The arrest of Gerry Adams was a clear example of the new guard using the old methods
14 May 2014
When Gerry Adams denies IRA membership it means that people like myself … have to carry the responsibility for all those deaths, for sending men out to die and sending women out to die, and Gerry was sitting there … trying to stop us from doing it? I’m disgusted by it because it’s so untrue and everybody knows it.” Brendan Hughes
Sinn Féin can huff and puff all they like and claim the arrest of party leader Gerry Adams was brought about by a small cabal of British police officers who are determined to “settle old scores,” but it will not make it so. No matter what David Cameron might say, having invested so much time and money in the Peace Process there is absolutely no way Mr Adams would be arrested by the PSNI without it first being green lighted by the British government.
Mr Adams was arrested because it suited David Cameron and the British security services. Never forget it was the English ruling class who stole the Pashtun proverb and made it their own. For the public school and Oxbridge educated upper middle class louts, who once again control the British State, revenge is indeed a dish best served cold.
There was something surreal about Gerry Adams behavior on his release. Why did he feel it was necessary to mention whilst held in custody the PSNI claimed they knew he had been an agent of MI5 since 1972? It seems an odd thing to say. He must also be the first innocent Irish man to be wrongly arrested and, having spent four nights banged up in a British police cell, to emerge a free man and declare his full support to the very police force who took away his liberty.
Hinting at the few rotten apples theory so beloved by corrupt police forces around the world whenever their shortcomings are exposed, Mr Adams went on to say: “My arrest was a result of the old guard using the old methods.”
If he truly believes this it seems to me he misses the point entirely, for what his arrest shows is as far as the British state is concerned the role of the leader of Sinn Féin in the peace process has outlived its usefulness. Thus his arrest was the result of the new guard reverting to old methods.
However the arrest of Gerry Adams was undoubtedly a travesty of justice, and the gross hypocrisy of the Irish and British governments, and their creatures within the mainstream media knows no bounds. The UK government did not enter into negotiations with Gerry Adams in the 1980s because he was the tiddly winks champion of Ireland, but because their intelligence services told them he was the most senior and influential member of the PIRA.
The British security services have targeted Adams for well over four decades. They hold chapter and verse on his public and private life since he was released from prison in 1972 and included as a 23 year old in the PIRA delegation which held secret talks in a house in Cheyne Walk, West London with the British Home Secretary, William Whitelaw. The delegation included Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness, Sean Mac Stiofain (Chief of Staff), Daithi O’Conaill, Seamus Twomey, and Ivor Bell. (The latter was once one of Adams’ most trusted comrades, who has also been arrested recently for so called historical crimes.) With Mac Stiofain, O’Conaill, and Twomey all dead, McGuinness is the only member of the sixtet which visited Cheyne Walk all those years ago who has not recently seen the inside of a British police cell.
It’s worth noting. Martin McGuiness and a senior party colleague allegedly were so ‘cut up’ about Adams arrest, they joined DUP leader Peter Robinson two days after the arrest of their party leader in the executive box at a Belfast rugby ground to watch Ulster play Leinster.
The Good Friday Agreement
In the 1980s I once watched Gerry Adams shoulder the coffin of yet another dead volunteer and thought to myself how many fallen soldiers can one man bear.
After Mairéad Farrell, Sean Savage and Daniel McCann were killed in cold blood by a British army hit squad in 1988 on the streets of Gibraltar, it became clear to all but the most blinkered the long war was lost. All three were well known to the security forces as seasoned volunteers. Their absence from Belfast would have been noticed and an All Points Bulletin posted. The fact they were sent to Gibraltar showed at best recruitment to the IRA was drying up.
No, Adams mistake was not negotiating the end of the war, but allowing the British state to set his agenda when negotiating the fine detail of the peace process, and later how Sinn Féin went on to conduct its political campaigns in the north: it was bourgeoisie politics to the core. All radical sharp edges were ironed out and the troops were ordered to keep to the plan which basically boiled down to entering government in both Irish jurisdictions.
The fault line running throughout this strategy was the desire for power. Nothing wrong with that, its what politics is about. But when it’s accompanied with little else, it poses the question what is the purpose of this grab for power beyond power itself? Sinn Féin’s annual conference yearly passes resolutions which on the face of it makes the party amongst the most radical within the UK and Ireland. However its record on the ground is far more patchy.
Whilst it has a formidable electoral machine which still manages to get the Sinn Féin vote in during local and national elections, those it represents in the working class communities of the north and south have fared less well.
According to a new report from the End Child Poverty campaign, West Belfast, the constituency which Mr Adams represented on and off between 1983-2010, has the second highest level of child poverty in the UK. Out of the UK’s 650 parliamentary constituencies, only Manchester Central recorded a higher level of deprivation. The survey found that 43% of children grow up in poverty in West Belfast.
In truth that is not a record any MP should be proud of, and many might see it as a mark of shame. Although Adams’ successor as MP, Paul Maskey, has worked hard to bring employment opportunities into west Belfast, they’re within the neo liberal perimeters set by London, which mainly means jobs in the service industries, which are zero hours contracts, low wage, low skilled.
What West Belfast needed from its MP was less PR window dressing, and a spot of pork barreling, which provided high income manufacturing, along with government public service contracts which could have lifted the majority above the poverty line.
Support for Sinn Féin today while holding up electorally is not what it was, for people need food on the table, a roof over their heads and a future which offers some bright sunny uplands. Jobs now is what they need, not a promise of a 32 county republic at some time in the distant future.
Before someone says this is not the fault of Sinn Féin, let alone Mr Adams, I would remind them he has trumpeted the fact Sinn Féin have been in government in the six counties for a good many years, yet beyond the peace process, not an inconsiderable achievement admittedly, what else have they actually achieved? Are their constituents better off economically? Has their been a massive house building program of publicly owned homes for rent, has health care, social services, employment prospects, education services, outstripped the rest of the UK and Ireland?
As a party of government Sinn Féin electoral campaigns make light reading. In truth, their years in government in the North have produced a very thin gruel for its core support base. Like New Labour they have produced much fluff and window dressing, and jobs for the anointed ones courtesy of the crown’s exchequer. But a party of government, especially a party of the left, needs to be able to trumpet it’s achievements come election day. But when it comes to Sinn Féin they act as if they have been out of power since 1922.
When I saw Adams leaving police custody in a convoy of four by four cars my heart sank. Presumably his destination was a press conference in West Belfast, his old constituency.
The Gerry Adams of old would have instinctively understood luxury cars and the second highest level of child poverty in the UK is not a good mix, let alone a bright idea. He also would not have prattled on about his arrest being the work of a small cabal of the PSNI old guard coming as it did in the same week as Theresa Villiers, David Cameron’s Viceroy in the northeast of Ireland, ruled out a review panel to assess the evidence on the Ballymurphy massacre, when members of Parachute Regiment, the same regiment who were later responsible for the Bloody Sunday shootings in Derry, shot dead eleven innocent civilians in Belfast, claiming it would not serve the public interest.
Gerry Adams must understand full well Villiers’ statement, and his own arrest, was a public declaration by the British government that former PIRA volunteers must answer for so called historical crimes — but former members of the security forces, police, army and intelligence services who committed or colluded in crimes are to be allowed to walk away scot-free.