Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Time Adams gave us straight answer

It is surprising to hear that the Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams may sue RTE for his extended interview with Miriam O'Callaghan last week. There were blistering exchanges as O'Callaghan quizzed Adams about his attitude to armed republicanism during the Troubles.

Instead of dealing head on with some of the questions, Adams used his gift for language to obscure the issues, and also to complain about the content and tone of some of the questions.

It made for riveting television, but it is doubtful if anyone was much the wiser, despite Ms O'Callaghan's valiant attempts to elicit answers from Mr Adams. However, if an experienced interrogator like Miriam O'Callaghan draws a blank in crucial areas, what chance is there for the ordinary person to hear the full truth?

Gerry Adams has built his political reputation on the republicans' "armed struggle" – without admitting to have played a part in it – and he therefore must expect the toughest questioning possible when he agrees to appear on television with one of the best interrogators in the business.

There is no point in protesting that the questions were too hard or unfair, or that some of the inferences were personally damaging. This is all part of the role of an experienced politician, and particularly one like Gerry Adams, who is adept at using the English language to his own advantage.

The republicans were not the only group to resort to violence, but they created more than their share of murder, misery and mayhem.

However, there is a tendency for republicans to walk away from the violence as if it was someone else's fault and they had no responsibility.

Gerry Adams once reminded us that the IRA had not gone away "you know".

He needs to be reminded that the victims of republican violence have not gone away either.

If Adams and his colleagues are serious about building the new peace, the least they can do is to take the hard questions and give a straight answer. Clever waffling impresses no one.

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