Belfast Telegraph

Gerry Adams N-word tweet: 'I've never seen myself as white I’m a human being, we’re all human beings, whatever our skin colour'

'If anyone should be offended it's the people of Ballymurphy'

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams.
Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams.
Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams
Claire Williamson

Gerry Adams has said he has "never seen myself as white" as he continues to explain why he felt it necessary to use the N-word in a tweet.

The Sinn Fein president sparked an uproar on Sunday night as he took to social media after watching the Quentin Tarantino film Django Unchained.

The movie starring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz and Leonardo Dicaprio is set before the American Civil War and documents Django's struggle to free his wife from slavery.

Gerry Adams Django Unchained 'N-word' statement response in full

After watching the film, Mr Adams compared the struggle against slavery in the US to the plight of Irish nationalists, on the social media site Twitter.

He wrote : "Watching Django Unchained - A Ballymurphy N*****!"

Although it was quickly removed, it was screen grabbed and was shared across the internet prompting accusations of racism.

Mr Adams apologised for using the word, but said there were similarities between the struggle of black Americans and Irish nationalists.

On Tuesday morning his continued to justify his argument.

Speaking on Drogheda radio station LMFM, in his Louth constituency Mr Adams said he did not identify himself as white.

He said: "I was comparing the African Americans to people in Ballymurphy. So if anybody should be offended it's the people from Ballymurphy. Because if you read the tweet, I was describing Django, who was the main character as a 'Ballymurphy n-word and an uppity fenian.

"It was inappropriate, I'm sorry that I used it.

More: Pressure on Gerry Adams grows as attempts to justify n-word sparks further scorn at home and abroad

Mr Adams continued: "I saw a parallel as I have for a long time between the plight and the struggle for African Americans and people back here at home. I tweeted about that.”

He added: “People of my own home district, Ballymurphy, have stood up for themselves. And people in Louth whether it’s water protesters - not trying to compare like with like - or demanding health services, or fighting for the hospital to be returned to Dundalk or better services in Drogheda, people standing up for themselves or their neighbours.

“And while they may not be like with like because obviously if you’re being horsewhipped or hanged that’s a different matter. But in terms of the dignity of human beings.

“I’ve never seen myself as white. That’s only skin deep. I’m a human being,  We’re all human beings, whatever our skin colour, whatever our gender, whatever our ability or disability.

“The fact is we’re all human beings and we all deserve to be treated properly. And it’s all about rights and what was happening in America."

More: Troubling thing is Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams actually believes own propaganda

Mr Adams said: “If people want to attack me over the use of the N-word, fair enough but on all of the other issues if people want to have a debate, I’m happy to have that debate.”

Mr Adams said that if anyone should be offended by his tweet, "it should be the people of Ballymurphy".

"We all make mistakes and I'm as stupid as anyone else at times, but it distracts from the substantive point I was trying to make" he said.

Read more: Gerry Adams n-word storm: For black people it is never just a word, it is real and ongoing offence

A statement issued by Sinn Fein in the very early hours of Monday morning said that the use of the word was "ironic" and denied racism.

Later on Monday the Sinn Fein president faced the media on his own to say he "acknowledged" the word was "inappropriate" and apologised for its use.

He said: "But I stand over the context and the historic parallels between what was happening in Ireland and the struggle of the people from Africa America.

"There is ample evidence in history of the parallels including the penal laws, the partition of Ireland and even in our own times like in North America, the discrimination over jobs and so on."

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