Belfast Telegraph

Gerry Adams showing his inflated ego with bid to cling on to power

Editor's Viewpoint

Once again Gerry Adams has grabbed the headlines by stating that he wishes to stand for re-election as Sinn Fein president.

Though some political observers doubted the rumours that Adams would effectively retire in late autumn, his bid for re-election may surprise many people who believed that Mary Lou McDonald would be shoe-horned into presidential office.

However there is a strong belief in some circles that Sinn Fein's progress may be hindered, particularly in Dublin, if Adams hangs on.

His callous remarks about no need for prosecutions following the Provisionals' savage torture and murder of an innocent Louth farmer decades ago has done him, and Sinn Fein, no favours.

Perhaps Adams' decision to try to stay on is further evidence of his over-arching ego and his self-serving desire not to lose control.

After all, he became Sinn Fein president long ago when Ronald Reagan was in the White House, Margaret Thatcher was in Downing Street, Neil Kinnock was the Opposition leader, and there was continued political deadlock and carnage on the streets of Northern Ireland.

The situation has changed for the better since then. Northern Ireland has enjoyed a degree of peace, with setbacks, for almost 20 years, but sadly in the recent past the political peace train has virtually hit the buffers.

A more sectarian climate prevails, and tragically it looks as if the Stormont Assembly may be closed and direct rule brought in again.

The current fruitless talks cannot go on indefinitely.

The recent and disappointing political developments have run parallel with Adams' return to front-line politics in Northern Ireland, and while he cannot be blamed solely for the toxic breakdown between the main parties, his intransigence has not helped.

People are asking rightly what he brings towards solving the current Stormont impasse. He is much less conciliatory than Martin McGuinnes who, despite having a dark past, his sudden resignation as Deputy First Minister, and his pulling the plug on Stormont, at least seemed genuine in his outreach to unionists.

Gerry Adams' hardline stance on an Irish Language Act and other issues, despite conciliatory moves from the DUP, suggests that he is creating ever more lines in the sand to block power-sharing, despite his claims to support it.

Adams' entire stance is not the attitude of someone trying to restore power-sharing, but more in keeping with his recent foul-mouthed claim that in dealing with unionists, their "trojan horse" was equality. This is a wide, and impossible, term which Adams can adapt to mean anything.

Gerry Adams also has an eye on seeking to share power in Dublin and this is another significant factor in the run-up to an Irish election.

There are many questions to be asked about Adams' motives. Every good leader must plan for a successor, but Adams wants to stay on.

People are asking what a post-Adams Sinn Fein would look like. There may be clues in the way that the party is shaping in Northern Ireland, with younger female members in key positions.

Undoubtedly there are party members who still hold him in high regard and would urge him to stay on, but whether or not that bodes well or ill for politics in Ireland, north or south, is anyone's guess.

Either way, the stark message is clear to all - Gerry Adams is not going away, you know.

Belfast Telegraph

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