Gerry Adams and that apology

    I’m just off air from the Nolan show where I was discussing with Gregory Campbell and another individual (whose name I missed) the apology that Gerry Adams offered in the Dail for the killing of garda Jerry McCabe. It wasn’t a discussion that got very far but it did raise a number of issues that bear further consideration.
    1. What else would Gerry Adams, could Gerry Adams have done in the circumstances, than apologise? The press in the south get very upset – not unreasonably – when one of their police officers is killed. They don’t have the same sense of tragedy  when a police officer in the north is killed, otherwise they wouldn’t have leap-frogged the more recent killing of PSNI man Ronan Kerr to arrive at the killing of garda Jerry McCabe. But then that might have revived memories of Martin McGuinness’s robust reaction to the Kerr killing and how he condemned Kerr’s killers as traitors, and that might have given  political traction to Gerry Adams and Sinn Féin. And that wouldn’t do at all at all.
    2. Gregory, when pressed about apologies from the state, said that David Cameron had apologised and anyway, the IRA killed more people than anyone else. That’s the kind of muddying of waters that leads to discussions going nowhere. David Cameron apologized for Bloody Sunday, full stop. He didn’t apologise for the killing of the innocents of Ballymurphy, he didn’t apologise for the killing of Pat Finucane – he apologised for one mass slaughter by state forces. Thanks, David. As for who killed most: in the great majority of armed conflicts, that’s exactly the idea: who can kill the most. Hence Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Dresden. So to take the discussion up that bye-road was pointless.
    3. Gregory kept talking about the need for sincere apology about IRA killings north of the border but he couldn’t quite bring himself to talk about the need for apologies from the RUC, the UDR, the British Army.  That would be to draw some sort of parallel between the two sides engaged in the conflict and that is one thing  unionism has always resisted. 
    4. Gregory talked about the context of this apology by Gerry Adams, as I did myself. The one context we didn’t get round to talking about was the state of this state pre-Troubles. About the development of the civil rights groups in response to that state; and about the response of the RUC, UDR and then the British Army to those civil rights groups and anyone who looked like they might want to change the state for so long wrapped up in a big cosy Orange sash.  But then if we had got round to establishing that context, there might have to be some apologising done for the warped state that existed here and the damage it did to so many lives for so long.
    5. Will we ever hear the British and unionism acknowledge their sustained wrong-doing, both before and during the Troubles?  I would say never, never, never, never, except the word has become devalued. Let’s say you’d be better not holding your breath and leave it at that.

    5 Responses to Gerry Adams and that apology

    1. Anonymous January 30, 2013 at 11:28 am #

      You might want to read Miriam Lord's piece on yesterday's proceedings in the Dail.It seems to sum up fairly well the views of the major parties in the South on Mr Adams.

    2. Anonymous January 30, 2013 at 2:18 pm #

      It's 'Dáil', not 'Dail', it might seem insignificant but in any other article would you misspell the name of a government office? Just because it's unfamiliar doesn't mean you should skirt corners.

    3. Jude Collins January 30, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

      Anon 14:18 – mea culpa. You're completely right. I feel the same way about the grocer's apostrophe… (Mind you, deep down, I know I'm being pedantic. The meaning is perfectly clear, with or without the apostrophe.)

    4. footballcliches January 31, 2013 at 9:16 am #

      Well, it had to be said, and in all honesty it is far too late and something that should never have happened in the first place. There really needs to be a sack cloth and ash event here for SF IMHO (and it needs to be ongoing), it's associates should not nor ever have been in conflict with the forces of the South.

      As for Gregory, he should be given as much media oxygen as is humanly possible, much like Wullie Frazier. Until he and others like him deal with facts and reality they should be treated with the contempt they deserve.

    5. Anonymous February 2, 2013 at 9:49 am #

      Are you equating “civil rights groups”to the I R A.One was a. non violent group protesting against injustice and campaigning for equal rights.The other was the antithesis of that but if you believe everything that Gerry Adams says they are almost one and the same.Do you have no perception how the majority of the people down South feel about the hypocrisy of Adams or you always content to recycle the current Sinn Fein analysis of everything ?Presumably you wouldn't agree with Brian Feeney's view that its a cynical position!