“YOU SIT IN the Dáil and you look at TDs, and by far the most interesting is Gerry Adams, by far by far by far.”
Vincent Browne’s three-part documentary about the Sinn Féin leader is set to be major discussion point when it broadcasts in November.
Browne worked as a reporter in Northern Ireland during The Troubles and says he first met Adams in 1971, so the two are far from strangers.
But the Sinn Féin leader remains probably Ireland’s most divisive politician at the same times as being the country’s most recognisable internationally.
These are the reasons why Browne wanted to give him the the full documentary treatment.
“He was by far the most important person in the IRA from 1980 onwards,” Browne told TheJournal.ie.
“But a lot of what the IRA did would have happened without him. But I don’t think the peace process would have happened at the time it did without him, I think he was THE crucial person in the peace process, more important than Blair or Clinton or Bertie or anyone else.”
The show has been well flagged and will see Browne talking to Adams’ colleagues, former paramilitaries and political players from both sides of the border. Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern makes an appearance and explains the clout Adams had among among IRA members in Belfast.
“He’s so far the preeminent person in Sinn Féin, he’s the preeminent person on the island too, there’s no other politician of his stature,” says Browne. “There are several people who would be bitterly opposed to him politically and morally but still regard him as the man, that this is the guy who makes things happen.”
The documentary is especially timely as Sinn Féin seeks to go into government in the republic but even now Browne says he captures attention when he speaks, in most part because of his history
“He’s now building a party that could well be in five, ten years time, the largest political party on the island of Ireland and the guy is a very significant person.”
“You sit in the Dáil and you look at TDs, and who’s by far the most interesting it’s Gerry Adams, by far by far by far. Enda Kenny’s background is pretty bland, Micheál Martin background, even Mick Wallace’s background isn’t that exciting.”
Two years ago in another documentary about Sinn Féin, TV3′s political editor Ursula Halligan also made a documentary about Sinn Féin and pushed Adams on whether he had ever been a member of the IRA.
Browne’s documentary will see contributors openly talking about Adams’ involvement in the paramiltary group. But is this question given too much prevalence?
“He’s trapped now,” says Browne.
“There was a time when he could have moved from denial to fudge and he missed it, and he’s trapped with it. He’s tried to enfer that, ‘lookit I take responsibility for what the IRA’, did but he’s got difficulties, Jean McConville is a big problem and ‘The Disappeared’ is a big problem.”