“If McGuinness was told what Adams knew when first he knew it, they share a problem”

With Sinn Féin TD Arthur Morgan still, apparently, unavailable to answer queries about the extent of Liam Adams’ involvement in the party in Co Louth, in the Irish Times Fionnuala O’Connor makes a sharp observation on the most recent photographic, and archived, evidence.

From the Irish Times article

The Sinn Féin figureheads built their joint image cannily. McGuinness came forward from the shadows of paramilitarism to stand at the right hand of Adams while the Belfastman talked “the movement” towards the primacy of politics. McGuinness was there initially as the incorruptible militant, to counteract suspicion of Adams as too political to be trustworthy. Not long into the “process”, McGuinness’s personability became a major asset in negotiations. Some time later the family man image in tweed jacket and woolly pullovers began to count as electoral appeal.

Allies throughout their war, the two men are obligated to each other for the peace they jointly manoeuvred into being. The family without a scandal does not exist, and the tragedy behind what Adams revealed over Christmas may give McGuinness pause. But this pair come out of a ruthless school. Sinn Féin already had difficulties enough: today, after the downfall of the Catholic Church, republicans must at last know that closing ranks around social deviants is the biggest threat to their own communal standing. If McGuinness heard about the Adams family traumas no earlier than the public, it is hard to imagine empathy in those cool eyes. If McGuinness was told what Adams knew when first he knew it, they share a problem.

And there are still those other questions about events post-1998.