The Adams Gamble

As a republican and Sinn Fein supporter, I’m very much in two minds over Gerry Adams’ decision to contest Louth. Worst case scenario has him losing the seat, experiencing an electoral and political humiliation which will likely end his leadership of the party and solidify a narrative as Sinn Fein as an exclusively northern entity that will take a long time to overcome.

Best case scenario for the party is a resounding electoral mandate for the party leader which provides a wind bringing with it a couple of additonal seats taking the party’s tally nearer to 10 than 5 seats, consolidating the party’s status as the minor opposition party alongside Fianna Fail following the next Dail election.

But there are deeper reasons for my reticence. A potential victory for Adams will undoubtedly provide the party with a boost, north and south, and once again reassert the fact that Sinn Fein are the only genuine article when it comes to being interested in pursuing a united Ireland- and on that note, poor Margaret Ritchie must be aware that her decision to declare the SDLP’s number one priority as a united Ireland will beg the question: ‘just what are you doing south of the border to achieve that objective?

Yet an Adams victory in Louth will not conceal the fact that Sinn Fein continues to struggle to attract election candidates, representatives and advisors from beyond the core republican communities of the north, and the party’s underwhelming performance in the Executive and Assembly chamber, coupled with the failure of its handful of TDs to make much noise in the Dail, suggests that even an electoral victory for Adams in Louth will not address the party’s unfitness for purpose in the new post-peace process era.

 In spite of the party’s electoral dominance within northern nationalism for the past decade, the party has failed to recruit an elected tier of representatives and indeed even advisors from outside of the republican heartlands, something that has contributed to the failure to see off the SDLP and make inroads into minority nationalist and middle class nationalist communities. When you consider that, until very recently, voters in Glengormley had an Ardoyne-based councillor and a Derry-based MLA as their Sinn Fein representatives, you begin to appreciate the extent to which the party has failed to capitalise on its decade of dominance.  

And Glengormley is, of course, a relative success story for the party. Look to East Antrim, the entire Strangford/ North Down/ Ards Peninsula region and other pockets such as Carryduff/ Greater South Belfast (beyond the Lr Ormeau) for a credible Sinn Fein presence and you’ll quickly conclude your search to be one conducted in vain. 

Where, for instance, is the upwardly mobile nationalist demographic constituency which effectively delivered Sinn Fein’s era of electoral dominance within the party?

The stark reality is that Sinn Fein has been unable to attract the post-conflict generation to actively take up the baton as party representatives at a time when it should have been able to make off with the richest of pickings. 

Parachuting Adams into Louth may work in the short term, and perhaps it will be accompanied by a fresh approach to the issue of strategically developing and growing the party, but the evidence to date suggests the republican leadership continues to have a massive blind spot to such matters.

Adams’ own constituency of West Belfast neatly exemplifies the point. Sinn Fein hold five of the six Assembly seats. Adams’ four fellow party MLAs are highly respected local republicans who have personally dedicated the better part of their lives to republicanism.

Yet none of Adams’ party colleagues could credibly be considered as MP material, nor would any be realistically considered as contenders for Ministerial office at Stormont. This picture is repeated across the north for the party, so much so that the elevation of Billy Leonard to Stormont through co-option in East Derry at least seemed to provide the party with a particularly talented and professionally skilled representative poised to hold high office for the party within the Assembly chamber and/ or Executive.

Alas, it would appear that Leonard has been demoted in favour of another local republican whose constituency status has stumped broader strategic considerations. 

There are some reasons for optimism. Pearse Doherty’s rise to prominence within the party suggests that Sinn Fein has found the credible indigenous southern leader it has been looking, even if it is the case that he’ll likely be assigned Adams’ most senior pitbull status in the Dail in the short term in the event that the republican plan comes good at election time.  

But, ultimately, the party will have to address the root problems concerning how it conducts its internal business if it is to develop as a more effective political force both north and south.

  • Stephen Ferguson

    At least his replacement as MLA will appreciate all the subsidised lunches in Stormont…

  • alanmaskey

    Your post is interesting for a number of reasons:

    1. It concentrates on the North and Northerners even when discussing the South.
    2. It admits there is nothing democratic or open about PSF. Candidates have to be imposed, not least because the Adams personality cult kills any possibility of genuinely talented people rising anywhere near the top. Mediocre people like Adams need mediocre sycophants around them; it has been a problem of despots everywhere.
    3. It confirms that PSF are a top down, quasi militaristic outfit where the choices of GHQ will always trump those of the foot soldiers.
    4. It confirms that the people of Louth do not figure in the Provo nexus; they are only tools to an end.

  • cappagh

    You are either a republican or a shinner ,you can’t be both. The last time I looked sinn fein abandoned their republicanism.

  • Nunoftheabove

    It’s an old point but if SF people don’t recognize it then maybe they’re just being a bit thick about this. To attract people of talent – thinkers, if you like – professionals etc – they’ll have to drop the stalinistic party control. Smart people who could take them forward (and who they need, particularly people from an economic background as that’s a clear area of weakness for them) won’t wear it and will need room to speak their mind and challenge ideas.

    Also, they’re still very much in transition and seem to still feel they need faces who root them to their middle-distance past; some constituencies don’t seem ready for newies with clean hands who could be sneered at as opportunist ‘draft-dodgers’ by grass roots, skeptics and dissident rabble-rousers.

    Thus, presumably, Pat Sheehan’s likely nomination this evening.

  • pippakin

    Pat Sheehan is a safe pair of hands, he will calm any sense of desertion by the SF leadership.

    Gerry Adams must have known for some time that he had two major problems. His own star was being eclipsed by the excellent work of Martin McGuinness and the south has been neglected by SF for far too long, even this post is about the north.

    This has the potential to be the best move GA has made in years, there will be opposition, in Louth, in his own party and of course from southern parties. I think the real danger though, is if the trial date is announced or the trial commences. As much as he might wish it people have not forgotten about his brother.

  • Mark McGregor


    We are obviously going to approach this from very different angles but I think one phrase in your post captures the difficulty SF has faced in capitalising on it’s electoral successes in the north (alongside the poor performances in the south)

    ‘the upwardly mobile nationalist demographic constituency which effectively delivered Sinn Fein’s era of electoral dominance’

    You see recruiting from this group as an issue the party has not addressed while relying on their votes.

    Of course, I’m persoanlly pretty clear I think pandering to this demographic has resulted in nationalism over republicanism and populism over socialism for SF – it became about making popular politics, not ‘our’ politics popular.

    That delivered electoral success but capturing it was the driving force for abandoning so much republicanism with so much ease. Everything abandoned captured more votes. The dynamic that permitted every policy shift or failure to actually deliver much of substance with the positions delivered.

    Remember the old mantra – electoral strength is not political strength? SF end up with neither.

    However, returning to the recruitment problem, you witnessed the issue as did I – people from ‘the upwardly mobile nationalist demographic’ were unwilling to take the industrial wage. They had jobs, mortgages and responsibilities. They weren’t and aren’t activists willing to make the financial sacrifices required of a SF rep along with the demands on time and family.

    To attract this demographic that delivered the electoral strength would require SF further diluting itself to essentially facilitate careerists.

    Careerists would breed more careerists and the ‘upwardly mobile nationalists’ would cause SF to further reduce its credibility as truly republican and socialist party and not just populist nationalists.

    It would potentially bring more votes and it would drive SF further away from the principles it was supposed to be about.

  • Quite an interesting piece Donnelly. Mark McGregor points to a number of problems for SF. I am in no position to judge but there is a danger that many nationalists outside the republican heartlands (and even many within them) seem to have a massive problem with the sectarian murder campaign waged by the IRA.

    Prior to the IRA ceasing to conduct its sectarian murder campaign it is note worthy that nationalists would not vote SF in the numbers they voted SDLP. Now following the ceasefire (or reduction in fire depending on one’s analysis) large numbers of nationalists seem willing to vote SF. However, it is notable that few nationalists are willing to admit in public that they even vote SF despite the fact that self evidently many / most do.

    The embarrassment factor of voting for unrepentant murderers is highly likely to mitigate still further against joining let alone standing for election on behalf of Sinn Fein. Whilst I am sure Stalinist leadership tendencies may not help: the sectarian criminality tendencies of many of the leaders is also likely to be a major problem.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Mr Donnelly.
    Interesting post. And I think accurate it is a gamble but a Medium risk one.
    If SF had a quota in Louth its unlikely to be less with a higher profile name and bad economic background.
    Certainly it would bea body blow if SF did not hold the seat….and for Adams personally.
    To all intents and purposes Louth is in the Newry hinterland. No big deal.
    But Id think the higher risk is actually West Belfast. Be prepared for the usual suspects analysing the new West Belfast MPs result and we can already write their optimistic headline that SF is slipping.
    Of course ANY SF person will win it but a much lower vote (fully to be expected in a one sided by-election) might have a knock on effect on SF image of invincibility there. From SF perspective the Assembly election should come before he Westminster one.
    Vote management might be a bigger problem without Adams on the ticket although SF was remarkably disciplined there.
    Worst case scenario 4 seats in West Belfast and not holding Louth is unlikely.
    But I do think a SF seat is vulnerable there to unionists/SDLP or even Alliance thru Bradshaw.

    But much more likely is SF holding Louth and increased influence for the Party in the South. Lets face it……one of the moments of the TV election should be the Louth declaration and subsequent hostile interview on RTE.

  • alanmaskey

    An interesting and relevant comparison that is often done is to consider what politicians could make under their own steam outside of politics. Tony Blair, for example, has a legal background, as did Howard, the recent Australian PM. Charlie Haughey was a successful accountant. Peter Robinson has a weak background, Brian Cowen is a solicitor, Enda Kenny is a primary school teacher. Remind me again what work legitimate Adams and McGuinness ever did.

  • Chris Donnelly

    The concentration on issues northern is precisely because the party remains firmly controlled from up here, and the internal culture of the party which has contributed to its difficulties in widening the party’s appeal across the island can be directly traced to the north. Confronting that reality, and making the changes necessary to unlock the party’s potential, can have benefits for republicanism across Ireland.

    I honestly have little time for the careerist charge. It smacks of an elitism which is, quite frankly, a lot of aul’ shite. Many of the people who you clearly believe were responsible for abandoning republicanism would be the first to use the charge against others.

    Politics is a career; it may also be a vocation for some, but it is most evidently still a career at the same time. Indeed, nearly all of the people I know that are employed by Sinn Fein have been doing their jobs longer than many careers last in other spheres of life!

    Broadening Sinn Fein’s appeal and enticing people with specific skills into the party in a representative and/or advisory capacity should not be something that republicans fear or resist. In fact, bringing about the socio-economic, as well as National, changes that are part of the republican agenda would appear to necessitate such a course of action.

    Similarly, actively seeking to attract local people to contest elections should not be resisted on the grounds that if such people aren’t steeped in the republican tradition then they are somehow suspect.

  • Cormac Mac Art

    I still do not see how this is supposed to help SF in Ireland.

    Adams is a native of Northern Ireland. His whole outlook in political matters has been defined by that.

    If SF want to do well in Ireland, then they need to attract people from the state. And to do that they need to address WHY they have not done better down here, not send Fearless Leader out for election.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Bartendering, butchery and paramilitarism, hmmmmmm.
    Mind you, the free state parliament is coming down with school teachers – great training for the finer points of international macroeconomics, right ? Not least when there’s scarely a handful of civil servants in the finance department who actually understand anything about finance or even have a relavent third level education with which to advise said school teachers.

    I agree that people who do well in politics financially who have no viable obvious alternative career outside of it are a dangerous breed.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Agree; I also think that Adams is more off-putting to people of talent even half-considering joinging SF than he is an attraction. Perhaps even more so in the south. He wrongly seems to imagine himself something of an inspiration. He’s poor in the southern media also with nothing of substance to contribute to the mess in the south beyond empty platitudes.

  • John Ó Néill

    Chris – in the context of Donegal SW I did a quick reprise of the two main issues: the obvious one of the legacy of the IRA’s military campaign, and the deeper one of how SF’s ‘pariah’ status was maintained through Section 31.
    Strategically, the real crux is being seen to shift the balance of power into the Republic by offering the electorate the ‘controlling’ interest in SF. In many ways, a leadership base tilted towards the north is an obvious artefact of recent history, but is similarly a contradiction in the stated ambitions of the party. At the moment Labour and, to some extent, FG are doing well in the polls because they are merely the alternative – not because they are eager to to try and solve problems, be effective as opposition or willing to take on government leadership. The current economic and political mess should be providing a context in which SF can push through the inherited attitudes promoted by Section 31. That can’t be by simply re-locating northerners into constituencies in the south (I would be useless, for one, since I would stand out like a sore thumb in Wicklow or Wexford with my slightly obvious north Belfast accent). I’ve argued elsewhere that, at the moment, FF, FG, Labour and the Greens all appear hideously lethargic and extraordinarily passive about events. There is a significant electoral market for a more positive, enthusiastic and energetic political platform that will attract support. Since all businesses try and manage growth – if there were new recruits to SF, some hindsight might suggest that process should be properly managed and developed.
    I don’t think SF can grow its electoral base in the north without significantly more success in the south. If it was to pass through the barrier to find a way of drawing cross community support of any kind in the north for a united Ireland, I think that will ultimately come from political performance in the Republic.
    As a short-term PR grab, the value of the announcement about Louth will be judged by the Donegal SW result (although Pearse Doherty should get in at the general election regardless). But, on the back of the High Court win, it is maintaining some form of momentum (personally I’d take down Willie O’Dea as an encore).

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    Likewise as a fan of Adams I not certain about the move over the border. There is little doubt he will be elected but it will be his performances in the Dail that will probably determine what sort of bounce it will give SF.

    Assuming we dont get turfed out of the EU for sinking the Euro then Grizzly is going to have to dump the anti-european rhetoric or the Plain People of Ireland will not be best pleased with him.

    In relation to attracting new talent one issue I think you have (understandably) dodged in your analysis is the rather awkward subject of class – with SF having a disctinctly working class roots which (to their credit) they have been loyal to but perhaps not the best party culture for attracting bright young things.


    The Nationalist attitiude to the last Irish insurgency is to turn a blind eye to the unsavoury deeds of the perpetrators in the belief that they were carried out in order to achieve th

  • Alanbrooke
  • Chris Donnelly

    Doherty’s a real find for the party, and his election to the Dail either later this month or at the next Dail election should provide a sharper edge to the party’s contributions in Leinster House. It will also, hopefully, bring with it a bounce for the party which could elect Padraig in NE Donegal.

    Similarly, if the party can convince Toireasa Ferris to stand, then I’d say they’d be well on the way to countering the legacy of censorship in the South.

    But it still will require a willingness to equip the elected party reps with a support team, at both constituency and advisory level, to develop an expertise base across the policy areas which is so evidently lacking at present.

    That’ll require a decisive strategic shift in the leadership approach to date and, crucially, it will hasten the day when the balance of power within Sinn Fein will tilt in favour of the elected reps as opposed to unelected party management.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    Very funny – the poster about the brother is excellent.

    p.s. Mick posted this on his earlier thread about the boul Grizzly.

  • alanmaskey

    What censorship? PSF are strong in the border counties and have some good operatives like the gun runner Ferris.

    Chris Donnelly: What you propose is what happened to the Sticks. When it does happen, there will be the longed for spli, with the old guard being left ot their own devices and the careerists joining Fianna Fail or some emasculated pseudo left party.

  • 21stcentury fenian

    This point about the north v south balance within SF: the reality for many is that “Ireland” no longer stops at Dromad or Clones or Aughnacloy – anybody who has recently done a Belfast to Dublin run in the car will realise that in the absence of “the troubles” the geography no longer an issue. What is still an obstacle for SF is its bizarre anti-EU stance. If it is to attract voters and activists outside of its traditional base this will need to be looked at .

  • Mark McGregor


    I’m not making a careerist charge, I’m pointing out as you know that many of these new dynamic shinners have been unwilling to puut themselves forward due to the industrial wage.

    I’ll not name names but you know I shared a frustration with you shortly before leaving SF – a decent local person , that talked republicanism unwilling to risk their salary by going fulltime.

    To facilitate people like this Sf would have to pay better, they’d then have to pay everyone better and you have a party not of activists but careerists.

    Its a lose, lose imnsho.

  • White Horse

    The conflict between Irish Republican ideology, the ideology of the nation state, which is in essence of the right, and produces some absurd policies like those on Europe, and which drives Gerry’s smiling face towards county Louth, and the contradictory interest of social justice still confuses Sinn Fein.

    Which is it, the people or the nation?

  • Mark McGregor

    Good god I almost agree with mad Maskey:

    “Chris Donnelly: What you propose is what happened to the Sticks. When it does happen, there will be the longed for spli, with the old guard being left ot their own devices and the careerists joining Fianna Fail or some emasculated pseudo left party”

  • pippakin

    Mark McGregor

    You can get medicine for it, see your doctor immediately.

  • alanmaskey

    You almost agree with a lot of people. You better watch that. Anyway null points for you.

  • medillen

    Sinn Fein already took down Willie O’Dea as an entré

  • John Ó Néill

    No, Medillen. He is still a TD – he was just put in the oven and is now just about ready to serve. If I was going to keep up the PR coups, before next weekend I would announce a concerted attempt to have O’Dea removed by an electoral court and demand an investigation of why the Dept of Justice failed to have him charged with perjury (ignorance is never a valid defence). It would make the point that, if either FG or Labour were serious about their interest in saving the state from FF they could have done it (by demonstrating, as with Donegal SW, that you can lever them out bit by bit). By chosing not to, FG and Labour are being complicit in allowing FF to continue making very significant long term decisions on a hugely tarnished mandate. If SF are to make inroads of any kind, a credible alternative voice needs to be on offer.

  • Fuiseog

    Mediocre people like Adams need mediocre sycophants around them; it has been a problem of despots everywhere.

    As well as the choice of appointed (ahem) successor to Mr Adams and his ‘poisoned chalice’ which has clearly placed celebrity (if your a Rock Bar man that is) over competence and merit … a cursory glance round the room on the UTV report tonight is further evidence that the Sinn Féin activist base is floundering in West Belfast.

    Specifically in relation not to who were in the hall last night but to those who were not – maybe Boucher Road had a bit of a run on it cos they were all out buying cars too !!!

  • Paschal

    White Horse. The fact is that since the split within Sinn Fein in the early seventies it was left with the larger part of the body but almost completely minus the head. The legacy can be seen today with its inability to articulate a coherent philosophy on most matters aside from the national question. Its constituency is nationalist which is where its original core support was garnered and was the raison d’etre for its formation in the first place. The fact is, large sections of its ‘potential support areas’ in the south, such as you would expect from a self proclaimed socialist organisation, detest and loath it and recognise it for what it is. Their potential rests on their nationalist not their socialist credentials.

  • DoppiaVu

    And whilst the ROI peers over the abyss of utter financial ruin, republicans continue to obsess over a political stunt from a fading leader of one of NI’s many sectarian parties.

    In case you hadn’t noticed, the ROI is busy enough attempting to retain its sovreignty as it stands, let alone attempting to take on NI. Which is why SF is ultimately doomed to failure. Joe public in ROI has a lot more stuff to worry about than SF’s republican posturing.

    And away from the world of Republican navel-gazing, the British chancellor promises financial support to help out the ROI, thereby doing more for the average Irish person than SF will ever manage.

  • abucs

    That’s how i see it too.

  • E.Doherty

    Remind me Chris, who organised the coup d’état that then rendered the Republican Movement a purely Northern based led organisation?

  • What a petty victory, John. It hardly ranks with the infamous activities of the Provisional Army Council, the body that manages SF and the organised crime stuff and used to blow bodies and buildings to smithereens.

  • alanmaskey

    DoppiaVu: Good points. If the honest Irish had to choose between help from David Cameron and the Disappearer, I would choose Cameron.
    Arthur Morgan was accusing FF of lying, something Pinnochio Adams could never be accused of.

    There has been a lot of talk on the West Belfast clown, Gerry the Joker Adams but no word from those otherchoir singers: Bono, Mary McAleese etc.

  • slug

    Just to note that this thread is an example of why its generally far more interesting to read people commenting honestly on the party they support, rather than the parties they do not.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Nevin, John,

    I dont think SF would, like any other party, would be unduly worried about a victory being ‘petty’ but it would be very unwise to stray into the morality debate (with their background as Nevin illustrartes) becuase the Plain People of Ireland and Limerick in particular might rally round the boul Willie for his ‘technical’ infringement if he started to compare it with the work of his accusers – for example the fate of a certain Garda Mc Cabe from his neck of the woods.

  • John and Sammy, I thought ‘cute hoor’ was a badge of pride in southern politics so why did ‘tittle tattle’ about a brothel get so out of hand?

  • slug, I think your comment also applies to journalists and historians. Sometimes the prejudice distracts from or drowns out their analysis.

  • John Ó Néill

    Nevin, Sammy – if Willie O’Dea was caught (on this occasion) giving a journalist a story that wasn’t true during an election campaign and by doing so was in breach of the Electoral Abuses Act. The penalty includes losing his seat. Not only that but he did swear an affadavit that was untrue.
    Regardless of the soft morality of political correctness both are actual offences, one electoral, one criminal (the first may be criminal too, it is only the impact it would have on his capacity to serve in the Oireachtas that I am aware of).
    Neither is a ‘technical’ infringement – there is no such thing and the law should apply to FF (and senior bankers) the same way it applies to the rest of society.

    My point was that the facts of this case are hugely damaging for FF and SF could make political capital out of it to try and differentiate themselves from the other opposition parties who have singularly failed to take the opportunities to put the choice of leadership back in the hands of the electorate by dislodging FF.

  • “differentiate themselves from the other opposition parties”

    John, SF is managed by the PIRA Army Council, a body that claims to be the legitimate government of the island. This point was acknowledged by SF’s Mitchel McLaughlin in an RTE Questions and Answers politics programme. Surely that differentiates it sufficiently from the constitutional parties in the Dáil?

  • Neil

    You are If the honest Irish had to choose between help from David Cameron and the Disappearer, I would choose Cameron

    Do you use sock puppets to reinforce your arguments? Is that ‘the honest Irish’ of which you are spokesman and representative, on more than one thread at the moment? Just curious.

  • John Ó Néill

    Nevin, if you still believe that somewhere there is an active IRA Army Council sitting around making decisions about SF policy and strategy then it is no wonder that the Willie O’Dea’s of this world have such a willing audience.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    “if you still believe that somewhere there is an active IRA Army Council sitting around making decisions about SF policy and strategy then it is no wonder that the Willie O’Dea’s of this world have such a willing audience.”

    You are slightly missing the point it is not the fact that SF couldn’t raise the issue or that it is not an issue suitable for raising but rather that they shouldnt raise it given the ease with which Feckless Fail can deflect to their activiites and particulalry given the Limerick connection like the Mc Cabe issue.

    Although I hope they dont go down the old cute hoor path like Feckless Fail/Gael they also have to be clever as well as correct.

    Note to Grizzly: Best of luck but remember when you cross that little unwanted red line on the map – no moral high horsing and no anti-European jibber-jabber.

  • Chris,

    Cut the twaddle lad, what you are really saying is for SF to broaden its popularity etc, it must recruit middle class professionals. Which to me smells of a move to the right in the south, in the hope of hovering up disillusioned FF voters. Something which in my view would be a disaster in the current climate down there, especially as in Eoin O’Broin you have one of the more able leftwing politicians in the south.

    Besides, the UK and Irish parliaments are stuffed full with middle class professionals. Lawyers academics, barristers, business people, economists, christ these parliaments are packed to the rafters with them to the exclusion of a whole social class.

    What they do not have is many working class people, especially those who have worked with their hands, hence theses assemblies have become totally unrepresentative.

    Just a question, have you seen the bloody mess these professionals have got their nations into. Or has it passed you by? The last thing the Dail needs is more middle class professionals.

    What SF, indeed all political party’s need is a mix of social classes which make up the population in the areas where they have representatives. Whilst it is true SF lacks middle class people, to their credit, unlike the other parties, they have no shortage of working class people and this is no bad thing as the constituencies the shinners represent are hardly the more leafy suburbs.

    Of course as I have said if SF is to move forward, in comparison with the other parties, it would do them no harm to recruit more middle class professionals, whether a ridged wage scale is the best way to recruit them I am not sure, perhaps not. But I feel if SF were to abolish pay restraint altogether, they would get the same kind of middle class opportunists who have done so much damage to the British LP.

    Horses for course is what is needed, not a one size fits all, if a candidate is worth encouraging, then it is up to SF to show some flexibility.

  • John, I linked to Mitchel McLaughlin, not Willie O’Dea. As I’ve already pointed out the AC has matters other than politics to concern itself with. If Adams attempted to give the impression that it had ‘gone away’ only the gullible and the outsider might believe him.

    I’ve used the term parapolitician to describe those politicians who are linked to paramilitary organisations. Some parapoliticians have been and are largely immune from prosecution; the police can observe wrongdoing but are unable to intervene without political clearance.

    It’s a sad reflection on our society, North and South, when constitutional politicians are told to keep their noses out of matters that don’t concern them even if a police officer admits that such a parapolitician is identified with an offence. And I’m thinking of an offence much more serious than Willie’s ‘tittle tattle’.

  • Sean Og

    With Ceann Comhairle Seamus Kirk representing Louth the seat will only elect 3 TDs at the next election. The Ceann Comhairle is returned automatically.

    That means that the quota in Louth will be very high compared to other consituencies. It will be an interesting one to watch.

    Dermot Ahern TD will be returned even if the FF votes falls by 50%. Fergus O’Dowd will retain his seat for FG and Gerry Adams should hold on to the SF seat.

    I can’t see FG winning 2 seats unless there is a huge swing to them in the area. Labour held a seat in Louth for many years and may make a come back if there is a National swing. It will probably end up “no change”.

  • White Horse


    I guess that it was because little Willie wasn’t really a cute hoor. You’re not bad at the cute hooring yourself, with reference to “straw dogs” and all that. Clearly you honour military arguments, and in that context your references to PSF still being ruled by the army council will cause concern to many.

    Perhaps you send signals to those you oppose but I dare say that with your military insults your ego is acting well beyond your pay grade.

  • George

    Seán Óg,
    Louth is now a five-seater.

  • WH @ 4:28

    Maybe there is a bit of the cute hoor about my style; I’d call it social democracy with attitude.

    I’m indebted to Ed Moloney for providing some insights into the workings of the PRM and to SDLP politicians and Dublin civil servants into the dark side of those Christian Democrats that populate the SDLP.

    The MSM has failed to educate the public in so far as it has ignored the role played by Dublin civil servants in day-to-day and policy decisions pertaining to policing and justice in Northern Ireland.

    SDLP politicians were speaking out of both sides of the mouth; they were calling for scrutiny and accountability whilst availing of the services of the AIIC/BIIC Joint Secretariat, a body not subject to parliamentary scrutiny.

    Where does ego come into it? I challenge assertions made by others with the aid of the likes of John Hume’s Personal Views and documents supplied via FOI requests.

    I don’t know about the magnitude of the Adams’ gamble but the elevation of parapoliticians has been to the detriment of democracy, including policing and justice.

  • sdelaneys

    “So Gerry Adams plans to stand down as a Westminster MP so that he can stand for the constituency of Louth in the Irish Parliament.

    I am curious as to how Mr Adams plans to do this, as it is quite tricky to resign as an MP.

    The traditional route is a procedural device whereby the resigning MP applies either to be Steward of the Chiltern Hundreds of Buckinghamshire, or of the Manor of Northstead.

    Both are deemed to be “offices of profit under the Crown” and holding either post then disqualifies somebody from being an MP.

    The jobs are given out alternately, and Northstead is next in line. The appointment has to be conferred by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which is just a formality.

    All very silly, but that’s how it works.” Michael Crick.

    if this has been posted before, excuse me.

  • sdelaneys

    Will Gerry, ‘a man for any crisis’, apply to the crown for a position.
    Will he find another way out?
    Is there a safe exit from the chains of Westminster?
    Ah, the intensity of the worrying we do for Gerry.

  • optimisticfool

    in replacing Gerry Adams as an MLA, the man you refer to has once again shown great courage. The same courage that brought him to the brink of death during the hunger strike of 1981. He wasn’t found wanting then and I expect he won’t be found wanting now. You really should take the time to learn and understand what it takes to lay your life down for others, I’m sure you wouldn’t dare joke about a soldier dying while charging a machine gun nest, or would you?

  • Sean Og


  • Dr Concitor

    Besides, the UK and Irish parliaments are stuffed full with middle class professionals. Lawyers academics, barristers, business people, economists, christ these parliaments are packed to the rafters with them to the exclusion of a whole social class.

    I was just thinking about Jimmy Reid(Clyde Shipbuilders) A passionate working class advocate. He didn’t get far in the British Labour party, and now someone of his outlook would not even bother. Below is a excerpt from a speech he made as rector of the University of Glasgow.

    Reject the values and false morality that underlie these attitudes. A rat race is for rats. We’re not rats. We’re human beings. Reject the insidious pressures in society that would blunt your critical faculties to all that is happening around you, that would caution silence in the face of injustice lest you jeopardise your chances of promotion and self-advancement. This is how it starts and before you know where you are, you’re a fully paid-up member of the rat-pack. The price is too high. It entails the loss of your dignity and human spirit. Or as Christ put it, “What doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his soul?

  • joeCanuck

    Chris, if he’s gambling, the worst case scenario is holding aces and eights.

  • White Horse


    You’ll find that the SDLP is Christian and Democratic but that it is a social democratic party which defers to the Catholic social conscience which has its basis in Matthew Ch 25, an important chapter.

    As to a dark side, in the context of a Troubles where sometimes self-protection meant making others think that you were onside I don’t think that any party can say that there was no dark side.

    As to where they got influence, through Dublin and that, the Troubles were a time when their influence was curtailed and then even mocked in certain circles.

    As to parapoliticians, a good word, a military word, the politics of bread and butter will soon eat them up.

  • WH, do you not see the SDLP hypocrisy in calling for accountability in policing and justice whilst using a mechanism that wasn’t open to scrutiny?

  • pippakin


    No, not the worst.

    Meehan is charged with child abuse finally happened today.

    Ruane is rumoured to be an option for MP for W Belfast.

    He is gambling and to be fair he could be good for Louth and the south, but events, events…

  • White Horse

    I don’t think anyone is going to fall out with them over that, Nevin.

    Policing and justice is still a sensitive matter. It has let down a lot of people.

  • becky

    louth is welcome to him.hes away with his british ministers pension to retire down below theres a lot of vols lying in milltown going nowhere.does he really think the peoples simple.

  • pippakin


    I feel for you and yours, really. The investigations are slow, for whatever reason! but they are happening, and if there is sufficient evidence or connection, the south will not be far enough away from justice.

    Actually the south would be more inclined than some areas to demand justice.

  • WH, I fail to see how such duplicity and two-facedness enhanced/enhances policing and justice. Actions will have flowed from such political interventions and the police may well have got the blame if things went tits up.

  • White Horse

    Surely there is a minister now in charge of that, Nevin. Are you suggesting that he can’t do the job he was favoured with ahead of the SDLP?

  • Barry the Blender

    Look to East Antrim, the entire Strangford/ North Down/ Ards Peninsula region and other pockets such as Carryduff/ Greater South Belfast (beyond the Lr Ormeau) for a credible Sinn Fein presence and you’ll quickly conclude your search to be one conducted in vain.

    Don’t go too hard on yourself Chris. You actually beat the Stoops in East Antrim last time round (which is no mean feat!)

    Alas, it would appear that Leonard has been demoted in favour of another local republican whose constituency status has stumped broader strategic considerations.

    An insider shinner admission that the “going to write a book” story was a load of balls?

  • Rory Carr

    I must say I am puzzled by White Horse’s assertion that the SDLP derives its social conscience from Matthew 25. While the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, the parable of the talents and the sorting out of the sheep and the goats at the Judgement all make for thoughtful reading I fail to see how they work themselves out in SDLP policy making.

    Do please tell us, White Horse.

  • WH, do you imagine he would practise the same level of duplicity that the SDLP has been engaged in? Perhaps he’s totally unaware of what the SDLP was up to.

  • White Horse

    Rory Carr

    I know you don’t understand what you read, that requires a certain warmth and humanity.

    Perhaps the same warmth and humanity that advocated peace when others advocated sociopathic solutions. All policies in the SDLP originate from the heart, compassion being central, rather than from our opponents endless strategising in a vain attempt to provbe that they are the most right in all of history. Indeed the most right of all.

  • White Horse


    Yes, I know he has no friends over the border. But clearly he has friends over the Irish sea. Duplicity, they do a lot of that. I’m sure he’s aware. I’m sure he’s in the middle of it now. But I’m sure that he won’t pay a blind bit of attention to all that nonsense.

  • Rory Carr

    With all that warmth and humanity that you exude, White Horse, could you not just spare a little bit for a poor soul like me who is incapable of understanding what he reads by answering my innocent question in very simple terms so that even a heartless brute such as I can comprehend..

    What part of SDLP policy was inspired by the wise (or foolish) virgins, the parable of the talents or the judgmental sorting of the sheep from the goats? The world awaits an answer.


    Here is a link to the Smullen Stickie stuff that the Provo Adams gang have nicked. The Sticks had the excuse that they were trying to brown nose the Soviets, who were popular at the time in useful idiot circles.
    Gerry Louth Mouth is good at excuses so no problem

  • White Horse


    As I suggest, the Catholic social conscience has its basis in Matthew Ch 25. But you need warmth to understand it. Indeed you need warmth to understand all of Christ’s teachings.

    Sociopathy writes its own script, beginning with Adam and Eve, and ending in Bethlehem..

  • Rory Carr

    Let me understand what you have just said….. the SDLP are the political expression of Catholic social conscience. I shall e-mail Margaret and ask her to confirm. Bit of a cold house for Proddies then, what?

    Those who follow the teachings of the Old Testament (which would include all religious of the Abrahamic tradition which includes Jews, Protestants, Orthodox and, yes, Roman Catholics, you dork!) are sociopaths, you still insist, leaving only Buddhists, Hindus, Zorastians, Shintoists, Confuscianists, Taoists, Marxists (like me) , agnostics, humanists and atheists and any number of other spiritual and non-spiritual philosophies as having any claim on sanity.

    You’re clearly stark, raving bonkers (although probably not a sociopath)..

  • White Horse


    What teaching of the Old Testament do Roman Catholics follow? I think you confuse the Readings at mass with their similarity of topic that the Catholic Church uses. But there is clear and fundamental difference in them.

    Marx said we need a just world but then Marxists say we need to kill to get power and then we need to kill to keep power. It is clearly a man made ideology owing a very great debt to sociopathy. It shares the Old Testament value system in that it changes the inter-national conflict and hatred of the Israelites to one based on class with an absurd attachment to materialism that betrays his own class and dishonours the human condition.

  • Rory Carr

    “What teaching of the Old Testament do Roman Catholics follow?”

    Well I can’t speak of which ones you follow but I believe that the Church is still pretty hot on the Ten Commandments.

    “I think you confuse the Readings at mass with their similarity of topic that the Catholic Church uses.”

    No I don’t. You should attend at a Mass to find out, or you could ask a priest if you know one. I am sure that some SDLP member might be able to point you in the direction of the nearest Catholic church.

    “But there is clear and fundamental difference in them.”

    No there isn’t, but if you insist that there is and being such an expert on the differences between the Old and New Testaments then you will point out these “clear and fundamental differences”. Won’t you ?

    You clearly have never read any of Marx’s writings so it is pointless engaging in any dialogue with you on his thoughts. It’s difficult enough trying to engage with you on the Old and New Testaments which you claim to be so expert on yet of which you prove to be so woefully ignorant and your total misunderstanding of the Catholic Church’s view on the Old Testament is woeful. You surely can’t be a Catholic yourself one would imagine and yet you are so gung-ho about “Catholic social conscience” that it seems you must be. Did you sleep all through your classes on Religious Education?

  • Rory Carr

    And before I retire….. you claimed in an earlier post to be familiar with the works of Erich Fromm who just happens to have considered that Marx was the great spiritual leader of our age and whom he included in a list of great spiritual leaders that included the Buddha, the Christ, Meister Eckhart, Marx and Freud and yet you are able to come out with that top-of-head clap-trap above. Who exactly do you think you are kidding?

    Stop! Read! Think! Then do it again and again and again and then you might begin, very diffidently to begin to speak.

    Good night.

  • White Horse

    Hard to know where to start, Rory.

    Ten Commandments. Taught as with all Old Testament laws as replaced by the New Testament imperative to “do onto others as you would have them do onto you.” The implication of Old Testament law is that man is evil and the implication of New Testament law is that man is good. So what do you think the teaching is from a Church that professes to believe in God?

    Marxism? I wouldn’t give it five minutes of my time. I have only to look at the nuclear weapons of the Russians to convine myself of its fraudalence. Clearly they hadn’t realised that capitalism has a million years of such nonsense to back its position. Sure they were going to out GNP the authors of GNP.

    Beyond that, though you may be attempting to proclaim a morality to the SInn Fein position, there is no evidence of any widespread appetite for such a position, and thankfully there will be no mention of it in Donegal SW where a coalition of the left has been mentioned. The left? No, still firmly on the right.

    We all like to acknowledge greatness, and Marx may have been a great man, but in history and in Sinn Fein I see no evidence of him actually understanding the nature of the human being. Marxism could have indeed lead to the defeat of the concept of a socially just world had the Catholic Church not stepped in, appointed a Polish Pope, and dominoed the whole absurd project.

  • pippakin

    I am hearing that: “reland’s difficulty is gerry Adams opportunity.”

    Maybe, and maybe it would be good for both, but he has so much dirty laundry…

    Only if time and of course events, allow.