Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams ripped his party’s critics including Taoiseach Enda Kenny and writers from the Irish Independent newspaper at the annual Sinn Fein dinner in New York last night. The dinner raised an estimated $350,000.
Speaking to an audience of 600 that included a New Yorker magazine reporter, powerful union leader Terry O’Sullivan who leads the 500,000 strong International Laborer’s Union, Construction magnate Pat Donaghy and other leading Irish Americans Adams stated that Enda Kenny did not understand the peace process.
“I sit across the chamber in the Dáil with him every single week – I don’t think he understands the peace process,” he said. “I don’t think he gets it. I don’t think he understands the North.”
He said the other party leaders were prepared “to employ any dirty trick, any slander, any lie, any insinuation, any insult or any hopeless accusation against us” to stem the growth of Sinn Féin.
“It isn’t a surprise that our political opponents are determined to stop us, determined to attack us, to undermine us.”
He also said the government is drowning because of the uprising over Irish water.
He stated the Irish Independent newspaper group had been especially virulent in their attacks on the party.and accused them of leading the “campaign of slander” against him and the party.
He said they “opposed our efforts at peace-building 20 years ago and continues to attack us today”.
He said the Irish Independent had a long and disreputable history in that regard as they called for the leaders of the 1916 Rising to be executed.
He said Michael Collins in his day had been subjected to fierce criticism by the same newspaper.
He said Collins had responded by holding the editor at gunpoint and smashing their press, yet today he is treated like a Gandhi figure.
“I am obviously not advocating that,” he said referring to what Collins did to laughs.
“I am just pointing out the hypocrisy of the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste and the Fianna Fáil leader.”
He invited those present to come home for the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising.
“There is also a possibility that if enough of you come home that we can have another Rising,” he said.
He stated that the Government had not yet decided how the Rising would be celebrated.
“The reason why they haven’t announced any plans is because they don’t have any plans and they will cobble something together.” he said.