Troubles legacies are never far from the news. Cases of victims from 50 years ago still throng the courts system and many others suffer in silence with barely any attention from the media.
On Sunday this week, Mairia Cahill wrote about those (admittedly few) cases in which the bodies of the victims have been “disappeared” and have never been found.
In the same week, the WAVE Trauma centre posted the names of four on Facebook, with a song specially written to keep their memories alive…
- Joe Lynskey
- Columba McVeigh
- Robert Nairac
- Lisa Dorrian
These are some of the rawest of cases, since even the lack of a body to bury means there’s been no funeral and no way of getting to closure. Into this stepped Sinn Féin’s Ghost of Christmas past…
Gerry Adams’ Christmas video was a pretty, toe-curlingly, tone deaf amateur production…
The video featured Mr Adams, the former Sinn Féin president, in a comedy sketch in which he sings “Tis the season to be jolly, tiocfaidh ár lá, lá, lá, lá”.
In the sketch, Mr Adams visits a house as a carol singer and the homeowner repeats a slogan first used by Mr Adams in August 1995 in relation to the Provisional IRA: “They haven’t gone away you know.”
The contrast with the recent modern slick, and not to mention expensive Ard Fheis (from which Adams was for the first time absent) could not have been starker.
Unsurprisingly former Justice Minister and inveterate opponent of Sinn Fein Michael McDowell writes in The Irish Times today…
It wasn’t satirical. It wasn’t funny – even by the lowest standard of wit – the kind that features an elected Sinn Féin MLA posing online with a Kingsmill bread loaf on the anniversary of that infamous, cowardly sectarian slaughter by the Provos in 1976 of 10 textile workers chosen because they were Protestants.
…the strange thing about Sinn Féin is that they just can’t see what is wrong with this kind of offensive and divisive sectarian carry-on. They purport to be republican. They venerate Wolfe Tone. And yet they demand the right to alienate Irish victims of their murder campaign in pursuit of polarising politics up north.
The apologies (and unapologies) were interesting too, which began with the party’s southern housing spokesman (and one of their most consummate media performers)…
Speaking on Deise Today with Damien Tiernan on WLR FM, housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin said that Mr Adams had unintentionally caused offence.
“Given the fact that offence has been caused, I think an apology would be helpful,” Mr Ó Broin said.
However, two of his colleagues clearly got the memo from Belfast to reverse the ferret as quickly as possible and undo the damage…
Waterford TD David Cullinane and Cavan-Monaghan Deputy Matt Carthy said Mr Adams did not have anything to say sorry for, while Dublin’s Eoin Ó Broin had previously called on him to apologise.
Cullinane expanded at length…
“This was a video that was done for a charity and I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that this was done with the best of intentions. This was done for the Foyle Search and Rescue, which is an organisation that does incredible work and saves people’s lives.
“I don’t believe anybody from that organisation or indeed Gerry Adams set out to offend anybody and no, I don’t believe Gerry Adams has anything to apologise for.
“My understanding is that the video has been removed and has been withdrawn and I think that is appropriate and I think that should be the end of it.”
O’Broin at least had the grace to admit the video was in fact offensive to anyone who’d suffered at the hands of the Provisionals. But it was The Irish Times’s sketch writer who caught the reality of it best.
After describing some light hearted banter in the Dáíl between Mary Lou and the Taoiseach…
Best not to tell fun-lovin’ Crimbo party animal Gerry though. He’d probably be the one roaring “Shots! Shots! Shots!” at his former charges between rounds and dropping Jägerbombs into their pints, for the laughs
Sighs of relief from Sinn Féin TDs that their former boss doesn’t make many public appearances. Mary Lou’s much predicted future taoiseach-ship may depend on him neither being seen, nor heard.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty