Will Gerry Adams’ ‘significant address’ effect a return to Stormont?

Michelle O’Neill has finally wrested the microphone away from the boss. Privately she’s well considered by folks in Northern Irish civil society, but to be honest, if she doesn’t start inhabiting a leadership space soon, it will be hard for anyone outside the party to take SF’s NI participation seriously.

Apparently, the party’s think in at the City North Hotel will “focus on the current talks aimed at restoring power-sharing in Northern Ireland”. Good. But then, how? A new election they know their rivals in the SDLP can ill afford might help reframe the debate.

Or the threat of one might force them to behave and come back into the fold Executive? Let’s not forget the most proximate reason Sinn Fein buckled in the heat of the RHI affair after just seven months in office was the unprecedented level of scrutiny that NI’s first opposition in nearly fifty years.

Adams is scheduled to make a ‘significant address’ this morning. Will he go back in, force an election or put it on the long finger? Your guess is as good as mine. But a collapsed NI democracy is more of a rotting albatross than a vote winner in the south than many in NI tend to assume.

Whether they like it or not, the scope for future action in the Republic cannot be dictated by the party alone. As Fiach Kelly notes in the Irish Times:

Even though many of his TDs are open to it, [Micheal] Martin said at the weekend that “Fianna Fáil’s established policy on Sinn Féin is that it is unfit for government in Dublin and we will oppose any and all efforts by them to get into government.”

Some in Sinn Féin believe that will change if the post-election numbers allow for a coalition but Martin must be judged on his record of not bowing to pressure to enter government with Fine Gael.

Even those in Fianna Fáil who would do a deal with Sinn Féin say two things must happen before talks can even be countenanced: Adams has to stand aside and the Northern Ireland Executive must be functioning.

Eyes down, look in

 

  • Dan2

    The words he needs to come up with are an acceptance that manners have been put on him and Sinn Fein won’t dictate to Unionists who the First Minister will be.

  • mickfealty

    Aye, right. This is a forum for grown ups Dan2.

  • Dan2

    Delete it the, you know you want to.
    Condescending know all

  • ted hagan

    So there’s your answer then Mick…. Adams is bowing out.
    I’m a bit surprised at his timing.

  • WindowLean

    Gerry going…sometime during 2018?? 70th birthday – 6 Oct 2018??

  • Granni Trixie

    I’m wondering if Malachi ODohertys book about Adams life to be published on Thursday has been the final nail in his coffin?

  • ted hagan

    Not really, I don’t think. Stuff like that is water off a duck’s back at this stage of the game. And I don’t get the impression there will be much in the book to frighten the horses.

  • mickfealty

    He’s being significant, without actually telling us anything? https://goo.gl/JKsDSH

  • ted hagan

    Indeed, all a bit Kremlinesque.

  • ted hagan

    And on that auspicious date will he then announce: “I haven’t gone away you know”?

  • Granni Trixie

    it is sure to revive all the worst bits of Adams story such as how he mismanaged his daughters accusations of abuse by her father (.now in jail). And from excerpts I see there are certainly other stories which are new to me. Definitely a book worth buying.

  • Granni Trixie

    Isnt it a bit unwise to announce right now that he is stepping down if 2018 is the date he plans to leave the stage – will colour everything he says and does from now on. No, it either means he’s going sooner and/or he is under internal pressure.

  • ted hagan

    Just to make it clear, Granni, It was his niece..

  • Granni Trixie

    Many thanks for correcting the facts – i knew it was the niece yet made a mistake in writing – a mistake I have corrected.

  • babyface finlayson

    Didn’t Tony Blair announce his resignation a year in advance? Perhaps Gerry is emulating him!
    I seem to remember it triggered some unrest in the Labour Party at the time.

  • mickfealty

    Yep, and very politburo. Democratic centralism hasn’t died, it’s only resting.

  • Granni Trixie

    But surely his decision to move on can’t be just about him approaching 70 (now that would be ageist but because he has been in the same role for yonks and new blood needed.

  • Brian O’Neill

    Maybe he just has 2 weeks booked in Magaluf…

  • Oggins

    Brian, he would be more of a Santa Ponza man ?

  • Surveyor

    “Force them to behave”. Sums up this site to a T.

  • Stephen Kelly

    Doesn’t it just, on another post Karl called all of us nationalist voters political pygmies along with the politicians we vote for, northern Ireland is never going to change ever. My solution is both sides get together insist on the block grant being increased by 5 billion, then everybody can have free wood pellets free tin whistles orange halls GAA halls whatever and just subtract the few pounds left over from next years grant see simple everybody happy. Money is the solution lots and lots of it.

  • mickfealty

    That was a reference to SF ‘putting manners on’ the SDLP. (Here’s the phrase plucked randomly from the Slugger archive: https://goo.gl/Ts46mm)

  • mickfealty

    Erm, Karl is a nationalist commenter Stephen.

  • Brian O’Neill

    Irish republicans have the right to free determination of their package holiday resorts…?

  • mac tire

    So I’m sure you disagree with “Force them to behave” as much as you did with the “putting manners on the SDLP” put down since you are setting them in the same ballpark?

    Or am I to conclude that, it being difficult to disagree with something you have just written, that “putting manners on the SDLP” is acceptable now? Or on the PSNI (if my memory serves me right)?

    Though you are on to something, in a way. Manners (lack of) is a big part of the problem. You would only think that was the problem of one party on here.

  • mickfealty

    One of the most invidious developments in politics in recent years is its displacement by a certain class of “politics of manners”. But I’m really not sure where we’re missing each other here?

  • babyface finlayson

    Gerry told the press that Michelle O’Neill was going to the West Indies for a break, to which one hack replied
    “Jamaica?”
    “Absolutely not” said Gerry, “it was an Ard Chomhairle decision!”
    Coat please.

  • Karl

    My belief in a 32 (31 – never been able to like Roscommon much) county republic that is in no way socialist, with free everything for the children, the elderly and the chronically sick – nothing for the healthy between 20 and 70, supporting the EU, marriage equality, abortion in limited circumstances, and a broad tax base is unshakable.

    Having said that, there are mornings after the night before when I’d give it all up for a cold can of Irn Bru and a toasted grilled chicken sandwich with onion, lettuce and garlic mayonnaise.

    If that makes me a nationalist commentator, so be it.

  • Karl

    The block grant is already 5 billion over where it should be. Add another 5 billion and everyone living there will be a crocodile, which I suppose is fine if the money lasts and theres no thought to the future or alternatives.

  • mickfealty

    Commenter. There’s a difference.

  • Karl

    Not in my head. ;0)

  • Barneyt

    I’m trying to figure out the order here. Is the chicken both toasted and grilled…. a bit like our assembly?

  • Karl

    The sandwich is toasted, the chicken is grilled, the scots are the DUP, the UUP are the english and the Irn Bru represents NIs begging bowl which as it consumes, slowly atrophies its will and pride until it is no more until it is recycled into a UI.
    Pretty clear, no?

  • Nicholas Whyte

    Slightly off topic, but is it really the general perception that the Executive collapsed because of “the unprecedented level of scrutiny that [sic] NI’s first opposition in nearly fifty years”?

    I know I am sitting far from the heart of the action, but it seemed to me that 1) the media rather than the opposition drove the issue and 2) the political dynamics would have been much the same if the Executaive had had five parties rather than two and an independent.

    But I’m ready to be educated/

  • mac tire

    “I’m really not sure where we’re missing each other here?”
    Consistency on your part? Anyway, no biggie, just thought I would ask.

  • mickfealty

    What’s the problem with using either?

  • Stephen Kelly

    Oooooops

  • Stephen Kelly

    I can assure you hundreds of thousands of nationalists will not waste their money buying or their time reading a book written by
    Malachi ODoherty on Jerry Adams it will just be a big zzzzzzz. Would love to know in a few months how many he shifts.

  • Granni Trixie

    I’m sure he researched it thoroughly. Should interest Anyone interested in local politics. I always think he is insightful when I hear him on the radio. Give him a chance.

  • john millar

    I think a possessive apostrophe between the e and the s of nieces -(niece`s) is all that is needed. I know I need to get out more

  • john millar

    “I can assure you hundreds of thousands of nationalists will not waste their money buying or their time reading a book written by
    Malachi ODoherty on Jerry Adams it will just be a big zzzzzzz. ”

    Agree– entirely tho if he wrote a book on SF`s Gerard Adams
    (Gearóid Mac Ádhaimh) it might sell

  • Granni Trixie

    Quite.

  • james

    Certainly Sinn Fein voters, if told not to, won’t.

    Hundreds of thousands of other nationalists, unionists and those farther afield might, though. Certainly could sell well in the US.

  • Granni Trixie

    Just back from the launch of Odhertys book where Finatan Otoole called him ” the awkward voice”. Standing room only so there are many who grasp the significance of this book. Americans will lap it up as an antidote to the usual self produced tripe.

  • mickfealty

    It’s mine, but I could not, in all honesty, claim it was widely shared.

    1, SF were appraised of RHI ahead of Fresh Start. And before last year’s Assembly election. Opposition (or, more accurately, SF’s isolation in government) is the only notable novel factor here.

    2, whilst I noted the opposition overreached itself at the time, the prime reason SF freaked was that they had no one else to blame in government. This explains why the DUP was suddenly a deal breaker, after nearly 10 years of power sharing. Deflector shield down.

    3, the diaphanous nature of SF’s red lines suggests this is a huge bluff on their part. And for the most part the media seems happy to play along. Today (an evicerated) ILA, tomorrow Bill of Rights, day after, who knows?

    4, The sheer haste with which Sinn Fein abandoned its position over a single weekend in December leaving its assembly party to vote with the DUP but with a last minute gambit to try and delegitimise the speaker. It has #FakeNews screaming at ten decibels at us.

    5, The fact that the timing of the next southern election appears be emerging as a talking point in the current negotiations suggests what’s being managed here is not democracy but SF’s political weakness re in its inability to sell PowerSharing to its own voters.

    6, the descent of nationalist politics into base sectarianism citing Arlene’s character flaws as a reason for busting powersharing, is a sign of weakness not strength. Yet journalists in Belfast are generally treating northern nationalism as a consequence free zone. Again, that’s a weakening not a strengthening factor.