McDonald remains silent on controversial Adams video

Senior Sinn Féin TDs differ over whether former leader should apologise

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has remained silent on Gerry Adams’s role in a controversial Christmas video that has since been withdrawn following complaints from victims of the Provisional IRA.

Senior Sinn Féin TDs have differed on the matter, with Eoin Ó Broin saying Mr Adams should say sorry for the offence caused, while Matt Carthy and David Cullinane insisting he did not have anything to apologise for.

Sinn Féin did not respond last night to a request for Ms McDonald’s view on whether or not an apology should be made.

Nor did it respond to a question on whether former leader Mr Adams would apologise.


The video featured Mr Adams in a comedy sketch in which he sings: “Tis the season to be jolly, tiocfaidh ár lá, lá, lá, lá.”

It also shows him visiting a house as a carol singer and the homeowner repeats a slogan used by Mr Adams in August 1995 in relation to the Provisional IRA: “They haven’t gone away, you know.”

The video sketch featuring Mr Adams had appeared as an online Christmas card.

‘Satirical comedy’

Ferry Clever, the Derry-based company behind the video and Christmas card, later withdrew the video, saying its business is based around "satirical comedy" and that it was "never our intention to offend anyone".

It was intended to raise money for Foyle Search and Rescue.

In an interview on WLR FM, Mr Ó Broin said “tiocfaidh ár lá” was a “long-standing political slogan and I don’t have a problem with it being used”.

Asked if Mr Adams should apologise, the Dublin Mid-West TD replied: “I don’t believe for a second Gerry either intended to cause hurt or offence to anybody; I really don’t. But given the fact that offence has been caused, yes, I think for him to apologise for the offence that has been caused would be helpful.”

Mr Carthy said the video was made “for a good cause” and “to my mind that’s the context that it has to be taken in”.

When it was put it to him that phrases such as “Tiocfaidh ár lá” and “They haven’t gone away, you know” were very upsetting for some people, the Cavan-Monaghan TD said: “It may well be but ‘Tiocfaidh ár lá’ is a political phrase. I’ve used it myself in my own lifetime. I don’t consider that it’s a basis for someone to have to apologise.”

Mr Carthy said he didn't hear Mr Ó Broin's remarks but added: "I don't think that Gerry Adams has anything to apologise for."

Speaking on RTÉ radio, Mr Carthy said the video "was a request that came through to Gerry Adams from a charity organisation that provided the script".

However, Mr Carthy took to Twitter on Tuesday evening to correct this, saying: “I want to clarify that script came from film makers and not [Foyle Search and Rescue] who are completely non-political and played no role in the video”.

‘Best of intentions’

Mr Cullinane separately argued that the video had been done “with the best of intentions” and he didn’t believe Mr Adams had set out to offend anyone.

He told RTÉ radio: “I don’t believe Gerry Adams has anything to apologise for.” It was appropriate that the video was withdrawn and “that should be the end of it”, he said.

Mr Cullinane himself drew controversy last year when he shouted “Up the ’Ra. Tiocfaidh ár lá” at the end of a victory speech after the general election.

Asked about this incident, he said: “I made a mistake in the past and I put my hands up. I accepted that and I apologised.

“I don’t think Gerry Adams made a mistake. I think the context was different.”

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn is a Political Correspondent at The Irish Times