“Adams’s dud email list of possible suspects make his honeyed words seem very hollow…”

Two good pieces well worth noting over the weekend on the big southern story of last week, Gerry Adams and that list he sent to the Guards. Both put their finger on something important. First Miriam Lord in the Irish Times:

Perish the thought that this inconsequential email was sent with the express intention of further burnishing Gerry’s halo. Withhold information? Sure didn’t he contact the commissioner herself, with names and all?

The reimagining of Adams continues. It is infinitely preferable to what went before. But maybe, just maybe, the Sinn Féin president and his advisers have been a bit too clever for their own good with that pre-election confessional to the commissioner. The party leader’s expressed willingness to co-operate in the fight to bring Brian Stack’s killers to justice provoked his sons to speak out, confidentiality agreement or not. They say they know otherwise. He certainly didn’t tell the commissioner the full story and, for obvious reasons, he was never going to.

But Gerry wanted to have it both ways – to look good in public by professing to do one thing while not doing it at all. The Stacks’ version of events, added to Adams’s dud email list of possible suspects and now his admission that he won’t name the IRA man who knows what happened, make his honeyed words seem very hollow indeed. Time to retreat behind the peace process.

And Eilis O’Hanlon, who offers a relatively benign explanation of Adams odd behaviour over the Stack case:

It makes no sense whatsoever that he would claim to have been given certain names by Austin Stack, because Austin could refute his allegations immediately; but then it makes even less sense that Austin would have given him the names, as the entire purpose of the meeting was to get information from SF and the IRA, not the other way round. They were not coming to the republican movement from a position of knowledge which they wished to share with the IRA; the IRA already knew who planned and carried out the shooting of Brian Stack.

They were going to them as frustrated people who had hit a brick wall in their own enquiries, and now, as a last resort, were imploring republicans themselves to share what information they had.

But if Adams does not actually remember the exact sequence of events, but is merely trying to make sense of them in retrospect, then it makes perfect sense that he would, as he has on so many previous occasions, alight on little bits and pieces of information, like a magpie picking up shiny things in the grass and building a nest from them. Being asked afterwards to recall where all the fragments came from is impossible.

O’Hanlon references Adams’ interview with Audrey Carville last Friday morning, and makes this point:

 He’s always trying to play two contradictory roles at the same time. On the one hand, the strong leader who brought SF/IRA through the long war; on the other, the victim who has also suffered every bit as much as the Stacks.

On the [other] hand, the democratic politician with the same respect for the law as every other TD; on the other, the man bound by loyalty to keeping the secrets of a deadly illegal gang.

It’s when he’s asked to reconcile these two elements – as when Carville asked him whether he would give the name of the IRA member who met the Stacks – that the carefully constructed facade falls apart. He cannot keep playing both roles, but nor can he pick between them. He’s trapped.

And she, rightly in my view, concludes that a key problem exposed over and over again in these now semi regular crises is that Adams is paying the price for his longevity as a politician. Inevitably, his long political life brings the muddy boots of his past with him:

If you’ve lived a lie for a long time, a secret life, some details of which must be kept even from people who are closest to you, then you need to retain control at all times. When it starts to slip is where the “rabbit caught in headlights” look comes from.

Adams is also something of a gambler, in the Donald Trump mould; he will risk an extra detail here or an off-the- cuff remark there by playing the percentages. Nine times out of 10, you get away with it. For the one in 10 times that you don’t, improvise. When no consequences are imposed by those behind you in the party, there’s no incentive not to bet the farm the next time either.

One texter to Newstalk last Friday, while no supporter of Sinn Fein, felt that using the murder of Brian Stack as a stick with which to beat Adams was to impose the standards of 2016 on to events of 1983 – but that’s what happens when you try to impose the leaders of 1983 on to the political situation in 2016. They bring 1983 with them.

Adams is a relic. He is a 20th century politician struggling to keep his feet in a 21st century world. That’s not a judgement on his age, but on his abnormal longevity at the top of a movement which does not allow dissent. Gerry lives in a world that no longer exists except in his own head.

Somewhere in Jung’s literature he argues that psychological complexes begin as something that is first kept secret from others and then over time, becomes a secret from the subject himself. The complex appears to the subject to be something operating outside himself and in the world.

It may be a variation of (or a partial explanation for) Harry Frankfurt’s general dictum that “the bullshiter is indifferent to the truth in a way that the liar is not”. It might also explain why the world Mr Adams experiences is different from everyone else’s?


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  • Declan Doyle

    Neither of your Rabid Anti-Adams commentators have picked up on a glaring hole in their diatribes; the fact that the neither Gaurds or the commissioner herself have thought to pull Adams for questioning on the basis of witholding information pertinant to a live murder investigation, despite the fact that he has clearly stated he will cooperate with such a call.
    The Story didnt make headlines in any of the weekend papers, probably for that very reason.
    The Stacks will wake up this morning none the wiser, shinners will go back to work and by Wednesday we will be all talking about Brexit again.
    The media circus is all very entertaining for those in its ranks who believe they are more important then the justice system when it comes to such things. A thrilling few days of carefully staged maciavellian drama played out to a confused audience weary of the ‘get Gerry’ obsession.
    Anyway. Next !?

  • Granni Trixie

    So,predictably ‘no story there, move on’ is the best you can do? You obviously didn’t read the Irish Times at the weekend — and it wasn’t just that Miriam Lord depicted Gerry as a joke passing as politican.

  • Declan Doyle

    Did you happen to read Martina Devlin’s piece? You won’t find it quoted on here that’s for sure.

  • RWP

    So does GA know who killed Brian Stack? If not, why doesn’t he just say so? If he does, or if he thinks he knows who the culprits are, then why not inform the police?

  • mac tire

    Here is Gene Kerrigan’s take on it in the Sunday Indo yesterday.


    Has to be read into the record, Mick.

  • Croiteir

    first the trial then the hanging – protocol at all times

  • RWP

    Is that code for “stop asking inconvenient questions and give Adams some slack” ??

  • Jollyraj

    Perhaps he’s afraid that, if he were to name the killer then the guilty party might follow suit and tell us all who ordered him to do it? Just a thought.

  • Jollyraj

    And when was Stack’s trial?

  • Croiteir

    Along the same time as the rest murdered during the troubles

  • RWP

    Ah that’s OK then.

  • RWP

    So much for the promise to cooperate fully with the police as pledged at the 2007 Ard Fheis

  • mickfealty

    Everything in its proper order mac. Farrell may well have been acting a complete eejit, but is Gene or indeed anyone else suggesting that that email was anything other than complete codology by Adams?

    The whole of Late Debate was railroaded off the core point (Adams’s working with the Guards was a sham to relieve him of legitimate political pressure, and that his lying to the Dail is a serious breach of public trust) using the self same logic Gene is using here.

    Farrell’s biggest offence in my view was to contribute to the Adams smokescreen.

  • Jollyraj

    Indeed. So no trial at all then, just the death sentence for an innocent and law-abiding Irish citizen, passed down to the goon squad on the ground from the Adams equivalent in the IRA at the time, whomever that was.

    And Mr Adams, who aspires to rule Ireland, apparently has detailed knowledge of this which he refuses to share.
    I’m certainly no legal expert but…doesn’t that act of protecting the perpetrator suggest, at best, that he condones the crime and, at worst, is an accessory after the fact?

  • Croiteir

    As learned from the practice of such iluminaries as the FRU, being Irish means your guilty so are guilty one and all.

    Which is why the murders perpetrated by all combatants, from the British Army and their unionist goons to the IRA et al need to be pursued with the vigour and intensity that is being directed at Gerry Adams.

  • Declan Doyle

    Adams has already said he doesnt know who killed mr Stack.

  • RWP

    Then why did he meet Austin Stack with the stated intention of giving more details on the murder, then tell Austin Stack that he had emailed the police with 5 names of people he (GA) suspected of being involved? He only changed his story later.

  • Declan Doyle

    Your last sentence shows that you most likely disrespect the Dail as much as you claim Adams does.

  • Declan Doyle

    Incorrect. He agreed to a request by Austin Stack to help him meet someone who get info. Thats all.
    Also, he emailed the Gaurds with the names that Austin stack had provided him with, nothing more.

  • RWP

    You don’t think that’s a bit implausible? Why would Austin Stack give the names to GA? According to Mr Stack Jnr, it was the other way around, which would make more sense as GA is the senior republican with an inside knowledge of who was likely involved.

    Seems to me like GA is a bit like Trump in that he can say that most shamelessly implausible things but just sit there smiling and undermine anyone who attacks him as having a malicious agenda.

    Due to his status in the republican movement, he is like teflon. As with Corbyn, he could be accused of molesting chickens and his support would go up because he’d be portrayed as “the innocent victim of a M16/British media campaign to undermine the case for a united Ireland blah blah blah….”

  • Declan Doyle

    Seems like you have it all worked out then

  • RWP

    That’s what’s called putting all the known facts together in order to form a likely view of what happened, then querying why GA’s (inconsistent) version differs from the known facts

  • Declan Doyle

    Good for you, Bravo

  • mickfealty

    Aye, right.

  • Declan Doyle

    Yes, you are clear. Farrells behaviour took the pressure off Adams. What you have said is this; it doesnt matter if a TD abuses Dail privilege, it doesnt matter if a TD connects two innocent men to a murder and it doesnt matter if a TD misleads the house and the Ceann comhairle; as long as his intention is to ‘get gerry’. This suggests that there are no limits to which you and your friends in FF and INM will go to in order to ‘get gerry’.
    Thats what you have essentially said.
    Therein lies the real danger. Bertie today and Vincent Browne tonight along with Ann Cadwaleder (who again wiped the floor with Fianna Gael) back up completely the importance of confidentiality in these matters and further show up the grotesque practice of using the dead for nothing more than political expediency.
    As an editor of such an esteemed site u should hang your head in shame at the abuse been meted unto the stack family by the INM/FF axis of deception for political expediency.
    The damage this could cause in the fight to secure peace and justice to hundreds of families is immeasureable.
    A sensational backfire with shocking consequences.

  • RWP

    So you agree GA is dissembling, then?

  • john millar

    “Ann Cadwaleder (who again wiped the floor with Fianna Gael) back up completely the importance of confidentiality in these matters and further show up the grotesque practice of using the dead for nothing more than political expediency.”

    Confidentiality is the fig leaf for ALL the murderers
    No confidentiality NO exceptions Prod/ Mick Police/ Army
    Let it all hang out (If not we might be living next door to them)