Gerry Adams, has granted a rare interview to Scott Pelley of “60 Minutes” which will air on Sunday, April 5.
The CBS blurb notes “Many believe Adams could be the Republic of Ireland’s prime minister someday. He is careful in his answers to questions about his affiliation with the IRA, for whom many Catholic Irish voters sympathize. He tells Pelley he never pulled a trigger, ordered a murder or set off a bomb during the decades-long war in Northern Ireland that he helped to stop in 1994.”
Adams also denies the charge he was a leader in the IRA.
“I don’t disassociate myself from the IRA. I think the IRA was a legitimate response to what was happening here,” he tells Pelley.
“I never will [disassociate himself from the IRA]. But I was not a member of the IRA.”
CBS notes that in 1984, Adams was shot three times in Belfast in an attack that a Protestant militant group said was retribution on Adams for orchestrating attacks on Protestants.
Nonetheless, he says it was a surprise to learn that Jean McConville had disappeared back in 1972.
McConville was a mother of ten accused of being an informer by the IRA, something strongly denied by her family.
“I didn’t know,” he tells Pelley when asked about McConville. Pelley then asks, “How do you orphan 10 children?” to which Adams replies, “That’s what happens in wars, Scott….That’s what American soldiers do, British soldiers do, Irish Republican soldiers do, that’s what happens in every single conflict.”
Adams says he called the police when he heard about the charges on the Boston College tapes in which two former allies, later enemies, of Adams insisted he had a senior position in the IRA and ordered executions.
Adams was arrested and held for four days. Did his arrest threaten the peace?, asks Pelley.
“I think so, to be honest, I was sick, sore and tired of a tsunami of stories based upon these tapes linking me to Mrs. McConville’s death. So I contacted the police.”
As Pelley reports, Northern Ireland is still very much divided. Despite a “Good Friday” agreement for shared power in the country between the Protestant majority and the Catholic minority reached with Adams’ help in 1998, walls separate neighborhoods and Catholics will only call a Catholic cab, Protestants patronize their own livery services. Other businesses still operate that way to a certain degree.