Gerry Adams ‘stung’ in the Dail by Taoiseach over his past…

Okay, leaders Questions did not go to plan today. The subject under discussion was Welfare Reform. The Taoiseach had just taken a bit of roasting at the hands of Micheal Martin (over a planned 20% cut in the respite care grant).

Then it was Gerry’s turn with the Taoiseach (who was probably already in very bad twist). It all starts here, when Kenny gives him what sounds like an almost playful dunt over the Northern Bank robbery, in response to an earlier comment from Adams about the wealth of those sitting on the front bench.

…it ill-behoves you to come in here and talk about the raw emotion of women in particular in view of some of the incidents that have occured in your lifetime with which you have been associated.. but not just raw emotions but tragic consequences have resulted.

Then it gets serious… As soon as Kenny stops speaking, Deputy Adams rather than letting it lie, brings up the Taoiseach’s remarks about his own past

Kenny then turns to answer his question, and then at the end, he says…

I would love to hear you speak the truth about some elements of your past” Mr. Kenny told Mr. Adams. You might some day tell the truth about the tragedy and the remorse and about the compassion that should have been shown for Jean McConville. Maybe you might do that, Deputy Adams.

Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett pleads through an almost constantly haranguing from the President of Sinn Fein for a good two and a half minutes. Barrett then, reluctantly it seems, suspended the whole sitting for five minutes.

You can get the whole of the session here…

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  • Comrade Stalin

    If there’s anything that brings out whatever unionist tendancies I have it’s scenes like that. There is no way that shouting across the floor would be either expected or tolerated in the House of Commons.

  • Republic of Connaught

    Imagine allowing a whole host of Belfast TDs into the Dáil.

    Jaysus. 🙂

  • keano10

    To be honest Mick I thought Adams did really well in parts there particularly in the segment around 7-8 mins into your footage where he rammed home points about measures which Kenny has forced through without any semblance of an earlier manifesto commitment. Also Kenny’s grovelling attitude to Europe for which he has been equally lambasted by other parties.

    The truth is that both Kenny and Adams got under each others skins in this debate and so what? I enjoyed it. It’s not often these days that one sees a bit of good old fashioned political toe to toe combat 🙂

    No quarter asked…

  • Mick Fealty

    A Serjeant at Arms would be handy right enough

  • Barnshee

    What happened to “when you are in a hole stop digging”

  • Mick Fealty

    The only time I have ever heard Enda talk passionately and coherently about anything at length was in Glencree about ten years ago next summer and it was about the victims of terrorist violence.

    I really do think he hates Adams, quite earnestly, for what he did during the ‘armed struggle’, or at least for he is reputed to have done.

  • Harry Flashman

    What’s with Adam’s scruffy casual appearance? Very disrespectful I must say. Look at pictures of him visiting Downing Street or the White House and he’s very crisply dressed in sober suit, tie and often a well tailored overcoat.

    Here he is though in the highest forum of the Irish people, the only seat of representatives of the Irish Republic and he shows up looking like a polytechnic lecturer off to the pub for lunch.

    Shocking lack of respect for the Irish people.

  • Kevsterino

    I was wondering when the next Adams thread would pop up. It had been a long drought, eh?

  • Lionel Hutz

    It must also frustrate Enda no end to have to do that job at this time and have Gerry pushing a nonsense folksy bullshit on top of everything. If I were Taoseach and had to put up with that, I’d go through Gerry Adams for a shortcut.

  • zemblan

    I can’t quite believe that you concentrated on the smears from Kenny and said nothing about the important economic argument that Adams is making. Why precisely is it more important to focus on the former and not the latter? Has it not occurred to you that we are all in the midst of dehumanising austerity measures?

  • Mick Fealty

    Yes, of course. But most of those offering an ‘easy way out’ are also trying to sell you the equivalent of Brooklyn Bridge.

    Où est le plan de relance du M. Hollande maintenant?

  • JH

    Harry Flashman

    “Here he is though in the highest forum of the Irish people, the only seat of representatives of the Irish Republic and he shows up looking like a polytechnic lecturer off to the pub for lunch.”

    Don’t agree. The Dáil is a republican parliament; it should be of the people, not for the people. That means you should expect it to reflect what’s happening on the streets and farms outside. Keep your platitudes and shite for the Etonians at Westminster.

  • zemblan

    @Mick Fealty

    I think, for the sake of balance, that you should’ve mentioned something about Adams’ counter-argument to Kenny’s austerity government. Sadly, you focused on the smears and barbs of one of the most incompetent Irish leaders in recent memory, and used those smears as evidence of Adams’ criminality. A very poor show indeed.

    As for the ‘easy way out’, I’m not sure what you are talking about. Is it your opinion that the poorest in society should simply pay down the private debts of the banking community – even though they had precisely zero responsibility for the financial crisis? Is it really your considered opinion that the most vulnerable in Irish society should be taxed to death simply to pay for the outrageous gambling and mindless speculation of the financial community?

    Thank heavens I bothered to watch the video, otherwise I would’ve got the impression that Adams said absolutely nothing of any worth.

  • Mick Fealty

    I’m partly referring to a line in Gerry’s response, where he says the Taoiseach is doing the easy thing by crunching the poor. He is certainly doing that, but as Cormac Lucey said on Late Debate, before I posted this, higher income brackets in Ireland are paying much more of their whack than in any other country in Europe.

    What fails to impress me about Adams opposition is precisely what left me cold about the last opposition, is the lack of detail, or any sense he or the party is thinking seriously and independently about the countries ills. On this occasion he has not laid out a viable alternative, or even suggested the outline of an alternative route.

    For the record, I embedded the whole thing at the bottom so people could get BOTH Gerry’s presentation and what there is of substance in the Taoiseach’s answers. Nowhere else, I know of, has reported or made available the whole thing they’ve just reported the worst part of the exchange.

  • Harry Flashman


    So if President Obama addressed the Dail in a rumpled corduroy jacket, slacks and garish open-necked shirt you’d be comfortable with that would you? Even though he would only wear a respectable business suit and tie to address any other forum?

    Adams is insulting the Dail by his attire, plain and simple.

    When he goes to visit any other government, legislature or foreign dignitary he respects their office by dressing appropriately, by dressing in such a scruffy manner in the Dail he is plainly signalling his utter contempt for what he no doubt still thinks of as the Twenty-Six County Free State rump parliament.

    His insult is clearly well thought through and offensive to Dail Eireann, the only legitimate legislative forum of the Irish Republic, no matter what the IRA Army Council might still believe.

  • Here’s a link to Leader’s Questions in the official report. The heated exchange begins on page 34.

  • Mick Fealty

    I hadn’t seen it like that Harry, mostly because I am not a ‘suit’ myself and I don’t favour them as a badge of respectability.

    But within the limited grammar of powerful men, you have a point.

  • The question I ask is ‘who benefits politically from that type of exchange in the Dáil?’
    Is it Fine Gael, Sinn Fein of Fianna Fail?

    I think if I was Micheal Martin, I would have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I would not want my attack on the Taoiseach to be obfuscated by the exchange. On the other hand, I might be pleased, given that SF and FF are competing for much of the same political space, that somebody else is doing their dirty work.

  • Greenflag

    For a while there one was half expecting the ‘Blue Shirt ‘epithet to be flung across the Dail in a throwback to FF FG exchanges of the 50’s and 60’s and perhaps even later .

    Gerry Adams at least provided a public service in reminding the country that we have the highest paid -worst performing politicians in the EU . Taoiseach Kenny with nothing else to fall back on dragged up events from the past which had absolutely no relevance to the debate .

    While Mick states correctly above at 12 December 2012 at 7:01 am,

    ‘What fails to impress me about Adams opposition is precisely what left me cold about the last opposition, is the lack of detail, or any sense he or the party is thinking seriously and independently about the countries ills.’

    The then ‘last opposition ‘ is now the current government and they have had about as much independent thought about the country’s ills as Goldman Sachs had about the ‘advice ‘ they gave to their clients on the ‘worth’ of sub prime mortgage investments . FG & Labour are just rubber stamps for the Troika as indeed are FF . Ireland is no exception to the general rule throughout the western world that bankster’s get their way and the middle and lower income groups get shafted . Just look at the headlines HSBC have been making in the UK as just one more line item on a litany of theft and financial corruption that has no end in sight !

    Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin has now said his party will make Government TDs vote “line by line” on the controversial measures in the Social Welfare Bill.
    Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin are opposing the Government’s plans to pass the Bill by Friday.
    Fianna Fáil says it will force votes on the cuts to Child Benefit and the Respite care grant, as well as the hike in PRSI and the reduction in the Farm Assist Programme.

    Mr Martin said this is an opportunity for Government TDs to act in good conscience and vote against the Budget.

    Conscience ? Mar Dhea -what a joke

    Our 166 overpaid fat cats in the Dail could of course display their public conscience at this time by awarding themselves a cut of 20% or more on their salaries . Each TD’s cut could pay for the annual income shortfall of an estimated 400 euros for a dozen or more respite carers .

    What’s truly appalling in this debate is the silence of so called socialist now of the pink salmon variety Gilmore and other fatcats on Labour’s benches 🙁 .

    There are more than a few on Labour’s benches who should be feeling more than uneasy about their current coalition . Alas only former Junior Minister Roisin Shorthall had the courage to speak out and resign from this ‘Banksters Coalition ‘ to give it it’s proper name 🙁

    Irish Labour has no balls and I’m not referring to British Labour’s current Shadow Chancellor

  • Taoiseach

    And yet Kenny is happy to praise Michael Collins, have his painting on his wall in this office.

  • Greenflag

    Harry Flashman @ 12 December 2012 at 7:56 am

    ‘Adams is insulting the Dail by his attire, plain and simple.’

    Perhaps he’s not dressed for ‘success’ because the empty suits on the Government benches are probably the best example going in Europe of the maxim that appearances can be deceptive -in the world of politics and high finance -very often are . IIRC the World Ponzi Scheme thief and record holder Bernie Madoff now in a USA Federal Prison was sartorially custom suited to the last millimetre of his shirt sleeves.

    Imelda Marcos of the Phillipines former kleptocracy was also a natty dresser and oowned several thousand pairs of shoes despite being limited to two feet .

    Next up Harry you’ll be complaining that our Dail ushers are not dressed in the proper livery that befits their lowly station .

    Jesus wept but they crucified him anyway.

  • Mick Fealty


    “…somebody else is doing their dirty work”

    Bang on… Taoiseach got hit for this and for going off subject when they were supposed to be talking about the budget.

    It’s a party trick that the base will love, but of little comfort to Gerry who’s only realistically after FF (and Labour) votes.

    Enda is starting to show his weakness as Taoiseach (he has a poor grasp of detail that only ever looks good against Deputy Adams in the Dail), and that’s probably what prompted this counterattack…

    But it demonstrates Adams’ vulnerability in a parliamentary setting where there is no back door to make an exit from or producer that can be appealed to.

    He’s surrounded by political enemies who yet again get to see – up close and personal – what his personal weaknesses are.

  • pauluk

    It’s not hard to see who won that debate. The Taoiseach’s a cool customer.

  • Harry Flashman

    “Next up Harry you’ll be complaining that our Dail ushers are not dressed in the proper livery that befits their lowly station.”

    No Greenie, quite apart from the fact that the ushers of the Dail occupy a very important state role, if I went to my solicitor or my child’s headmaster and they couldn’t be bothered to dress in an appropriate manner I would not have confidence in them nor would I regard them as treating me with due respect. In the same way that if I visited them dressed sloppily then they would be correct to draw similar inferences from me.

    Workplaces have dress codes, some are casual but elected assemblies as the representation of the people are extremely formal places with, as can be seen from the clip, very formalised structures, rules and codes of acceptable behaviour.

    I clearly draw from Adams’ hypocritical way of dressing when visiting foreign legislatures and statespeople compared to how he dresses in the supreme forum of the Irish Republic that he regards the latter with contempt.

    One doesn’t need to be a stuck up snob to recognise a calculated insult when it is offered.

  • BarneyT

    Harry Flashman:
    I think there are more important things to focus on here other than attire.
    Others less concerned about fashion:
    It sounds to me that Gerry is always going to provide a “way out” for FF and FG and others. All they have to do introduce his past to debase him, irrespective of the matter in hand. He is perhaps the SF Achilles heel as a result of this (and I am aware there may be more)

    If GA did have an active past, and I am not going to go into that specifically, it would be a grave error of judgement to try to hide it. Many seem certain of his paramilitary involvement (not just consultative) so, this being the case, I cannot fathom why he has not declared. He could have turned many of the taunts into yesterday’s news with a clear and clean admission (assuming he has such a past)

  • Mick Fealty

    Seamus Mac Sheain’s said the same thing years ago on TG4. It was poor judgement at the time, if made for understandable ‘legal’ reasons. The comparison with Collins doesn’t stand since we all know what he did the war.

  • Jimmy Sands

    The open necked look was pioneered by the late Tony Gregory back in the day and caused much fuss at the time. 30 years on it’s not even noticeable.

  • Greenflag

    JImmy Sands ,

    ’30 years on it’s not even noticeable.’

    Except of course by that gimlet eyed follower of fashion one Harry Flash and Dash who makes the Skibereen eagle of yore focused eye on the Tsar of the Russias look like the one eyed Reilly of folk song fame .

    Your man Mick Wallace from Wexford makes Gerry Adams look positively staid in comparison what with pink open necked shirts and ponytails and what have you and then theres Ming ‘legalise marijuana of outer mongolia sorry Westmeath .

    Tony Gregory knew how to cut a deal though . He ‘priced ‘ old CJ Haughey to the penny for his ‘support ‘ back in the good old days before the even better good old days before the bad old and new days ,

    Plus ca change except for Harry Flash in the land of the lotus eaters ?

  • GavBelfast

    I’m sure it’s all very unedifying for the ‘British’ and ‘Northern Irish’ as identified in the census.

    Maybe even the ‘Irish’, too?

    Certainly is for me …. and I ticked all the boxes ….

  • Harry Flashman

    “Plus ca change except for Harry Flash in the land of the lotus eaters ?”

    Well I suppose if you want your national parliament to present itself to the world as resembling a particularly scruffy students’ union debating society that’s up to you.

    I’m sure when senior executives of major corporations and international agencies come to do business in Ireland they’ll be able to get an accurate impression of public standards in the country from looking at the cut of some of the yokels in the Dail.

    We in Asia have rather more exacting standards about how we like our public representatives to look.

    And in the future our national legislatures will be having a much more important role to play in shaping global affairs than anything that’s going on back in the oul sod.

  • Greenflag

    HF ,

    ‘if you want your national parliament to present itself to the world as resembling a particularly scruffy students’ union debating society that’s up to you.’

    I’d rather they passed effective legislation for the good of the country and ALL it’s people than just wear ‘suits and ties ‘ and sit on their tufts twiddling their thumbs or

    Heres a small sample of how politicians of other nations dress and more importantly behave in their houses of Parliament. By comparison the Irish and Brits who feature in this slug-fest are by far and away not the worst .

    While the Bolivians and Ukrainians are proper thugs you have to hand it those Asian women . By Christ some of them seem to be close to choking their political opponents to death 😉

    ‘We in Asia have rather more exacting standards’ ?

    Indeed- Chinese one party democracy ? Myanmar military dictatorship ? North Korean rocket launches while millions starve ? Indian ‘untouchables ‘ by the millions and those ever so tolerant Ayatollahs in Iran and Iraq and Pakistan ?

    Come on Harry -enough of your illusions now and get real . and enjoy the parliamentary fisticuffs and choking and bootboy tactics from all those suited thugs above in the first link 🙂

  • David Crookes

    Mick, many thanks for providing us with the video link. Two things struck me: GA’s infinite capacity for self-iindulgence, and the speaker’s inability to deal with him. In a properly adminstered assembly, GA would have been taken away by two suitably large gentlemen.

    GA’s attire was deliberately chosen. He wasn’t being a World Statesman yesterday: he was being a Man of the People. Let us not misunderstimate the first truly modern Taoiseach! It is possible that historians will speak of EK much more kindly than some of today’s commentators. It is even possible that electors in the RoI will see EK as the winner of yesterday’s exchange with the Weeping Crocodile.

    I wonder if SMASH SINN FEIN will ever become a slogan in the RoI. Whatever the case, it is very good for democracy that we can watch such a fascinating exchange in our own homes.

  • Greenflag

    Lest I forget Harry here’s a compendium of the Mother of Parliaments on the ‘lighter side ‘ having lots of raucous fun and games while the kingdom is strapped to the rack of austerity for everybody else bar these clowns and their financial bankster pals and those ever so sartorially correct Old Etonians 😉
    BTW they all appear to be well suited to their jobs bar the guy in the middle wearing the funny wig and gown

  • babyface finlayson

    “I was wondering when the next Adams thread would pop up. It had been a long drought, eh?”
    I’m confused.Are you saying there has been too many or not enough?

  • C’mon, Harry, be fair. You can’t expect someone struggling on an average industrial wage to be able to afford Armani suits shirts and ties.

  • Kevsterino

    Babyface, no need for confusion. I didn’t say there were too many or not enough. Only that they are, er, regular. Sort of like a metronome. I think some folks miss having him around at times like these. It’s no big deal either way to me. I didn’t think he did anything all that interesting this time, but you can’t win them all.

  • babyface finlayson

    Its just when you say there has been a drought, it rather contradicts the point you are making about how regular they are.
    Apart from that, there certainly appears to be no love lost between Enda and Gerry.
    I don’t think Gerry is very good at that bread and butter stuff.
    He makes heavy work of what should be easy point scoring.

  • Barnshee

    ” don’t think Gerry is very good at that bread and butter stuff.
    He makes heavy work of what should be easy point scoring”

    Its easy on the touchline to tell the players that they and the ref are crap.. Unfortunately when you get on the field you may be no better (or worse). Gerry reminds me of second tam player whining to get on the firsts who ihs a disaster wen finaly promoted”

  • latcheeco

    Ho hum,
    If wear Armani you’re damned and if you don’t your damned.
    I wouldn’t want to make your head explode but he has form -when he was invited over to deepest Chelsea for an evening with Whitelaw back when he was never in the RA, he proudly sported a huge hole in the elbow of his jumper- and then there’s the tragic duffle coat years. But then that’s not why they love him and vote for him in their thousands.

  • Harry Flashman

    Greenie I wasn’t aware they’d moved Bolivia and Ukraine to Asia.

    How and ever my point remains the future of the world is being written in strange and exotic Asian languages very few of which are currently being taught in Ireland (do Irish schools still teach that obsolete language French?).

    There’s a possibility that Britain might retain some residual influence on the world stage alas Ireland is bound for absolute obscurity.

    Do you know how difficult it is to explain where or what Ireland is in Asia? It’s not like there’s even a decent football player that you can use as a point of reference, and that last vestige of Ireland on an international stage, the Irish pubs, have all shut down to be replaced by karaoke joints where young Asians sing the latest Korean boyband songs.

    You can always sell the Asians beef I suppose, there’s little else they need. A word of warning though, when the trade delegation arrives from Beijing or Jakarta or wherever tell Gerry to trim his beard and at least put a tie on. You know how punctilious Asians are about respect and status.

    They’d be mighty offended if they thought a particularly inarticulate farm hand had been included on the welcoming committee.

  • RegisterForThisSite

    Actually they could learn a thing or two from Westminister, I mean the opening of Parliament is Christmas Panto come early all those blokes in tights and olde worlde gear going thro the panto with Black Rod, much more professional than them eejits in Dublin.

    Although those wigs in the Lords don’t look real, and I think they should buy a comfy chair instead of using that wool sack

  • RegisterForThisSite

    Don’t think they can mess it up with the Chinese as much as Cameron did, and he was warned as well not to wear a poppy. Like thats just an insult of the highest order. So don’t think Gerry needs protocol lessons from the brits afterall better a farmhand than a drugpusher

  • galloglaigh
  • Greenflag

    Harry Flashman @ 13 December 2012 at 1:58 am

    ‘ I wasn’t aware they’d moved Bolivia and Ukraine to Asia’

    No need to worry Harry they haven’t . I did’nt want to just link the thuggery of the suited parliamentarians from Taiwan or South Korea lest you might think I’m being anti Asian and singling them out as being especially ‘forceful’ in their parliamentary debates /debacles etc 😉

    ‘How and ever my point remains the future of the world is being written in strange and exotic Asian languages ‘

    No -your point to which I responded was Gerry Adams lack of sartorial suitedness in the Dail Chamber as signifying a lack or respect for the institution -a point which I and several others here have stated is one which is entirely in your creative imagination.

    ‘There’s a possibility that Britain might retain some residual influence on the world stage ‘

    I agree that’s a possibility but primarily as a member of the EU and in a few years the Eurozone area and assuming that their bankster sector doesn’t destroy the UK economy entirely between now and then 🙁

    ‘ alas ‘Ireland is bound for absolute obscurity.’

    I’ve always accepted that Ireland is not the centre of the universe. Having lived in Asia and Africa for several years I’m fully aware of our relative insignificance from an Asian perspective . Nonetheless even the NI FM and DFM managed a trade visit a few weeks back to China and that country’s next leader made a three day visit to the Republic earlier this year .Quite a few Irish agribusinesses are in production in China in the dairy sector among others .There are about 150 economies worldwide of even lesser significance that the Irish economy so for our population we’re doing fine .

    Sorry to hear your local Irish pub has closed down . I guess even in Asia this recession is having an impact on disposable income levels .

    If I don’t cross swords with you before Christmas have a happy one and enjoy the sunshine and don’t be gettin upset over Gerry Adam’s or any other politician’s sartorial choices . Not worth a candle to be honest .:)

  • Greenflag

    @ galloglaigh ,

    LOL – well spotted -another shower of politicians having difficulties with ‘democracy ‘

    Did you notice how many were wearing suits and ties unlike that disrespectful Adams chap in the Dail 😉 ?

  • Greenflag

    @ RegisterForThisSite – 13 December 2012 at 3:04 pm

    ‘Don’t think they can mess it up with the Chinese as much as Cameron did, and he was warned as well not to wear a poppy. ‘

    Don’t tell me he wore a poppy on a visit to China after being warned ? Good grief 🙁 His lack of nous in foreign affairs is becoming a major hall mark of his term of office .

    For those stout defenders of Briton’s right to wear the poppy which is fair enough imo -but not for an entire month as seems now to be the case – the Chinese were at one time under pressure from Great Britain & Ireland (circ 1900) to allow British merchants to traffic in opium to the mass markets of China . George Orwell’s father was the main narcotics agent in Asia at the time employed by the then British Government . Apparently this was Britain’s only way to redress the huge trade imbalance which they then had with Imperial China which was rapidly depleting then Britain’s gold and silver reserves .

    Coming on top of HSBC’s payment of a 2 billion dollar fine for alleged money laundering in the USA for Mexican drug lords and ‘trading ‘ for Al Queda types there must be more than a few folks out there who must conclude with that wretched cliche of cliches 🙁

    Plus ca change plus c’est le meme chose 🙁

    It’s in French for Harry’s benefit above who apparently assumes that it (French ) is passe if not obsolete 😉

  • IrelandNorth

    I note with interest that the Taoiseach didn’t deny Dep Adams’ claim that his FG front bench cabinet colleagues were millionaires. And his Northern Bank smart alec put down of Dep Adams raises an interesting rhetoriacal reply. What bank if any is funding/has funded Fine Gael? Surely not Anglo-Irish! Also, it also easy to find a neighbouring jurisdiction to justify rounding down Carer’s Allowance, an annual allowance which is equivalent to TDs weekly allowances. And the hoary old question still haunts the Taoiseach like the ghost of Jacob Marley haunted Ebnezer Scrooge – why should the class who didn’t wreck the economy be responsible for unwrecking it? Bah humbug macro ecomnomics? And Taoiseach – people don’t choose to emigrate. They’re forced to emigrate to choose employment. Sadly, Enda is a Taoiseach for Dublin 4 not Dublin 24.

  • Harry Flashman

    Sorry Greenie, I didn’t see your reply to mine, the poppy faux pas by Cameron was a bit idiotic I’ll grant you that.

    Anyways, have a very Merry Christmas yourself, I’ll be working that day myself to allow my Christian colleagues to enjoy their day off.

    All the very best to you and yours for the season that’s in it.