Richard English has a cracking review of the Voices from the Grave in the Irish Times last week… Just here he gets to the crux of why the posthumous blows from an old dead comrade will in eyes of many in wider society simply bounce off the public persona of Gerry Adams, despite the Sinn Fein leader’s continued public dissembling about the reality of his own past…
‘There is little doubt that, despite his denials, Adams had a significant career in the IRA during years when the Provos killed and maimed very many people. This includes his leading position in the Belfast IRA during 1971-73, and his shared responsibility for the Provos actions during those murderous days.
‘Nor is there much doubt, however, about his latter-day contribution towards ending the vicious violence which people like himself and Hughes had done so much to produce. Hughes himself is very clear on this point: Theres no one else in the Republican movement with the intelligence, the shrewdness and the ruthlessness that was needed to bring the movement to the position that its in today. Gerry was the only person . . . who would have been capable of doing that.
‘That latter-day process towards compromise might have involved deceit, and a rejection of millenarian republican ambition. But it surely also saved many lives, and the aspect of Adamss career perhaps most lamented here by Hughes will be that in which many others see his most positive contribution.‘ [Emphasis added]