No one in Irish political journalism does Shakespearean allusion with more flair than John Drennan. He may be wrong about the timing of the end of the Sinn Fein President’s political career, but he’s certainly right that Adams’ career is more easily accounted for by reference to literary as opposed to purely political figures. The Corleones are as sound a reference as Machiavelli. Or, indeed, the late great leader of Fianna Fail:
just like Charlie, who created a Gatsby-style palace of deceit to sustain the illusion of Haughey the modern Irish chieftain, Mr Adams has created a veritable Taj Mahal of illusion to hide the more crimson weave of his past associations.
Within a Dail populated essentially by bank clerks and school teachers Mr Adams is unique for he is no mere TD or politician.
Gerry instead, is a literary figure, an author, a philosopher, a Buddhist who hugs trees and perhaps most important of all, a form of international celebrity.
As with Haughey, Mr Adams’ authority is also enhanced by the manner in which he is surrounded by rumour, fear and, in some cases, awe, for he is – depending on your point of view – either Ireland’s last living war hero or a war criminal.
Of course just like Haughey in his final year, Mr Adams has made it clear he intends to go on and on like one of those Chinese leaders.
But intriguingly, just like Haughey too, it is the women that have done for Adams.
When it came to Haughey, the signature moment which signalled the grass had begun to grow under his feet was the election of Mary Robinson.
In the case of Mr Adams, the first woman who has been the catalyst for his endgame is the unquiet ghost of Jean McConville.
Suddenly after a long hiatus, a young country of Google employees and Superquinn Moms are freshly disgusted by the Grimm gothic tales of Mr Adams’ history.
As the old man himself once said, “Never explain, never apologise”.
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