"Not fit to govern" – it’s official. It’s in the papers.

The media, as you know, are the watchdog of our society. Without them, we would be at the mercy of corrupt governments. But we have them and they bring us information that is vital to our healthy democracy.
Take the Liam Adams case. Liam Adams has now been found guilty by a court of law of the sexual abuse of his daughter. The case was reported in detail by the press, radio and television, bringing us quotations from the witnesses for the defence and the prosecution on a daily basis. We needed to hear all this because…That’s right. Because he is Gerry Adams’s brother. If you don’t know that by now, you’d need to check with the hearing equivalent of Specsavers, because since the get-go, Liam Adams has never just been Liam Adams. He’s been Liam Adams, Gerry Adams’s brother. 
And of course we needed to know that, because, because, um, because it tells us more about Liam Adams. No, sorry, strike that. Because it tells us more about Gerry Adams. That the leader of Sinn Féin could have a brother like that, well, I mean. Flawed pedigree and all that. It’s a bit like a man up the country I once went to interview. It’d all been agreed, I thought, but when I arrived the man  wasn’t having any. No interview. I was at a loss until he eventually let slip that he’d had a falling-out some fifty years earlier with an aunt of mine. So since I was her nephew, there’d be no interview. I tried to tell him that maybe this was a bit unfair – punishing me for my aunt’s actions. Didn’t matter. No interview. Clear off.
In this case it’s clear off Gerry Adams. “Not Fit To Govern” one headline declared. Mmm. So  Martin McGuinness, who by his own admission was a senior member of the IRA, is fit to govern and has been doing so with some success for several years now; but Gerry Adams in some hypothetical future time will not be fit to govern because he didn’t go to the police quickly enough for the media’s satisfaction. 

None of  this, of course, has any connection to the fact that the latest polls in the south show Sinn Féin, the party Mr Adams leads, as being the second biggest in the state, and Mr Adams himself the second most popular leader. None at all. 

23 Responses to "Not fit to govern" – it’s official. It’s in the papers.

  1. giordanobruno October 3, 2013 at 8:51 am #

    As I’m sure you must realise, the issue is what did Gerry know and has he been honest about it. There are inconsistencies at least. Issues worth exploring surely?
    Mick Fealty lays it out pretty clearly on Slugger.
    No use putting your head in the sand.

    • Jude Collins October 3, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

      Gio – I promise you, my head is not in the sand or in any intimate part of my person either. I raised this issue today with five people during a meal. They were all broadly nationalist but four of the five were emphatically anti-republican. All were of the view that the repeated linking of Liam Adams and his actions to Gerry Adams was appalling – guilt by association, as I’ve suggested elsewhere. Maybe Gerry Adams should or should not have reported the abuse at Point A and not Point B. My point is that the media have used the fact that he had an abuser as a brother to smear him through that association. Not suggesting GA himself was an abuser, of course, but he had a brother who did this and that and that and that – how disgusting. If my brother or sister was to do something illegal/obscene/cruel/whatever, I would be furious if in every report my name was placed with theirs. And vice versa. It’s simply unjust and cynical.

    • giordanobruno October 3, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

      I well remember the piece you did on Nigel Lutton and his Uncle Joey. You were not of course suggesting that Nigel shared any guilt, but still those were pretty bad things Uncle Joey did….
      I have read no reports suggesting or even hinting that Gerry Adams had any involvement directly in any abuse. Any specific examples?
      But if the media ignored the questions about his evidence they would not be doing their job.

  2. Anonymous October 3, 2013 at 9:35 am #

    Conspiracy theories everywhere.Of course we have all forgotten the golden rule.Gerry Adams must not be criticised!

    • Jude Collins October 3, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

      Oh I don’t think that’s quite true. I think a read of any of the mainstream Irish newspapers would soon disabuse you of your golden rule notion. Au contraire, au contraire.

    • Anonymous October 3, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

      I wasn’t referring to the mainstream media but rather to your good self.Any criticism ,no matter how mild of Sinn Fein or indeed Gerry Adams seems to evoke a disproportionate response from you.

    • Anonymous October 3, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

      Maybe he means your golden rule, it would make more sense.

    • Jude Collins October 3, 2013 at 10:35 pm #

      Mmm, Anon 17:44 – ‘disproportionate response’ you say. Right. And how would you describe the banner headlines from the likes of the BT? Or the fascination with the case by the mainstream media from the very start? …Oh right. Proportionate. Very good. Where’s me coat?

  3. Anonymous October 3, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

    “Not fit to lecture” I think your article tells us more about yourself than either of the Adams brothers or the media. What we do know is that you had an unpleasant encounter with some man up the country regarding your aunt which bore a striking resemblance to the brothers. A whole paragraph of it. Anyhow, did you not lecture us recently us about the unreliability of polls and census forms etc…Something about it being the votes that count. Now I could be wrong there and I’ll hold my voting hand up if so. Off to Specsavers..read enough waffle.

    • Jude Collins October 3, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

      Oh dear. The old ‘That tells me more about you than about the person you’re talking about’ argument. Yawn. So sorry that my little anecdote filled a whole paragraph – I’ll try to be more succinct in future. ‘Striking resemblance’? No, but guilt by association, yes. Re polls: I didn’t lecture anyone about anything (I’m a retired lecturer) – I simply pointed out that polls are unreliable. I still think so. But clearly more than a few media outlets think they’re pretty damn important, or we wouldn’t have this upsurge of moral outrage. As for waffle, I wouldn’t come near a ghastly site like this and waste my time, if I were you. Which I’m not. I’m happy to say.

    • Anonymous October 3, 2013 at 8:09 pm #

      Well in fairness it was an interesting little anecdote, To be honest i didnt wish to enter into the debate on the subject matter so I merely commented on what i thought were distractions.

    • Jude Collins October 3, 2013 at 10:38 pm #

      Anon 21:09 – if you see a parallel as a distraction, I’m afraid there’s nothing much I can do for you. But thank you for calling it ‘interesting’. Me, I thought it was scintillating…

  4. Anonymous October 3, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

    Would you accept that Gerry Adams like many other politicians is prone to being “economical with the truth”?While the Bel Tel approach may have been predictable,is it not reasonable to expect that other media outlets would have an interest in the case?

    • Jude Collins October 3, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

      Of course – all politicians look after their own interests and those of their party, all politicians tell lies, all people tell lies. I know I have and I’d wager my mortgage you have. Ditto GA. He may be lying or he may not be lying, I don’t know. But I do know what the ‘media outlets’ are trying to do to him and I hope they don’t succeed.

  5. Anonymous October 3, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

    First, in this instance I don’t care about Gerry Adams’s feelings and I don’t care about his wishes. He isn’t the important person in this case, his niece Aine is. She is the only important person in this issue, full stop.

    Gerry Adam’s politics and his position should be irrelevant, but they weren’t, and with power to supress or have others supress, should come responsibility for that suppression. Be that Gerry, Martin, Dissidents, Special Branch, MI5, M16 or whomever may have supressed this issue, if, in fact, anyone did. So if it were proved, after careful investigation, that Gerry and others did supress information of child abuse for political or military advantage then they should be willing to account for that as public servants. But that has yet to be proved and we now need a full investigation into all of that because Liam worked with children in various locations. So this is about more than Aine now.

    That said, this is hardly an isolated case, the Elm Guest House child abuse scandal, the Kincora scandal, the BBC/ Jimmy Saville / Stuart Hall, Jersey Care Homes. Most institutions have such scandals and the one common thread is the appallingly cynical and calculating way victims are marginalized, and then silenced to avoid organizational damage. This ‘management’ of the victim is almost always expressed as care for the victim, complete bullshit of course, but we have to allow the powerful their hypocrisy.

    Is this any of the public’s business? Generally no, unless the people involved are in public life. Even then, it isn’t an issue for idle speculation, we need a full investigation to either vindicate or impeach the public servant involved, and we need to determine if their party or organization provided a supporting role in any alleged cover-up.

    As important and definitely public business, we need to know our public servants are not being blackmailed because of their sexual indiscretions or the sexual indiscretions of others. Imagine the leverage that kind of information might give a malevolent or rogue ex-member of Special Branch, SIS, MI5 or the IRA. The damage to democracy would be incalculable. So it needs a full and frank investigation with no stone unturned, but it won’t happen because working-class children are never as important as the most sexually depraved privileged child abusers. So it will be case closed and wait for the next one and the one after that. I doubt this will be the last high profile case involving Northern Ireland’s ‘Very Important People’ in Government. They may well be scouring Stormont for a large enough rug to sweep this all under. Nothing would surprise me anymore!

    • Jude Collins October 3, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

      I find myself agreeing with you in much of what you say and disagreeing or departing from you on a bigger, overall issue. I agree that clearly a lot of people have been made sexual victims by those with more power than them. That’s detestable and cowardly. I agree this kind of charge/crime is popping up everywhere, which in one way is good, in that it demolishes the argument that only supposedly-celibate Catholic clergy were at it and only the Catholic Church covered up. All big institutions cover up, whatever the charge.
      As I understand it, the woman whom the court had been abused – GA’s niece – has expressed her satisfaction with the verdict and wants to move on with her life. If concern with the victim is central and the only really important thing, I very much doubt whether a huge enquiry would help her do that. I’m with you that there are no doubt people in power who can escape punishment while working-class victims are left to suffer. But (I must end somewhere) I’d leave you with this overall thought. When Pope Francis was asked about homosexuality, abortion, other matters related to sex, his response was not to deny that these were important matters but to remind his questioners that there were other sins as well. A lot of other kinds of sin. To listen to/read the media at present – and for some time past – you’d be forgiven for thinking that the only real crime was sexual abuse. Social justice? Never heard of it.

  6. Anonymous October 3, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

    Re. Aine: I wish her all the best, she should be left alone. Sticking salt into other people’s open wounds isn’t my thing. This would be the last time I write anything about her case. As far as this case goes some respect should be shown towards her and the wider Adams family who would be hurting right now and haven’t done anything wrong except being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Unfortunately that doesn’t mean the wider issue has evaporated.

    Re. An inquiry: Liam worked in Dundalk on the Comet Project. He spoke to the press about sexual abuse and an organized ring, I think that has to be taken seriously in light of his conviction and his position in Sinn Fein, the authorities can’t just forget about that, even if they’d like to.

    Here is a link to the article.


  7. Mick Fealty October 3, 2013 at 7:32 pm #

    Jude I hope you don’t mind me taking temporary refuge here, since I’m getting seven bells knocked out of me for arguing something similar, but different, on Slugger. 😉

    First of all, I agree the trial was high profile precisely because it WAS Gerry we were all interested in rather than Liam. Sadly there are all too many Liam Adams in this world, troubles or no troubles.

    I also agree that it is a good opportunity for the Dublin press to get lammed into SF. But if that was the only motive, they’ll be very disappointed.

    SF’s rise in Dublin has as much to do with the current demise of Labour than the fine leadership qualities of Mr A. Between them FF are like the Americans and the Russians racing to Berlin to snap up the bulk of the fading Labour vote.

    But this is where we part. What we are seeing north and south is two different presses. If you think the southern press is brutal on SF, you can’t have been watching them grinding every last misspeak of FF ministers in the very last days of the empire… 😉

    They feed off politician’s blood, and the thought of putting in on a big beast like GA means at some point a bone will have to be thrown them.

    Personally, I think Gerry behaved appallingly, and we make a rod for our backs by tolerating such a degree of untruth telling and obfuscation in any politician.

    But his party will stand by him keep him in place, and their opponents in LH will thank their lucky stars they have something fresh to lacerate him with.

    The contrast with the north is striking, where we are microprocessing contentless talking points and in a queer inversion of Lord Denning’s appalling vista the desperation seems more to the purpose of trying not to talk about matters Adams.

    • Jude Collins October 3, 2013 at 10:53 pm #

      Mick – I’m glad you agree with me on as much as you do – I was honestly convinced you were not you but a genuine refugee…Re the southern media: dating back to when John Hume started talking to Gerry Adams – and probably earlier – the southern media have been ferocious in their opposition to the Shinners. They literally haven’t got a good word to say about them – this after acres of print about the need for republicans to forsake the path of violence and – well you know the rest. Sure, they’ll lap up FF blood too, but they saw a party that was going down the tubes and did their bit of kicking to show they were in touch. Read many hostile criticisms of them since FF have started to come seriously back in the polls? Nope.

      I think there’s a terrible stench of hypocrisy about people who say the victim is the one that counts. I may be wrong but I thought the victim in this case, after LA was convicted, expressed her satisfaction and said all she wanted now was to get on with her life. Will a searching, drawn-out inquiry into GA’s words and actions in the case be likely to further her wish or take from it? No, don’t answer that one. Finally (my finally, not very obviously that of quite a few baying blood-hounds) it’s plain that a considerable number of pundits/journalists have been out to get GA, are out to get GA, and will be out to get GA. Their concern over possible other victims of LA is so patently fake it would be laughable if it weren’t so retch-making. Finally finally, I don’t think you can hold that GA’s party will stand by him – and they will – and at the same time say those pointing out the bile of those attacking him are desperate. Having seen this happen so often before, they’re more likely mildly bored.

    • Mick Fealty October 3, 2013 at 11:51 pm #

      Again, in terms realpolitik, I completely agree. On the desperate note, the reference to Denning’s ballsy denial of a proper appeal for the Birmingham Six on the basis that it would make the establishment look bad, is really what I’m digging at.

      It took those men another eleven years to find an honest British judge. But the point is that some appalling vistas are often just too traumatic to take in one attempt.

      Time needs to pass…

  8. Anonymous October 3, 2013 at 10:30 pm #

    Jude;Micks comments above seem reasonable.Would you not agree with his point that the Southern media also got stuck into Fianna Fáil with as much relish as you appear to think they are criticising Gerry Adams at the moment?

  9. Jude Collins October 4, 2013 at 7:55 am #

    I think I’ve responded to that already. The southern media like blood and FF blood is totally acceptable. But SF blood they’ve been lapping at for decades. Not so FF

  10. Anonymous October 4, 2013 at 7:25 pm #

    I know you have a particular resentment towards the southern media but would you necessarily disagree with the following observation
    “However, there are matters of public interest in relation to this case which it is legitimate to raise with Mr Adams.—— As a public figure,an elected representative and the leader of a party in government , he will know that questions will be asked about his actions and the decisions he took”.This is from a leading article in the Irish News but this should not blind you to the fact that many people without a specific agenda are hoping that Gerry will clarify in due course many of the questions raised by this case.