Gerry Adams and the IRA
"Follow the ideals, not the man"
Yesterday, Bertie Ahern was quoted as saying in reference to Gerry Adams "I always assumed that he was [a member of the IRA], I think I would be surprised if he wasn't." This to me is compelling solely because of the outcry from some Provisional supporters in response to this quote.
The people of the Provisional movement continue to believe the every word of this man. The truth is not confirmed, though it is widely accepted within the nationalist community that Adams was a key Provo in the early 1970s in Belfast.
Statements from prominent Republicans shed light on the truth of the matters of Gerry's involvement within the Provisional IRA. Dolours Price, arrested in 1973 for her involvement in the London bombing campaign along with her sister Marian
and Gerry Kelly MLA, has said that at the time of her arrest Adams was her commanding officer.
claimed that in the meetings with William Whitelaw in 1972
, the leadership of the RM decided that the delegation sent to meet the British would be all Provisional IRA members. Gerry Adams was amongst those men. The fact of that situation is that Adams, as a 24 year old young man, had to have been a major player in the Republican Movement to be included in talks of that calibre.
Some credited and researched claims, coming from a former Irish Journalist of the Year
, of Adams' involvement in the Provisional IRA go as follows: Adams was commander of the 2nd Battalion of the Belfast Brigade for most of 1971 and early 1972; at the time of Bloody Friday
, Gerry was the head of the Belfast Brigade.
In the Easter 1976 issue of Republican News
, Adams, writing under his widely known pen name of Brownie
, admitted to being an IRA Volunteer. He wrote: "Rightly or wrongly, I am an IRA Volunteer and, rightly or wrongly, I take a course of action as a means to bringing about a situation in which I believe the people of my country will prosper." Adams continues to deny that he wrote the Brownie column that week, but it is doubtful that claim is truthful.
It is likely that between 1977 and 1979 that he was at least for a time the Chief of Staff of the Provisional IRA. He was also a long time member of the Army Council, the decision-making body of the RA.
Still, Provisional supporters continue to follow the every word of this man, violating one of the dogmas of Republicanism; "Follow the ideals, not the man." (Seán Keenan
). They continue to respect and revere the word of Adams, who has denied his alleged involvement as an IRA member to avoid the negative press and unionist backlash.
I understand the reasons for Gerry Adams' denial and I don't blame him for it; what I don't understand is why those about him believe it blindly. The logic of "he wasn't because he said he wasn't" does not have any credibility with all the evidence pointing in the other direction.