciatingly nauseating to listen to Adams’ anti-British vitriol.

  • CIRA/RIRA/PIRA/SINN FEIN

    It doesn’t take a genius to work out which political party will get concessions from this cowardly attack on our forces. Every time the Shinners’ whims are not met, the so-called dissidents step up their murdering campaign.

    Is this the type of ‘normality’ we have to live with, until everyone on this island pledges allegiance to a 32 county socialist Republic?

  • kensei

    6CP

    Although using similar wording, Marty comes across as a lot more sincere than Adams does. As usual, it is excruciatingly nauseating to listen to Adams’ anti-British vitriol.

    What the MMG that was considered the hardliner a decade ago, the MMG that was presented as a bogeyman when he was going to run education? How times have changed.

    This is difficult for SF. It is also worth pointing out that if SF were anythign other than clinical, Pete would be the first to produce some encylopedic list of quotes from the Troubles.

  • Henry94

    Adams is right. There was a tone to be struck and he did it.

    This is ultimately a challenge to the Sinn Fein leadership of the republican community. The stakes are higher for Adams and he has a greater responsibility in the situation than any other leader.

    No other leader has to worry about overdoing it. Adams does and people should have enough cop-on to understand his situation.

    Gerry Fitt danced to the tune people are whistling now and damn the bit of good it did anybody.

  • Henry,

    Getting the tone right now, ie after the fact, is also a bit of shutting the door after the horse has bolted though… Criminals before; patriots now?

    The mains differences now are that: two men are dead with others fighting for their lives; and this whole business of what politican dissent amongst Irish Republicans constitutes is now being conducted rather more in the open than it was heretofore.

  • Henry94

    Mick

    ?? If his statement came out before the attack it would have been very strange indeed.

    Criminals before; patriots now?

    If that’s a straightforward question for your target audience then you don’t have a problem.

  • I don’t really see how this is difficult for the Provos. We know they don’t like the Real IRA, as shooting one of their members in Belfast some years ago demonstrated. We know they are opposed to their violence. We know that the Provos have condemned previous attacks, and have condemned this one too. The fact that the victims were British soldiers has not changed the condemnation. This seems like a storm in a teacup to me.

  • Henry94

    Garibaldy

    I think it’s more an issue for people who want Adams to express their feelings but who wouldn’t vote for him in a million years.

  • “Is this the type of ‘normality’ we have to live with, until everyone on this island pledges allegiance to a 32 county socialist Republic?”

    The sad answer to your question is yes, although it might not be a socialist republic. Whilst Britain holds a part of Ireland by force of arms, there will be Irish people who will oppose them with arms, as they find the current arrangement unbearable. This is a fact and we can stamp our feet as much as we like but it will not make it any less so.

    You cannot wipe away 700 hundred years of history because a British prime minister persuaded a man like Gerry Adams to recognize the writ of British rule in the six counties. Others think differently and will continue to do so.

    If SF, the unionists and the British government had brought about changes which would prove there is the possibility of a united Ireland by peaceful means, SF would have had a powerful argument to use against those who give armed republican groups support.

    Not only has this not occurred, cross border arrangements between the two Irish jurisdictions appear to be all but dead in the water, by building a fall back headquarters in the North, MI5 is sending out a message we are here for good; and the British army special forces are once again active on the ground. This alone is a massive betrayal by the UK government of SF and those who voted for them, many of whom have suffered in the past at the hands of these outfits.

    For the peace process to have worked it needed to bring about a continuos process of change which made life on the ground better for both nationalists and Unionists. It also needed to increase at all levels contacts between the North and south.

    In reality what we have had has been years of stonewalling, anything that would have bettered the lives of the people in the north and further integrate the North and the South has become bogged down, often in the most petty manner.

    As to the British State, with the financing of the massive MI5 building they have proved once again to be a dishonest broker, as their aim is clearly not to reintegrate the six counties into the southern state, but make the North as British as Finchley.

    It all makes your heart weep.

  • Henry94

    Mick

    I agree with you that delivery has been slow and disappointing. But that has nothing to do with the reasons for the shooting.

    There are no decisions that could come out of the Executive that would make the people behind this shooting change their minds. They are outside democratic politics (as understood by the vast majority of nationalists)

    The problem with the Assembly is the DUP. Their agenda is entirely negative. That’s their mandate of course. Nationalists need to knock them of their perch by winning more votes and getting out more votes.

    Dull workaday political grunt-work is what we need to put unity on the agenda.

    You might not think that will lead to a united Ireland. But the rira have to explain how shooting a pizzaman will. I doubt they can.

    It’s not sufficient to say people have always taken up arms and always will. We are entitled to a view on the sense of doing so today.

  • Tory

    Quote: “Whilst Britain holds a part of Ireland by force of arms, there will be Irish people who will oppose them with arms, as they find the current arrangement unbearable.”

    Wrong from the very start. Britain does not hold part of Ireland by force of arms, but by the democratic wish of the people there. It really is amazing that you still refuse to recognise this blatantly obvious fact. Once it is recognised, the rest of your rant crumbles to dust.

  • Hatred is the obvious driver for these individuals…

  • cynic

    Actually some of the points here are very valid.McGuinness was excellent on Hearts and Minds. He seemed honest and sincere and struck the right tone. The open statemnt of ‘I was a commander in the IRA’ was refreshing compared to the weasly lies or evasions of others’.

    Adams on the other hand has been wooden and given the impression of a machine politician coldly calculating every syllable to wring maximum advantage out of it.

    That approach is very damaging to process, his party and to his own credibility. More and more, as time goes on, Adams seems too rooted in the past, unable to cope with changing circumstances and with the political demands of a different era. The arrogance of ‘I have to be the best judge …..’ is a prime example.

    An increasing hindernace to the process and a millstone to the party, perhaps it now time to borrow another phrase from the past Gerry, “Time to go”?

  • cynic

    MI5 is sending out a message we are here for good

    No Mick they are here until we collectively vote otherwise…which is much the same thing but democratically different. Its also what we collectively voted for

  • percy

    What I think Mick and Peteb have failed to pick up on is the need for Adams to “shepherd” republicans through another difficult time in the peace process, and keep people on board.
    Which is what he’s doing.

    Henry94 has a much better grasp.

  • daisy

    “For the peace process to have worked it needed to bring about a continuos process of change which made life on the ground better for both nationalists and Unionists.”

    For the vast majority, it has done just that. Since the shootings, the one thing I’ve heard over and over again is that people don’t want to go back to how it was. That in itself is a sign of a fundamental shift.

  • percy

    correct daisy
    some here actually “live” these events, others are but intellectuals and find themselves commenting, writing, composing but not really “understanding”.

  • Claudius Pulcher

    Is Pete your real name or is it Paul?

  • I don’t agree there is much shepherding necessary at all. I think that the vast majority of supporters of Adams feel no ambiguity about this incident at all, being opposed to it. Still, such a line allows Gerry to look important again. These murders are no threat to the process as a whole.

  • Neil

    There are no decisions that could come out of the Executive that would make the people behind this shooting change their minds. They are outside democratic politics (as understood by the vast majority of nationalists).

    The people in the executive had their minds changed. The people who are out to kill soldiers may not be as politically sophisticated as SF, but they are simply a continuance of the armed struggle. They are the ones who have continued, who’s minds have not changed. In this way they are at least not hypocritical.

    The idea that Adams statement ‘…best judge of how I address this community’, as Kensei points out, who else is supposed to know better than Adams how he should address anyone? Is there someone other than PeteB who knows how Pete should communicate with someone? Obviously not.

    Also, having seen Marty ‘I refuse them the right to do this’ (i.e. kill), I have to say that Adams sounds reasonable by comparison. Are there no Unionists who ‘refused’ Marty the right to kill? What fucking difference did it make?

    My own opinion as a Republican is that while I will always hope to live to see the day where Ireland is unified, I couldn’t justify the death of a single father/brother/son. However I feel that the Sinners are hypocritical in the extreme, while I have no pride, support or fondness for RIRA that is the one thing they are not.

  • Dave

    [i]Sinn Féin took 14 hours to issue a response to the killing of two soldiers at Massereene barracks on Saturday night. The party said that the attack was “wrong and counter-productive” and that, because Sinn Féin had a “responsibility to be consistent”, therefore “the logic of this is that we support the police in the apprehension of those involved”.[/i]

    That’s quite a push for Gerry, and I suspect that it’s a lot further than he wanted to be pushed by his handlers at this point. At any rate, he has now been forced into saying that attacks on British military targets are also criminal acts and it is also okay for republicans to act as informers about these acts against the State just as it was deemed okay by the Shinners to inform on the dissidents when their actions were deemed purely common criminality. So, much like Slab Murphy, the good republican who wasn’t a criminal, the Shinners are conceding that even their own attacks on military targets were simply criminal acts after all, and a good republican is a good criminal.

    Incidentally, the SDLP had a line in Stormont today to the effect that the presence of the British army in Ireland wasn’t an affront to the Irish people but that the murder of the two soldiers was. It’s true that the murders were repugnant, and that that repugnantly is being cleverly used to justify the first part of that sentence. It seems the SDLP are also being pushed to endorse the presence of the British army (reversing their earlier outcry), deeming it wholly legitimate.

    It may be legitimate in Northern Ireland, of course, because they have all agreed that Northern Ireland is legitimately under British sovereignty (and there is “no going back” on that), but I wish these puppets would confine their propaganda to Northern Ireland rather than extend it into the Republic by using the unqualified ‘Ireland.’

  • michael

    Dave

    ‘It may be legitimate in Northern Ireland, of course, because they have all agreed that Northern Ireland is legitimately under British sovereignty (and there is “no going back” on that), but I wish these puppets would confine their propaganda to Northern Ireland rather than extend it into the Republic by using the unqualified ‘Ireland.’

    Have not the people of the ROI also agreed to the legitimate existence of Northern Ireland under British Sovereignty. I seem to remember a referendum regarding articles 2 & 3 of Bunreacht na hÉireann.

    Just a thought.

  • Henry94

    Nei;

    The people in the executive had their minds changed. The people who are out to kill soldiers may not be as politically sophisticated as SF, but they are simply a continuance of the armed struggle. They are the ones who have continued, who’s minds have not changed. In this way they are at least not hypocritical.

    There has to be more to a strategy than consistency. “This is the way we have always done it” is never a justification to continue doing it. Not when people are paying with their lives for the integrity of the principle.

    Can an armed struggle be justified today, is the question.

    Is the oppression serious enough and the state inflexible enough?

    Is there a chance of success?

    Is their popular support or the prospect of it?

    I don’t see a yes for any of those questions. To be quite honest I haven’t even seen an argument advanced by any of the dissidents that even addressed them.

  • confused.ie

    While watching RTE news report the awful shootings at the weekend, on comes this clown stating he doesn’t want ‘this country’ (presumably the South) to revert back to the bad old days of the troubles.

    Do all Irish people in the Republic seem to think the troubles took place in their country?

  • dub

    Hanry,

    Its not just a question of delivery being slow. The question is delivery of what. Adams in his statement said that the end point of the process is a UI. but are the British on board for that?

    My own understanding is that the British promised to “withdraw” from Ireland politically in the sense that they would in no way seek to influence the outcome of all party talks and would also stay out of the politics of any subsequent administration(s). Their sovereignty would persist in a neutral absentee landlord type of way until a majority in the six county area dictated otherwise. what they agreed to in terms of military “withdrawal” is not so clear.. presumably maintain a token military confined to barracks presence whilst their sovereignty endured, leaving all actual local security in the hands of the locally controlled forces.

    The problems with this are:

    1: the return of special forces in a security counter insurgency role.

    2: the role of Mi5 and their building in Holywood.

    3: The entry of the British Tory party into local politics and their noises about getting rid of power sharing.

    These indicate to me British bad faith and a rowing back on their promise to “withdraw”.

    The signifiance of this attack politically is that it puts the British back into the picture when they themselves are breaching their own agreement to be out of the picture.

    Therefore this is a very difficult and dangerous moment.

  • Dave

    “My own opinion as a Republican is that while I will always hope to live to see the day where Ireland is unified, I couldn’t justify the death of a single father/brother/son.”

    Well, you know, you could say the same about the converse of unionism or British rule. The difference is that that propaganda has been put out there to target militant republicanism and endorsed by a lot of well-regarded folks, e.g. Austin Curry’s “A united Ireland isn’t worth the loss of a single life.” Utter tosh, of course, since all nations form armies for the specific purpose of defending their territorial integrity. If you followed that logic, you’d ban cars, make war illegal, and demand to pay more tax so that folks don’t die hospital waiting lists.

    “Have not the people of the ROI also agreed to the legitimate existence of Northern Ireland under British Sovereignty. I seem to remember a referendum regarding articles 2 & 3 of Bunreacht na hÉireann.”

    They have, and they were only too glad to be well rid of the bloody place.

  • dub

    They have, and they were only too glad to be well rid of the bloody place.

    Dave, it is atatements such as this and countless others of the same ilk which nullify completely all your republican rhetoric. Which is a shame as much of what you say would otherwise be interesting and valuable.

  • Dub,

    you can look up the security chapter of the GFA to see what the UK government promised in regard to that. Here are what seem to m to be the important bits to me

    “2. The British Government will make progress towards the objective of as early a return as possible to normal security arrangements in Northern Ireland, consistent with the level of threat and with a published overall strategy, dealing with:

    (i) the reduction of the numbers and role of the Armed Forces deployed in Northern Ireland to levels compatible with a normal peaceful society;

    (ii) the removal of security installations;

    (iii) the removal of emergency powers in Northern Ireland; and

    (iv) other measures appropriate to and compatible with a normal peaceful society.

    3. The Secretary of State will consult regularly on progress, and the response to any continuing paramilitary activity, with the Irish Government and the political parties, as appropriate.”

    The consistent to the level of threat bit is the key part here.

    The transfer of anti-terrorism to MI5 was agreed to by the main parties – i.e. the DUP and the Provos. The Tories have been involved in local politics since the early 1990s or thereabouts, so nothing new there. And how can you hold the Labour government responsible for the Tories’ electoral pact? And where was this promise to withdraw? It seems to me you are interpreting the GFA and subsequent arragements in a way to suit yourself as opposed to what was actually agreed.

  • Neil

    The difference is that that propaganda has been put out there to target militant republicanism and endorsed by a lot of well-regarded folks

    No mate it’s not that. It’s the tears of a young boy for his dead father, specifically. Doesn’t sit well with me, being as how I have a couple of boys myself.

  • percy

    dub, they always show their slip at the end.( the tell)
    Arse-elbow 😉

  • Tory

    Quote: “These indicate to me British bad faith and a rowing back on their promise to “withdraw”.”

    No such promise has ever existed.

  • alan

    Garibaldy is absolutely right.
    The promise of the GFA was designed to reflect what would happen in a peaceful situation and obviously any governemnt in the world would always reserve the right to react ‘consistent with the level of threat’. You may not agree with this or like it but it is quite wrong to pretend that there is any bad faith here. Some people may well regard the GFA as a sell out but it is wholly disingenuous to suggest that there is bad faith in the terms expressed by Dave.

  • Gregory

    “the republican community”

    We have one of those do we? I am not so sure we do, in the sense we once did.

  • Gregory

    “Britain does not hold part of Ireland by force of arms, but by the democratic wish of the people there”

    That is your theory of democracy, which was not widely shared (in Ireland) at the time the state came into being.

    I don’t really see a valid referendum, since that time as a United Ireland via a straight vote, had been excluded as a possibility.

    I’m a west Briton, not a republican,

    there is no point kidding ourselves, that what we had ‘was a leveraged fix’ rather than a free go at authentic self-determination.

    So there you go, there is no point lying to them, if we first have to lie to ourselves, because that’s very silly.

  • dub

    Garibaldy,

    You should read up on the peace process.. try ed moloney’s books.

    You are right that the Labour govt are not responsible for what the tories do but the tories are tearing up the promises surrnouding the gfa. the new concept of british withdrawl that the provos bought into was not physical withdrawal of the british state in ireland but the handover of all power to people in ireland and the facilitation of whatever arrangements they came up with, with no outside interference. remember the downing street declaration?

    the tories are now interfering, promising to end power sharing and their local allies are now saying p and j should not be devolved.

    a major crisis is building here, gari, and you dont see it. i do however and i find it very frightening.

  • Spades a Spade

    Surely its time for the leaders of spin fein to call it a day. Especially those with so much courage and vision (which we now know wasn’t theirs but the brits)
    I for one would like to nominate Dave for the top job as he has said plain and simple what most republicans now feel.
    The leadership of republicanism was hijacked by impostors who are guilty through their british shared participation in the long drawn out dismantling of the very aspiration of freedom.
    We hear anyone who dares have a republican view that differs from gerrys are criminals without mandate, So lets have an election gerry (I don’t think so).
    Gerry’s been found out as republicans now see how he and others done it.
    For the last number of years spin fein have in conjunction with the dup rounded on anything the SDLP (a party with nationalist interests) have had a hand in.
    How could they expect any nationalist to compare the total numbskull performance of Ruanne against Ritchie who has been at the receiving end of spin fein abuse at every opportunity.
    Reality on the street is plain to be seen. The leadership have lied their way through at least 2 decades at the cost of the volunteer of whom we would like to know (how many were set up by their own leadership whilst working to a secret agenda) and do they still believe republicans will be silenced before getting to the bottom of who colluded with who.
    Gerry’s hiding places are quickly running out and without the old media rebuttal of
    (I can’t answer that you’d need to ask them) sooner or later people will stop him in his tracks until the truth comes out.

  • Dub,

    I’ve read Moloney’s books. What’s your point? Which argument of his are you referring to? Because his most famous one is that Adams over several decades manipulated and misled his people with superhuman perspicacity to achieve what was a sellout, aided by informers, including one very close to him. How does that support your argument that the British bought into withdrawal?

    The Provos – and everybody else – bought into a reformed NI with devolution of power within certain limits. They also bought into the idea that the future of the union would be decided by the votes of the occupants of the six counties, subject to a supporting vote from the 26 if the north voted for unification. That is a long way from all power. One major exception is tax raising power, and there are others too.

    As for P&J;, it seems clear that a timetable is in place, and that neither the Tories nor the UUP can stop it.

    As for a crisis building. We are always on the verge of crisis. And we always return to where we were. I am therefore very sceptical that that can change now more people than ever support the political arrangements. But you may well be right. Can you detail what you think is happening, and how you expect this crisis to express itself?