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Friday 22 September 2023 Dublin: 14°C
# the 'n' word
"The Irish were sold as slaves" - Gerry Adams has spoken once again about THAT tweet
Adams caused uproar for posting a racially-charged tweet on Sunday night while watching Django Unchained.

23/04/2016 Sinn Fein Ard Fheis 2016 DAY 2. Picture sam boal sam boal

SINN FÉIN PRESIDENT Gerry Adams has spoken once more regarding the controversy surrounding a tweet he sent last Sunday evening while watching Quentin Tarantino movie Django Unchained.

Adams had, in his own words, been moved by the struggle of the eponymous civil war-era slave and had posted a tweet intended he says to draw parallels between the character’s struggle and that of the Catholic Irish in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and beyond.

However, he did so by using the ‘n’ word, and has been fighting a media battle on all fronts ever since.

Speaking today to The Ryan Tubridy Show on RTÉ Radio, Adams admitted that he had made his point “clumsily and inappropriately”, but that he stood by the “political point” he had been trying to make.

“I had been canvassing (for the MLA elections) in Ballymurphy for an hour and a half. I’m not in Ballymurphy much at present, I was meeting a lot of people I hadn’t seen in a long time, and this brought back a background of memories of what happened there,” he said.

That evening I was babysitting. I don’t have Netflix myself, so I switched it on and came up with this movie, Django, which is very powerful and very violent. And that is the background to the tweet and the use of the ‘n’ word.
I was trying to make a political point, I was talking about my own community of Ballymurphy, as could be seen when I used the phrase ‘uppity Fenian’.

Adams repeated an apology for his use of the word, saying to do so was “silly and stupid”.

The whole thing was to make a political point, if I had left that word out would the tweet have gotten any attention?
I was paralleling the experiences of the Irish, not just in recent times but through the penal days when the Irish were sold as slaves, through the Cromwellian period.


Adams’ comments regarding the Irish being sold as slaves are a reiteration of a claim he made on Sunday saying “50,000 Irish men and women were shipped as slaves to Barbados between 1652 and 1659″.

That claim was subsequently rejected by historian and slavery expert Liam Hogan who told that the figure of 50,000 is wrong and that the most credible estimates were 10,000 as indentured servants at most.

“The exploitation and dehumanisation of African people by Europeans in the Americas has no analogy in Irish history and this fact should be respected,” said Hogan.

Today, Adams was questioned about his relationship with Nelson Mandela, for whom he served as pallbearer, and asked whether or not the South African leader would have understood his tweet in the context in which it was used.

“Of course he would understand,” he replied.

He was hugely loyal. He was loyal to us in Sinn Féin because we were part of the anti-apartheid struggle. That’s why he refused to condemn armed struggle.

The Sinn Féin leader acknowledged that he has no issue with “anyone who was genuinely offended” by his tweet.

There are also those who are hostile to me and Sinn Féin who seize upon anything, and that’s my fault because I have given them an excuse.

Adams did admit that given the situation to live through again he would not have sent his infamous tweet.

“I certainly wouldn’t do it again,” he said.

I may have tweeted having seen such a powerful film, but I probably would have tweeted something else.

RTÉ Radio 1 / SoundCloud

Read: Body of newborn baby found at Bray recycling facility

Read: ‘I never want to go back there again’: Journalist Olivia O’Leary on her struggle with depression

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