Did you know Gerry Adams brought Ebola into Ireland?
Well no, not exactly but it is about the only thing he has not been accused of in the last week or so in the Irish media.
A media onslaught reminiscent of the massive attacks on the Nobel Prize Winner John Hume when he tried to end the North’s violence by helping create the Hume/Adams strategy has once again washed over Ireland.
Hume was vilified, demonized and ridiculed for daring to do the right thing.
Then peace broke out thanks to the Hume/Adams strategy and John deservedly went on to win the Nobel Prize. Now that same media that once vilified him treats him rightly as Ireland’s greatest statesman.
Now the media game has changed however. Recent polls showed Sinn Fein as the joint most popular party in Ireland. The Visigoths from the North are now threatening the power structure in the Irish Republic.
It is all hands on deck and as always the target is Gerry Adams who has led the party to spectacular gains in Ireland, North and South.
Fortunately for his critics a scandal erupted. During The Troubles in the absence of policing the IRA adopted “no go” areas where their form of rough justice prevailed.
Going to the police was simply not an option. The 93 per cent unionist RUC were despised and in their place IRA courts sprang up. It was based on the Irish War Of Independence model where a parallel justice system was set-up to thwart the British.
Lest we forget there were a lot of kangaroo courts operating during The Troubles, the original Bloody Sunday inquiry whitewash, the Guildford Four and Birmingham Six miscarriage of justice cases are just a few examples.
In the IRA Case in Northern Ireland, justice was meted out by IRA members many ill suited to the task especially when it came to domestic violence and abuse.
During that period a young woman, Maria Cahill, was abused and her case was mishandled. Cahill, poised and articulate and from a famous Republican family has gone public with her tragic story. Cue the media firestorm with local Irish politicians jumping in.
Missed entirely is the fact that the reason such rough justice events ended was the actual peace peace process that Adams did more than anyone to bring about.
He took his life in his own hands many times to persuade the IRA to stop the violence and give a political strategy a chance.
The success of that is borne out by the fact that there is now an accountable police force to ensure that another Mairia Cahill case doesn't happen again.
Sinn Fein is in power in the North and may well be the majority party there in a decade.
In the south they have an excellent chance of power in the next decade also coming off spectacular European and local elections results though they surprisingly lost a by-election in Dublin this month.
Adams now represents the same danger to the status quo in the Irish Republic as he once did to the north’s.
Hence the concerted attempt to paint him and Sinn Fein as an alien presence trying to undermine the good and decent ordinary people of Ireland.
Despite the onslaught Sinn Fein have not gone away. One poll this weekend showed their support unchanged. Another showed it was down 3 per cent. To put it in context the same polls showed Fine Gael at the same level in one and down two per cent in the other and Labor down 5 and at the same level in the two polls.
Adams personal approval is down seven points to 40 per cent, still 11 per cent ahead of Irish leader Enda Kenny. Hardly a meltdown.
It must be disheartening for Kenny who has made a decent effort to turn Ireland’s troubled economy around to be trailing Adams on a personal level.
Politics is a tough game in Ireland.
Perhaps the Irish electorate has seen all this “unclean”argument before such as during the Martin McGuinness run for the Irish presidency.
It didn't work against Hume in it’s time and it seem unlikely to work against Adams.
Interesting too to note that the story hasn't registered outside of Ireland in Britain or the United States not for the want of trying I understand from top US media sources.
The reason I suspect is the foreign media has seen the Get Adams strategy before, most recently in the Boston College tapes fiasco when two anti-peace process journalists sought in vain to damage Adams. The upshot was the party’s most successful electoral outing in Ireland since 1918.
The dark heart of Northern Ireland during the Troubles with multiple atrocities on all sides was well known. The fact that there is now a functioning government there, even if barely, and and end to violence is the single most impressive achievement in Ireland in the past 50 years. and is seen so across the world.
Recently, Charlie Rose the highly respected CBS commentator and analyst, told a Flax Trust luncheon in New York that when he was asked by leaders in the world troubles areas for advice on peacemaking he always told them ”Go to Ireland.”
Gerry Adams helped achieve that more than any other one person. That seems to be too much to accept for his legions of haters. Albert Reynolds the late great Irish leader once stated “Who is afraid of peace” Quite a lot of people it seems when it involves a new political reality.
God be with the days when those awful Northern people could be boxed off behind the wires of partition is their Amen chorus.
But the cat may be out of the bag. The Sinn Fein advance in the Irish Republic could well be unstoppable at this stage -- unless they stop gerry Adams.
That seems to be the game.