Mind of Adams

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Living - - BOOKS -

egist of ex­cep­tional tal­ent: dirty pol­i­tics and white lies not­with­stand­ing.

Com­pro­mise and the road to peace would come, even­tu­ally. But only, as O’do­herty rightly points out, when Adams could see that bombs and bul­lets, from the 1980s on­wards, would cost Sinn Fein votes in the long term.

Adams be­came a God-like fig­ure in the repub­li­can move­ment in the mid 1970s, O’DO­herty be­lieves. Pri­mar­ily be­cause he gave it a project and pur­pose, when most of the or­gan­i­sa­tion was in jail, due to the in­tern­ment laws the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment had im­ple­mented.

If Adams still com­mands much loy­alty in his party to­day, it’s be­cause many Shin­ners have not for­got­ten his strong lead­er­ship skills when the chips were down, O’do­herty sug­gests. There are few fig­ures in pub­lic life — Ir­ish or glob­ally — with the same stern re­silience that Adams pos­sesses.

He’s been la­belled ev­ery­thing from a mur­derer, to a hyp­ocrite, to a pro­tec­tor of pae­dophiles and rapists. But for Adams, the repub­li­can cause is a sacro­sanct ideal. Where ev­ery­thing gets put be­fore it: even his own fam­ily. And yet, in spite of all the drama, name call­ing, death threats, and li­bel­lous slurs, he has sur­vived, al­most un­scathed. Adams be­lieves he has the will of the peo­ple of Ire­land be­hind him. Time will cer­tainly tell. And his­tory, ul­ti­mately, will have the last say.

Gerry Adams has helped drag Sinn Fein from the po­lit­i­cal wilder­ness into to­day’s main­stream party of the cen­tre left

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