Gerry Adams on The Week in Politics – Ouch!

Adams on The Week in Politics

Watched Sean O’Rourke’s interview with Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams on ‘The Week in Politics’ last night (Sunday 7th March 2010).  Not good.   (NOTE:  YOU CAN CATCH THE INTERVIEW ON THE CLIP AT 31.15)

O’Rourke immediately went in hard stating that, with the4oth anniversary of the IRA appearing on the Short Strand in Belfast coming up, surely it was  time for Adams to come clean on his involvement in the IRA?   O’Rourke explained that the question was a reaction to Adams speech at Saturday’s Ard Fheis where he excoriated the Government, the banks and regulators and on this basis, one of the key issues at the next election would be trust.  So how could the electorate trust Adams if he was not prepared to come clean on his involvement with the IRA?

I thought the question threw Adams.  It was a hard tackle.    And probably an unfair question.  Surely we have moved on from here.  There has been compromise, great progress and most importantly, peace. Yet on examination, O’Rourke is right, trust will be a key driver come election time.

I thought Adams failed to portray the neccessary detail when defending his party’s economic policies and repeated the  same lacklustre performance witnessed at the mini-leaders debate on RTE in 2007.

He talked about a stimulus to the economy which would cost €3.2 billion and was asked what the timeline would be and if it would be an annual cost and if so, for how long?   While some of the ideas seemed admirable and worthy, Adams was not convincing in outlining the detail of how it would be funded.  This is crucial when presenting economic policies.

Sinn Féin have problems, apart from Adams’ personal family ones,  here in the Republic the party’s Dáil TDs are not considered dynamic parliamentarians nor is the organisation considered to be radical policy-wise while it has also experienced a number of high profile defections at Local Government level – the level considered a platform for a party’s aspiring parliamentarians.

More importantly though, the party has just voted not to rule out a coalition deal at the next election.  This could mean going the way of the PDs and Greens in supporting a future FF/Sinn Féin government in power.

It still retains a consistent  8 – 10% national poll rating which is a strong performance by any standards for a small party. With the right candidates in the right constituencies, it  could perform well but only if it can convince  voters to transfer.    They need three key ingredients to achieve this – Trust,  Intelligent young candidates and Creative Policies….. policies that  genuinely challenge the current coalition’s economic orthodoxies and that champion a  convincing and realistic alternative.

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