Belfast Telegraph

Gerry looks for pastures greener

By Gail Walker

The problem with Sinn Fein in the south has been the party’s ‘northern’ focus.

Honking Ulster accents in the leadership coupled with a loose grasp of ground-level detail has been cited (quietly) as a weakness for years.

But now Gerry Adams has acted decisively to stem the haemorrhage of frustrated southern talent by devolving the party’s leadership to the Free State.

The time is now right, he considers, for control of Sinn Fein — after all these decades — to pass finally to those with a powerbase in the Republic rather than within an embattled constituency in Northern Ireland, such as West Belfast.

Except the person Gerry has in mind to lead SF in the Republic is none other than his own good self.

Or, rather, a southernised Gerry — maybe known on the ballot paper as ‘Ger’ — planted deep in the farmlands of Louth, steeped in the lore of peat briquettes, sugar beet and milk quotas.

Gerry will resign his Westminster seat as soon as an election is called in the Republic, sparking a by-election in Belfast.

Which, of course, raises its own thorny problem.

Who can Ger trust to a) take on his special role in West Belfast and b) make sure the SF vote turns out with the same loyalty Ger commands, especially in the teeth of dissident mutterings?

What a hoot the whole thing is!

A seat no one has taken up in Westminster being ‘handed over’ the way an old farmer hands over the bottom field to his feckless nephew, while Ger parachutes himself into any southern constituency he reckons is safe enough not to leave him without a seat anywhere, even one he won’t sit down in.

Talk about Paisley and the DUP? At least he stood down and could be imagined standing down.

Can anyone imagine Gerry Adams ‘standing down’ as leader of SF at any time?

Even for the quiet life of a farmer in Louth?

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