Mary Lou McDonald: Online Adams comedy sketch done 'with a good heart'

Mary Lou McDonald: Online Adams comedy sketch done 'with a good heart'

Former Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams was embroiled in controversy and criticised by families of victims after his comedy sketch video which has since been withdrawn. 

Mary Lou McDonald has said she will not call on Gerry Adams to apologise for his controversial comedy sketch video, saying it was done "for a good cause and with a good heart".

Mr Adams has been criticised for the online video in which several of the IRA's best known phrases are used.

The video, which has now been withdrawn, featured the former Sinn Féin president singing "Tis the season to be jolly, tiocfaidh ár lá lá lá lá lá" while another character repeats the phrase "They haven't gone away you know", famously used by Mr Adams in 1995 in reference to the IRA.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has led calls for Mr Adams to apologise.

'Good cause' 

Speaking to the PA news agency, Ms McDonald said: "The video was for Foyle Rescue, it was for a very, very good cause. I just think it's a terrible pity that something that's done for the best of reasons and with the best of heart, has resulted in this controversy. I think the video has been withdrawn. I think that was the right thing to do.

"And then as regards Sinn Féin, people will have different views on on this, you know, we don't have a party position on it.

But as far as I am concerned, I wouldn't be asking somebody, anybody, Gerry Adams or anyone else to apologise for doing something for a good cause and with a good heart.

Troubles victims including Ann Travers, whose sister Mary was shot dead by IRA gunmen in 1984, have criticised the video.

The Derry-based business Ferry Clever announced on Sunday it was withdrawing the video and card.

Prominent Sinn Féin members, including vice-president Michelle O'Neill, and health spokesperson David Cullinane, have insisted Mr Adams has "nothing to apologise for".

'The IRA has gone away'

However, housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin has said the former party leader should apologise "for the offence caused".

Asked if Mr Adams should not have foreseen that the phrase "they haven't gone away you know" could cause hurt to IRA victims, Ms McDonald replied: "Well, they have gone away, you know. The IRA has gone away and the war is over. The war is over, the conflict is over, thank God."

She added: "We now move forward. And I suppose if there's a lesson in all of this, it's a lesson of people being ana cúramach ar fad ['very careful indeed' in Irish] — very careful with what they say, and how it might be heard."

With Sinn Féin gearing up for a place in government, Ms McDonald suggested the use of such slogans would not be acceptable from her current party members, saying she "runs a tight ship".

Mr Cullinane caused controversy in 2020 when he was caught on camera saying "up the Ra" after his re-election to the Dáil.

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