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'You could do this interview without me': Gerry Adams had a run-in with RTÉ earlier

The Sinn Féin leader and RTÉ presenter Áine Lawlor battled it out.

12/3/2013. Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams Source: Wanderley Massafelli/Photocall Ireland

SINN FÉIN PRESIDENT Gerry Adams has dismissed as “nonsense” the finding of a report which said the Provisional Army Council still maintains some control over his party.

The independent report found that the Provisional IRA’s structure remains in place but in a much-reduced form, and more focused on achieving a united Ireland by political means.

Other members of the party have been insistent that this is not the case, saying they are answerable to the electorate and act on instructions from the party’s ard chomhairle.

Adams this afternoon spoke to RTÉ’s News at One, stressing the same point that Sinn Féin’s membership runs the party.

“We’re not directed by any outside body or organisation,” he told the programme.

Quoting the line form report that suggested the PAC oversees Sinn Féin, Adams laughed: “You’re asking me to respond to that?”

He also described linking his party to criminality as “offensive”, saying that they stand with communities, the PSNI, and gardaí against criminally on both sides of the border.

Our party has paid the price for that. I’m under active death threat. My home is regularly targeted. Other party members have had their homes targeted. Frank McCabe was blinded in one eye because of his family’s stand against criminality.

“We put our lives on the line going against those who masquerade as republicans and who are engaged with the type of actions we’ve seen recently.

29/8/2013 New Season on RTE Radio 1 Launch. Pictur Source: Mark Stedman/RollingNews.ie

Adams said that there’s no space for any current armed groups or the remains of former ones. When presenter Áine Lawlor followed this with a line of questioning on whether Sinn Féin’s image is that of a party of “hard men”, things got heated.

Áine Lawlor: ”But does it not send a signal, Gerry Adams, when somebody like Bobby Storey, for instance, turns up leading the rally when you’re inside being questioned by the PSNI last year, and saying ‘We haven’t gone away, you know’, repeating that particular phrase.

Gerry Adams: What do you mean somebody like Bobby Storey, Aine? Bobby Storey is a duly elected official of Sinn Féin…

ÁL: He’s also somebody with a criminal record, associated with the IRA, heavily associated with the IRA, somebody who would be known as a hard man, he’s somebody who has also dedicated himself to Sinn Féin and the peace process in recent years, I’m not trying to, you know, say bad things about him or good things about him. I’m simply trying…

GA: You’re not going to say bad thing about him?

ÁL: I’m simply…

GA: You just described him as having a criminal record…

ÁL: I thought you were proud of him as a republican?

GA: Sorry?

ÁL: I thought you were proud of him as having, as a Republican

GA: I am proud of him….

ÁL: He has a criminal record, he was in and out of prison during The Troubles

GA: Yes, and so was Eamon De Valera, and so was Michael Collins, and so was…

ÁL: Yeah well, Eamon De Valera isn’t around these days, what we’re talking about…

GA: Right, fair enough..

ÁL: … is politics these days…

GA: Áine?

ÁL: … and we’re talking about trying to resolve these matters these day

GA: Áine.

ÁL: And what I’m simply trying to get from you Gerry Adams, is the fact that your republican movement has played with a certain ambiguity about all of this from the start of the peace process,..

GA: Well, first of all…

ÁL: … that may have been necessary, how do you go about recognising that won’t work any longer

GA: Well, you could nearly do this interview without me Áine, if you don’t mind me saying so. First of all, I don’t buy into this nonsense that there was constructive ambiguity and fudge, and all of that. That’s lazy journalism.

Adams continued to say that the onus isn’t just on Sinn Féin to come clean, but also for the Irish government to place their role.

Referring to Lawlor’s comments on Bobby Storey, he finished by saying:

I was in prison. I’m not a criminal.

Read: Who runs Sinn Féin? >

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Nicky Ryan

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