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Adams should be more sensitive to relatives' suffering

Editor's Viewpoint

Published 04/04/2015

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams

Once again Gerry Adams has made headlines, this time with his comments in the US about the murder of Jean McConville. In essence he is saying that the murder of the tragic mother-of-10 was something that happens in a war.

Gerry Adams' words will raise eyebrows at the terminology of 'war', and at his cold and brusque dismissal of what happened to Jean McConville.

This was a murder that even now, decades later, fills most people with pity and despair for her family.

Her death created chaos among her vulnerable young children, and the impact of her loss continued to affect them into adult life. This was an innocent woman whose body lay undiscovered for many years, whose children had to appeal repeatedly for information about the whereabouts of her remains, and who had to watch in horror as the bulldozers finally moved toward the location.

At the end, her remains were discovered by chance, and it seemed almost as if nature had taken over and that the land itself had given up her body in pity for her family who had suffered so much.

It is against this background that Gerry Adams' words jar so much, at a time when there is so much difficulty on all sides about dealing with the past and when it is so important to recognise the sensitivities of people who've had to live with such pain for so long.

It is also important to try to understand this pain that has been inflicted on others, as well as trying to heal such pain and attempting to ensure this kind of suffering is not carried on, down through the generations.

Gerry Adams has made no concession to all of this, and his choice of words will only add to the problems.

It is almost inconceivable that any leader like Adams who is deeply aware of the suffering caused on all sides at Easter 1916, is incapable of finding more sensitive language for the suffering of people at this Eastertide, nearly a century on.

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