Gerry adams

Don’t be fooled by Gerry Adams’ Christmas rebrand

Did Gerry Adams ever work for MI5? The allegations that he did are not new – even if they have been rigorously denied. But if that lurid speculation is true then his handler surely deserves a medal.  In recent years, Adams – who was never, of course, in the IRA – has undergone something of a rebrand. The incendiary former Sinn Fein leader now preens as an elder statesman in Irish politics. He also styles himself as a figure of fun, happily revealing how he enjoys trampolining naked with his dog. But even as you cannot unsee that image, don’t be fooled by the cuddly reinvention. In his most recent

From half a shelf to a library: my life in books

‘Yes, I will have a coffee,’ said the van driver. He’d driven down to the south of France from Devon. I motioned him to take a pew at the kitchen table and asked him about himself. Ron was ex-army. Aged 17, he was faced with a stark choice: the building site or the army. Because he’d seen his builder father working in a trench all day with water up to his waist, he chose the army. He joined the Royal Engineers and trained as a driver. In the early 1970s he drove two SAS men around Belfast in an unmarked saloon car. That was the job. All day every day.

The Irish problem | 20 April 2017

When David Cameron called his Brexit referendum, the potential difficulty of Northern Ireland was not uppermost in his mind. Nor does it seem to have worried Theresa May greatly when she announced a snap general election this week. Even before this fresh electoral battle, Northern Ireland’s politics were already — to paraphrase Sean O’Casey — in ‘a terrible state of chassis’. Perhaps May thought the existing chassis in Belfast couldn’t get any worse. On reflection, I’m not so sure. The last Assembly election in March left the DUP and Sinn Fein, the two tribal behemoths, delicately balanced on 28 and 27 seats respectively. Unionists lost their overall majority. Six weeks

What Martin McGuinness’s eulogisers would like to forget

I never met Martin McGuinness, but I was certainly affected by him from an early age. His decisions, and those of his colleagues on the IRA Army Council, indelibly coloured my childhood. Belfast in the 1970s and ’80s was a grey, fortified city, compelling in many ways, but permanently charged with the unpredictable electricity of violence. Our local news steadily chronicled the shattering of families, in city streets and down winding border lanes that were full of birdsong before the bullets rang out. There were regular, respectful interviews with pallid widows and dazed widowers, and funerals attended by red-eyed, snuffling children tugged into stiff, smart clothes to pay formal respects

Tom Goodenough

What the papers say: Why we shouldn’t mourn Martin McGuinness

Martin McGuinness’s death has sparked a wave of fawning and fury in the obituaries. So: ‘man of war’, peacemaker or something in between? The Sun’s verdict is clear: the ‘pious praise’ for McGuinness is nothing short of ‘revolting’. It’s true, the paper says, that the ‘second part’ of his life differed from his early days. And it’s also the case that McGuinness ‘risked his own neck’ to help bring peace in the end. But to hear the likes of Tony Blair play down McGuinness’s role as an IRA commander ‘turns the stomach’. McGuinness might have fancied himself as a ‘folk hero’, but there was ‘nothing noble about this “struggle’, says

Douglas Murray

The morally illiterate obituaries to Martin McGuinness are just what he would have wanted

Well the obituaries for Martin McGuinness are in. And many are as morally illiterate as the man himself could have wished for. For instance, various obituarists have noted that the young McGuinness’s failure as a young man to get an apprenticeship as a mechanic started him off on the road to terror. Few of these eulogists have noted the many people across continents and generations who also failed to get apprenticeships (often for even more sectarian reasons) and yet strangely refused as a consequence to pick up some pliers and an Armalite and torture and kill their way to political power. Other obsequies have been even stranger. Alex Salmond, for

Portrait of the week | 5 May 2016

Home Naz Shah MP was suspended from the Labour Party after the blogger Guido Fawkes revealed that in 2014, nine months before she beat George Galloway to win the seat of Bradford West, she had posted on Facebook a proposal to ‘relocate Israel into the United States’, adding the comment: ‘Problem solved and save you bank charges for the £3bn you transfer yearly.’ Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, said: ‘It’s not a crisis. There’s no crisis.’ Ken Livingstone, the former mayor of London, said on the wireless: ‘When Hitler won his election in 1932, his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel. He was supporting Zionism —

Douglas Murray

It was right to arrest Gerry Adams

The release of Gerry Adams felt a bit like the old days. A Unionist protest outside the police station, a rally of a press conference at a Republican club with Adams, Gerry Kelly and Martin McGuinness on the podium.  Whether or not Adams will be charged with involvement in the 1972 murder of Jean McConville we do not know. But he is denying any involvement in the murder. He repeatedly said that ‘the past is the past’. He also said: ‘The future is about children…equality and justice for everyone.’ Yet he talked of his questioning as ‘the old guard using the old methods’ and of ‘dark’ forces at work. He said

Deluded continent

Les Blancs had a troubled birth. In 1965 several unfinished drafts of the play were entrusted by its dying author, Lorraine Hansberry, to her ex-husband, Robert Nemiroff, who mounted a debut production in New York in 1970. Nemiroff has created a fresh version with the help of a ‘dramaturg’ (or ‘colleague’, in English) named Drew Lichtenberg who believes not only that this ramshackle script is a masterpiece but also that Hansberry belongs in the first rank of dramatists alongside Ibsen, Sophocles and Aeschylus. This does not bode well. But the result is surprisingly good. Or good-ish. The setting is a nameless African colony populated by do-gooding Europeans, angry freedom fighters

Jeremy Corbyn reunites with his old ‘comrade’ Gerry Adams in Parliament

Jeremy Corbyn just can’t help making friends wherever he goes. He previously described Hamas operatives as ‘friends’ and now he has found time out of his Labour leadership campaign to meet up with his old ‘comrade’ Gerry Adams in Portcullis House. The Sinn Féin president has tweeted a picture of their meet up, which Martin McGuinness also attended: With Jeremy Corbyn & the comrades @ Portcullis House, Westminster. — Gerry Adams (@GerryAdamsSF) July 21, 2015 Of course the pair go way back. Corbyn, who supported ending British status for Northern Ireland, was heavily crtiticised after he invited Adams — along with other Sinn Féin members — to the House of Commons

The Spectator’s Notes | 21 May 2015

Who benefits from Prince Charles’s handshake with Gerry Adams? Not the victims of IRA violence, including the 18 soldiers who died at Warrenpoint on the same day as Lord Mountbatten was murdered. Not the moderate parties in Ireland, north or south, who never blew up anybody and so can get no kudos for pretending to be sorry about it afterwards. Only Adams (who was a senior IRA commander at the time of the killings) and Sinn Fein. His party has thus been relieved of current unpopularity in the Republic caused by long-running rape accusations, and is suddenly made to look good in the run-up to the centenary of the Easter

Sinn Féin has begun to think of itself as the ‘Irish Syriza’

Imagine a party that’s a cross between the SNP, Syriza and Ukip – one that is anti-establishment and combines the self-regard of the plucky outsider with an intermittent lead in the opinion polls. Imagine that and you’re getting close to the character of Sinn Féin, as manifest in its party conference this weekend. The last you may have heard of Sinn Féin was as a purely Northern Irish outfit, getting on just dandy with the DUP if intermittently embarrassed by reminders of its past during the Troubles. Well, think again. The party regularly outpolls the major party of government in the Republic, Fine Gael, and seems likely to do just fine in

This opera is simplistic and dangerous. So is banning it

My father’s house was razed In 1948 When the Israelis passed over our street I’ve never forgotten the opening lines to John Adam’s 1991 opera, The Death of Klinghoffer. Crisp, elegiac, this  ‘Chorus of Exiled Palestinians’ rises up to a moment of anguished dissonance as it spits out the word ‘Israelis’. It’s beautiful. It’s also the most egregious romanticisation of Palestinian terrorism outside the muralled bunkers of the Gaza Strip. In the Metropolitan Opera’s new production, a chorus of shrouded Palestinian women form a funeral procession as they intone their complaint, eventually parting to reveal a 5-year-old boy, cradled in the arms of his weeping, widowed mother. Marking the start of a libretto

Jonathan Powell is wrong – talks with the IRA prolonged the Troubles

Jonathan Powell seems to be unavoidable at the moment. Having read his first two books a couple of times I felt a weary sense of resignation on news of the third. It wasn’t until I saw and heard him on channel 4 news that I felt serious irritation. We, whoever ‘we’ may be, should talk with everyone, everywhere, at any time, because we always do anyway – pretty much summed it up. Words are important – the more so when they are delivered by Tony Blair’s former chief of staff, who is much credited  with making a serious contribution to the Belfast Agreement. Jonathan Powell is a serious man, although

The EU is the greatest danger since Uncle Joe

Last week in the Bagel, and then London here I come. As I write, hundreds of thousands of Jews are marching up 5th Avenue in ‘Salute to Israel Day’. They have been marching for close to six hours and come close to the Puerto Ricans in terms of noise and provocation. Looking out from my window I see only blue and white Israeli flags, no stars and stripes whatsoever, and the chants I hear are those of the aggrieved. They want Palestine back!  Why waste time with the truth when there’s an angle to promote and a grievance to air? Palestinians should leave the West Bank because these late arrivals

When judges go to jail

Judges in jail Barrister and part-time judge Constance Briscoe was jailed for 16 months for perverting the course of justice in charges related to the Chris Huhne affair. She is far from the first judge to end up behind bars. — In 2009 Marcus Einfield, a former judge at Australia’s federal court, was given three years for lying over a speeding offence: he said he had lent his car to a friend who in fact had been killed in a car accident three years earlier. — Just last week Kazakh judge Kuplash Otemisova was jailed for four-and-a-half years for ‘making a wrong court ruling’, by releasing a Russian businessman who

We should have nothing but contempt for Peter Hain

Peter Hain has become a disgrace. Earlier this year it appeared that the Former Northern Ireland Minister was one of the people responsible for the cock-up over letters of amnesty for ‘on-the-run’ terrorists. Now he has gone several steps further. Just last month Hain was just telling everybody who has lost a relative during the Troubles in Northern Ireland and who never saw anyone convicted for the crime that they should just get over it. His line as of last month was that victims of unsolved cases must simply accept that they will never see justice. But now he seems to have decided that he is not merely a cack-handed peacemaker

Gerry Adams’s arrest is astonishing

In one sense the arrest of Gerry Adams for questioning in relation to the murder of Jean McConville is not a surprise. On the other hand it is astonishing. I cannot think how many times over the years the connection between Adams and the McConville case – appalling even by the standards trawled during the Troubles – has been raised. Yet, as the years have gone on, the possibility that Adams would ever actually answer questions on the murder seemed ever more remote. Adams has always denied any involvement in this crime, and has offered the police his assistance in their inquiries. Adams presented himself at a police station yesterday

Gerry Adams arrested in connection with the murder of Jean McConville

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams presented himself to police this evening and was arrested in connection with the murder of Jean McConville. McConville was abducted from her home in Belfast by the IRA in 1972. Her body was discovered on a beach in County Louth in 2003. Adams has always denied any involvement in Mrs McConville’s death, and has frequently offered to help the Police Service Northern Ireland with their inquiries. In an official statement released this evening, Sinn Fein said: ‘Last month Gerry Adams said he was available to meet the PSNI about the Jean McConville case. That meeting is taking place this evening.’ There have been a number of

We need to know the truth about Gerry Adams’s alleged involvement in the ‘disappearance’ of Jean McConville

Readers will know that I am interested in the subject of post-Good Friday agreement ‘justice’ in Northern Ireland. Having been one of the few people to have followed the possibilities of justice over Bloody Sunday, I also recently wrote about the apparently one-sided amnesties which the last Labour government appears to have given to Republicans not convicted of crimes but counted as ‘on the run‘. It has long been my contention that justice cannot only be applied to one side or one group of people. Investigate the 1st Battalion of the Parachute Regiment for what happened in January 1972 and you have to investigate the leadership of Sinn Fein –