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Ivan Little

Gerry Adams’ Christmas skit in awful taste

Ivan Little


Of course using his old IRA boast as a punchline was going to cause offence

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ILL-JUDGED: Gerry Adams

ILL-JUDGED: Gerry Adams

ILL-JUDGED: Gerry Adams

Watching Gerry Adams’ Christmas ‘greeting’ video was even more excruciatingly stomach-churning than seeing I’m a Celebrity contestants feasting on pigs’ do-dahs and cows’ whatsits over the last few weeks.

How the former Sinn Fein president thought his online Christmas card was funny is beyond me. It was more insanity than Santa.

The video shows the former West Belfast MP knocking on the door of a house as a carol singer, rattling out Tis the Season with the pay-off line tiocfaidh ar la la la la la.

And inside, the householder echoes Adams’ oft-repeated line about the IRA to say that he can’t confirm or deny if carol singers were at the door, adding: ‘They haven’t gone away you know,’ giving a knowing wink.

It was a light-hearted charity fundraiser according to Sinn Fein but the language left few people in any doubt what message it was sending out.

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Adams as a carol singer in the video which has offended IRA victims

Adams as a carol singer in the video which has offended IRA victims

Adams as a carol singer in the video which has offended IRA victims

But what the video also proved was that the man who’s never been in the RA couldn’t hold a note never mind an Armalite.

As someone who has tried in the past to acknowledge the positives in Adams’ transformation from terror supporter to peace activist I was taken aback by his lack of judgment and lack of understanding that his antics might just upset some of the Provos’ victims.

For umpteen years in the Feile in west Belfast I hosted a kids’ talent competition and almost without fail Adams turned up to support the youngsters and me.

Leaving aside my journalistic role which often saw me asking Adams the hard questions, we did share a bit of craic.

Last week I saw that some commentators were expressing surprise that the video could have offended anyone. But how dare they question the sincerity of the outrage of victims.

Maybe it would be better to ignore him but his attempts to portray himself as a fun-loving pensioner haven’t sat well with some members of his own party in the south who’ve called on him to say sorry — though Michelle O’Neill says he has nothing to apologise for.

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Gerry Adams has been criticised over his Christmas video

Gerry Adams has been criticised over his Christmas video

Gerry Adams has been criticised over his Christmas video

Unlike Barry McElduff who resigned as a Sinn Fein MP after he appeared in a video balancing a Kingsmill loaf on his head on the anniversary of the republican murders of 10  Protestant workmen at Kingsmill in south Armagh. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to think what victims of loyalist murder gangs would make of UVF and UDA supporters trying to turn their horror killings into something comic.

Some people will undoubtedly raise the hare of double standards on my part given my participation as an actor in black comedies about the Troubles. But I can say for certain that no words were designed to cause offence. I know that one line in the History of the Troubles (accordin’ to my Da) was slammed by reviewers in London.

My character responded to a discussion about the Brighton bombing by asking, “How the f**k did they miss Thatcher?” But the critics missed the point that my Catholic character’s tongue had been firmly in his cheek.

However, that didn’t stop some newspapers describing the cast and the writers as fellow travellers with the IRA which was total and utter nonsense, garbage that was underlined by the fact that victims of loyalist and republican terror gangs were often in the audience and were largely moved, not angered, by what they saw on stage.

In another play the elderly IRA killer I was playing reflected on a murder he had carried out in Belfast. There was no question that the terminally-ill terrorist was telling the story because he regretted his actions. But some observers mistook it as  gloating. Nothing could have further from the truth.


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