Spare me your 'forgiveness' and offer up an apology, Mr Adams
Moments after delivering his self-serving rewrite of history, Gerry Adams walked through the Press in the Royal Dublin Society.
Grinning, he declared “all my friends in the media” before moving in my direction, shaking my hand and stating: “I forgive you.”
It was a strange moment given he also felt the need to mention “the Independent Media Group” in his keynote address, noting that this organisation “don’t want Sinn Féin in government”.
The video footage will show that I shook his hand and laughed — what else would you do when the interaction takes place against the backdrop of 2,500 riled-up Adams’ supporters.
But here’s what I should have said: Gerry, I don’t need your forgiveness nor do my colleagues who for decades now have questioned and probed your legitimacy as a political leader.
The blood spilled by the IRA cannot be washed away with glib talk of how our “comrades” were at war.
Detective Garda Jerry McCabe was not at war. He was at work. Prison officer Brian Stack was not at war. He was at an amateur boxing match. Jean McConville was not at war. She was at home taking care of her 10 children.
Paul Quinn was not at war. He fell foul of the son of the south Armagh IRA commander and as a result got almost every bone in body broken.
It’s unlikely their families will ever be able to offer forgiveness to their killers — or to those who worked to shield murderers from justice.
In your speech you accused the media of having “cronies [who] have run this state for nearly 100 years in their own interests”. Yet, when it suited, you acted as an apologist for convicted tax dodger Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy.
You’ve spoken on the need to promote women’s rights — but where was your sympathy when Mairia Cahill was subjected to an IRA kangaroo court?
So, Mr Adams, spare me and my colleagues your forgiveness, and instead offer up an apology to those who have to feel a lifetime of pain because of the legacy you leave behind.