An Phoblacht Apologises for Lying About The Irish News

Just a short update for those following the story or just catching up. As Slugger readers know, An Phoblacht has publicly apologised to the Irish News for lying about it in their preface to Adams’ article on the Hunger Strike. Adams’ article has now been revised and stripped of all inflammatory references to the Irish News – its content is otherwise exactly the same. Both the apology, which is also on An Phoblacht’s website, and the revised article, are published in today’s Irish News. The Adams piece has already been deconstructed on Slugger. Further background to the apology is also documented. This is worth noting not just in terms of the evolution of the hunger strike issue, but because it is so out of character for the Sinn Fein machine. This isn’t just a “muck up” by An Phoblacht, as claimed by an commenter in an earlier thread; this was the public abortion of an ill judged campaign presumably spearheaded by Gerry Adams. After all, it was his name on the by-line, wasn’t it? So, Party President Adams wrote an article attacking the Irish News – referring to them as a ‘player’, peppered with inaccuracies. How does that work – did Adams not know what he was writing, or did the editor at An Phoblacht have more sense than Adams but not the stones to stand up to him and spike his article before publishing it? Or did he not have a clue and just followed Dear Leader’s dictat? Who was it that devised the smear campaign against the Irish News – as the SF press office was obviously starting to push? The Pavlovian response from an An Phoblacht reader posted on Adams’ blog is priceless, as it was exactly the response such a poison piece as was published was meant to generate amongst the grassroots. (See also comment #12 in this thread, which is quoting a line from Adams’ AP/RN article that has since been “revised” – you have to give credit to the grassroots, they are well trained and responsive to conditioning.)

Yet someone hit the brakes and spun the machine into reverse at some point. Why? Who decided that this was a good idea in the first place – Adams? Morrison? Who has enough weight within Sinn Fein to over-ride Adams? Did he come to his senses and change tact midstream too late? Did Adams not know what was being written and done in his name?

What is also significant is that this is the first time – bar the RTE appearance where he claimed he never heard of the Mountain Climber until after the hunger strikes – that Adams has publicly said anything about the hunger strike issue since the publication of O’Rawe’s Blanketmen. This, as watery and empty as it is, is an important statement from Adams. And he’s blown it so spectacularly – both in its weak content and its completely inept, panicked handling.

Some observers are suggesting that this is an indication of the ending of Adams – though everyone knows that’s just a matter of time. What they are seeing is evidence of an internal push, or at least an internal conflict of some sort. That may be reading too much into too little – but it is a curious development, and, given what else is coming in terms of problems for Adams, perhaps a harbinger of things to come.

Comprehensive archive site on the events of the Hunger Strike: July 1981

Earlier on Slugger:

Update to Adams & The Irish News

1981 Hunger Strike: Adams and the Irish News

1981 Hunger Stike: Feint and Retreat

1981 Hunger Strike: Continued Coverage

1981 Hunger Strike: Deconstructing McGuinness

1981 Hunger Strike: A Case to Answer

Gerry Adams and Kieran Doherty, 29 July 1981

Prolonging the Hunger Strike: The Derailing of the ICJP

Updated Timeline and Upcoming Discussion Brian Rowan and Brendan Duddy to speak at Feile

Gulladuff: More Heat Than Light Gerry Adams meets with some of the families of some of the hunger strikers.

Gerry Adams to meet Hunger Strikers Families; Inquiry Sought Families of the hunger strikers call for a public inquiry; Adams arranges meeting

“This is a huge opportunity and I feel there’s a potential here to end this” Bik McFarlane miraculously recovers his memory and completely backtracks on every denial he had made previously, while also making up new, contradictory details never before mentioned

“I will not be attending and will not send a representative” Gerry Adams refuses to attend public meeting about the hunger strikes; extremely revealing discussion in the comments section

1981 Hunger Strike Truth Commission Includes text of British document of July offer and transcript of Willie Gallagher’s speech at the Derry meeting

The Truth is a Heartbreaking Thing Initial summary of Derry meeting

Upcoming Debate: “What is the Truth Behind the Hunger Strike?” Announcement of public meeting and note of Radio Foyle debate between Raymond McCartney and Richard O’Rawe (also discussed on The Pensive Quill: A Shifting Narrative)

When in a hole… Contrasts between Danny Morrison’s position and previously published accounts of the time

What were the hunger strikers told? Questions emerge that cast doubt on what the hunger strikers knew when about what negotiations were being conducted on their behalf by the Adams subcommittee.

“Let’s have the whole truth” – Danny Morrison and Richard O’Rawe statements

Did Thatcher Kill All 10 or Only 4? – contains statements and interview excerpts

  • Observer

    Its a muckup, someone at An Phoblacht will get their wrists slapped over this thats for sure. It does highlight how quickly some are to highlight conspiracy theories around the Republican Movement.

    Its no secret that the Irish News are more SDLP-orientated and that some SF reps do find it difficult to get stories into the paper – hence the Daily Ireland project a number of years ago.

  • Conspiracy Central

    “It does highlight how quickly some are to highlight conspiracy theories around the Republican Movement.”

    Agreed. The Republican Movement (thought they went out last Easter)were NEVER involved in any conspiracy and no member of the PRM was EVER convicted of conspiracy. Abnd Gerry Adams would NEVER lie.

  • Sean

    over egging the pudding a little aren’t you rusty?

  • John O’Connell

    Rusty, you said it:-

    both in its weak content and its completely inept, panicked handling

    This is the beginning of the end for Adams and that means, as I’m some distance from Adams politically, that the push has probably already begun with Adams now looking over his shoulder.

    I think this issue will unbalance him as it is fundamental to his belief system. He believes the hunger strikers died for him and his political career, a very special political career, that involves a degree of sincerity that other parties do not possess, and is rooted in the hunger strikers’ sacrifices. He doesn’t understand the evil involved in sacrificing your own desperate friends for he believes they were compliant in this.

    Hoewever, that image of him as the cute hoor in the Folks on the Hill is IMHO a more accurate portrayal of his psyche rather than sincerity and he doesn’t understand this.

  • Rory Carr

    Lying“; “public abortion”; “ill judged campaign presumably spearheaded by Gerry Adams”; “Dear Leader’s dictat”; “smear campaign”; “Pavlovian response”; “a poison piece “; “the grassroots… are well trained and responsive to conditioning.”;”he’s blown it so spectacularly”; “inept, panicked handling”.

    All of the above are examples of the lurid, hyperbolic, totally subjective words and phrases employed by the anonymous propagandist, Rusty Nail in place of reasoning or in a failure of anything new to say. It is the playground equivalent of the “Ya, boo, shucks” retort of the bully whose bluff has been called and is more than reminiscent of the type of language employed by the cruder low end of the daily red-top rags when inveigling against workers’ demands for a just wage or opposition to the slaughter of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Such an old game – when there is nothing of substance to say, cover your target in an hysterical rant of invective and obscenity and trust that in the chaotic confusion of the ensuing wordstorm nothing will be recalled except that somehow your target is to be disliked for which surely there must be a reason, for why else would any sane person go on so?

    But, as before, this piece says much more about the author than about the author’s target and illustrates clearly yet again why we would be foolish in the extreme to trust anything that he/she has to say.

  • Dave

    “lurid, hyperbolic, totally subjective words and phrases”

    “anonymous propagandist”

    “the playground equivalent of the “Ya, boo, shucks” retort”

    “the bully whose bluff has been called”

    “the cruder low end of the daily red-top rags”

    Which might lead the reader to conlude that “when there is nothing of substance to say, cover your target in an hysterical rant of invective and obscenity and trust that in the chaotic confusion of the ensuing wordstorm nothing will be recalled except that somehow your target is to be disliked for which surely there must be a reason, for why else would any sane person go on so?”

    Hoisted by your own petard. 😉

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Did you check the dictionary yet, Dave?

  • John O’Connell

    If I was advising Gerry Adams and saw him producing an article attacking the Irish News for being a player, I would think immediately of “Thou dost protest too much”.

    In other words it would be almost an admission of guilt to attack the messenger in the sense that it would be an admission that he had no answer to the charge in question.

    What he did seemed like a good idea then but looking at the fruits of the decision – the hollowing out of Sinn Fein policies and the movement to the centre on many issues – it doesn’t look like a good idea now to ask ten men to sacrifice themselves for you and your political career.

    And the IRA was around then with the all-pervading sense of power that that produced and getting young men to die then might be seen as par for the course whereas today it might seem that it was a bit of a rash approach to the matter.

    Gerry was likely therefore to have just been feeling sorry for himself by writing of the Irish News in this way in the full realisation that what seemed like a good decision then looks increasingly now like a very bad decision. I would call it evil.

  • Dave


    re•mu•da (rĭ-mōō’də)
    n. Southwestern U.S.
    A herd of horses from which ranch hands select their mounts.

    So, you’re saying that I am a rancher with an ample supply of horses? If it is a metaphor , then you’ll have to put it in plain words. I preferred power tools to poetry.

  • Dave

    Emm… maybe I get it. Remuda is a word from Southwestern U.S.A and would only be known to folks from that region. Arizona is in that region. And Arizona is where a *certain* website is located according to its Whois data?

  • picador


    When will you be blogging on Ruairí Ó Brádaigh’s recent assertion that the hunger strikers were not sacrificed for electoral gain?

  • picador


    You’ve been all over the hunger strike story like a rash in recent months. Why aren’t you keeping us informed of the latest developments?

    Ó Brádaigh – Hunger Strikers Were NOT Sacrificed for Electoral Gain

    I trust you will be breaking your silence soon.