Miriam Lord: SF lose plot in pursuit of Nama outrage

Hissing Adams steams into bubbling Nama saga but swerves party strains in Rebel County

Gerry Adams: Gerry Adams hissed like a burnt pot. He was steaming about that Nama kettle. Photograph: The Irish Times

Gerry Adams: Gerry Adams hissed like a burnt pot. He was steaming about that Nama kettle. Photograph: The Irish Times

 

Gerry Adams hissed like a burnt pot. He was steaming about that Nama kettle. It is always on the boil. There are questions about it which cry out for answers.

So Gerry of the burnt pot got up there in the Dáil yesterday and he called it like it is.

“That big kettle is very black!” he cried. (Or words to that effect.) What was the Taoiseach going to do about it?

The deputy for Louth was extremely exercised by this, which was ironic, given that the bottom of his Sinn Féin pot was so charred it looked darker than the head of a black-faced ram on the Cooley Peninsula.

Curiously, Enda didn’t notice the striking similarity in the burnt bottoms. Not like him to miss an opportunity to take a swipe at Gerry, particularly when the sameness of Nama’s kettle and the Sinn Féin leader’s pot was so glaringly obvious.

Adams wanted to talk about the result of an important court case.

“Yesterday, Nama lost a five-year battle at public expense to prevent details of its loans and properties being provided to the public” he said. “Why would Nama want to prevent citizens knowing about its activities? Is it not unfair and unjust that the taxpayer might have to pay for Nama’s efforts to prevent the very same taxpayer knowing what the agency is doing, supposedly, in the name of the taxpayer?”

Indeed. Transparency in public life is a must.

He continued: “Nama has been shrouded in secrecy since its inception. It only became subject to the Freedom of Information Act last year.”

For this, his party is to be heartily commended. Get everything out in the open there. As Gerry so rightly said, why would Sinn Féin/Nama want to prevent citizens knowing its activities?

Transparency and accountability

Publicly elected representatives might be considered State assets. The taxpayer pays their wages. Political parties too. We should know about their doings.

Openness, transparency and accountability is where it’s at. Unless you’re a kettle called Nama or a pot called Sinn Féin.

The party is experiencing a little local difficulty in Cork. There’s metaphorical murder going on.

Infighting in political parties is nothing new. It’s one of the spectator delights of politics. But when blood is spilled indoors among Gerry’s tightly controlled and disciplined troops, the carpets are immediately lifted and laundered before outsiders get a chance to see the stains.

Not now, though. It’s all kicking off in Cork East. Two councillors are at the centre of a major row – one of them, a political veteran, has been expelled and another has been suspended for a year.

This followed a decision taken by party HQ at the start of the year to “stand down” the local organisation. Not a squeak out of anyone about this rather drastic move.

Why did it happen? It’s a secret.

Then a TD from an adjoining constituency, acting on instructions from the ardchomhairle, is given the job of carrying out “an internal review”.

Nothing was said publicly. The media remained oblivious. Perhaps troops were asked to “stand down” because they weren’t any good. If they had been, surely somebody might have noticed they had gone missing.

Jonathan O’Brien went about his review with remarkable stealth. Finally, last weekend, Cllr Kieran McCarthy from Cobh and Cllr Melissa Mullane were booted out. Why did this happen? Are the people who voted them into office last year due an explanation? It’s a secret.

All sorts of allegations – one very serious – are being thrown around. But Jonathan is refusing to disclose the findings of his six-month investigation.

O’Brien went all Nama-esque on the News at One.“It is an internal matter.”

There has been talk about allegations concerning loans being misappropriated. Completely “unproven”, fumes McCarthy, who claims he’s been “stabbed in the back” in a “Spanish Inquisition”.

Who is Torquemada here? It’s a secret.

Perhaps these allegations which so upset the long-serving Sinn Féin activist are at the heart of this mystery.

Sadly, Jonathan can’t say a word about the wholly unsubstantiated McCarthy rumours which are being thrown about.

That’s the ex-Sinn Féin councillor’s business, says the TD. All he knows is that there was a decision to set up a review into something he can’t talk about and he conducted it and two people have been turfed out and mass resignations have ensued, but his lips are sealed.

Sworn to secrecy

The sitting TD is Sandra McLellan. She’s said nothing. She seems sworn to secrecy too. Or maybe she knows nothing.

This is dreadful. Why didn’t somebody tell Gerry Adams? It wasn’t fair to send him into the Dáil chamber yesterday armed with a script which railed against the culture of secrecy in Nama while boasting about Sinn Féin’s successful efforts to have it brought in under the Freedom of Information Act.

Did nobody think about pots calling kettles black? The leader of Sinn Féin/Nama deserves better. Is there anything to be said for an internal review?