Arthur Morgan Watch: Finally, the Deputy for Louth speaks!!!

Phew, Deputy Morgan has spoken. And the ‘Watch’ is over. I really was not looking forward to a the kind of thousand day ordeal some of our commenters predicted on Monday. The Irish News has finally tracked the man down (good on them for sticking with it!). He spoke to them in a ten minutes slot at Leinster House yesterday. His explanation? “It slipped my mind”…

Note the complete change in tone, from certainty on Christmas Eve that Liam Adams was NOT an officer in the party to the rather less convincing, I forgot. What you have then to ask is “How likely it is that he or anyone else might actually forget?” To approximate an answer to that we have an impeccable source on Arthur’s career with Louth Sinn Fein: Deputy Morgan himself speaking in An Phoblacht in 2006:

On release from prison (in 1984), Morgan rejoined the Francis Jordan Cumann and in 1985 stood as a Sinn Féin candidate in council elections in Louth. Although he topped the poll in first preferences, the PR system meant that he lost the seat by eleven votes.

In 1987 and again in 1989 he stood for the general elections and significantly increased the Sinn Féin vote in Louth. In 1991 he again stood for the local elections but it wasn’t until he stood for the third time, in 1999, that he won the County Council seat.

This last is significant. 1999 is the year we have for Liam Adams being expelled by his brother from the party (for reasons and presumably means undisclosed to the local cumman, or cuige). So what we are asked to believe is that Deputy Morgan cannot remember the guy who was chair of his county association in the year he won his first public office at county level!!

The get out: He claimed in the Irish News that Liam Adams was chair of Louth SF for just two months – no dates given…

Remember this ‘misremembering’ does not relate to anything Deputy Morgan may or may not have known about Liam Adams in 1999. It relates to statements he made to journalists just twenty two days ago. That is after Gerry Adams own thoughts about his brother were in the public domain. There is clearly insufficient detail here to explain why his Christmas Eve statement was at such variance with the facts.

He also told Valerie Robinson of the Irish News that party officials are busy at work trying “to compile a chronological and factual picture of Liam Adams role in the party in Louth”.

Probably very necessary, because in this story so far there has been one inconsistency after another. We await to see when or even if they publish that chronology. Or whether, in fact, it is simply an a strictly internal instrument to be kept to keep party spokesmen singing from the ‘official’ hymn sheet…

The Watch may be over, but we’ll be keeping a very close eye on this story, for reasons I’ll blog about later today…

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty