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February 12, 2016     Post-Gazette
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February 12, 2016

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POST-GAZE'I-rE, FEBRUARY 12, 2016 PAGE 7 THOUGHTS BY DAN ABOUT THIS 8< THAT with Daniel A. DiCenso GERRY ADAMS (October 6, 1948, Belfast, Northern Ireland): From Revolutionary to Peacemaker More than anyone, Gerry Adams is the central figure of all political issues concerning Northern Ireland. Following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather before him, both Irish Republican fighters, he be- gan as a rioter in his youth and grew to be Northern Ireland's most powerful political leader today as weU as the president of the Irish Republican Party, Sinn Fein, since 1983. Adams, however, has not been devoid of controversy. Some of it added to his reputa- tion as a fierce leader against British forces. He was first ar- rested in March of 1972, but released thanks to the IRA, who were able to negotiate a truce (albeit a short-one) with the British government. Ironically, his second arrest, in July of 1973, did more to en- hance his reputation. After a failed escape attempt, Adams spent the next three years of imprisonment writing and pub- lishing articles for the cause of Irish liberation. It's a'testament to the support he garnered that when he was arrested a third time in 1978, for allegations of involvement with the IRA, the charges failed to stick and he was released. By this time, Sinn Fein was growing into a powerful political party (with tactics that could no longer be ignored, such as the hunger strike of 1981) and, in parallel, Adams's status was growing. In 1983 he was elected president of his party and, in a perverse way, an assassination attempt by the Ulster Defense Association the following year indicated how much of a con- cern he had become to Britons. For his part, Adams has always denied involvement with the IRA, though some biographers disagree. Adams himself may have fueled the confusion by attending meet- ings during the organization's formative years and supporting the movement while avoiding official membership. Former IRA members like Anthony Mclntyre and Richard O'Rawe have also added to the confu- sion, crediting Adams as an' instrumental part in the growth of the IRA. While Adams fought off allegations of involvement with the 1978 La Mon restau- rant bombing and organizing the transport of explosives that killed Officer Seamus Quaid in 1980, the allegation that caught the most attention and proved the most devastating for him was the accusation of assisting in the murder of British infor- mant Jean McConville, and the subsequent cover-up, back in 1972. McConville was one of the sixteen who "disappeared" dur- ing the troubles that spanned thirty years of turbulence be- tween the United Kingdom, the Ulster Loyalists, and the Irish Republican Army. In this instance, Adams' greatest foe proved to be Pro- visional Irish Republican Army volunteer and activist Dolours Price, who had become increas- ingly hostile to Adams's plea for reduced violence. Price claimed that the murder (committed in 1972) was ordered by Adams and that he even assisted with the burial of her body (which was discovered in 2003). It's likely that Price contributed to Adams' arrest for the murder in 2014, though the degree is questionable. Be that as it may, Adams was released without charge after no evidence was found connecting him to the murder. Despite the emotional toll these trials and allegations took, Adams was charging full steam ahead as President of Sinn Fein. He became regarded as such a powerful opponent of British rule that Margaret Thatcher, in one of her most ridiculed moves, banned all broadcasts of his voice (along with those of others, though Adams' was the most promi- nent) for fear of rallying up the opposition. By the mid-80s, Sinn Fein began moving toward a more mainstream approach to poli- tics under Adams' leadership. This would culminate into the Belfast Agreement between the British Northern Ireland Office, the Secretary for State for Northern Ireland, and the Government of~ the Republic. The most valuable product of this agreement was an IRA ceasefire in 1994. At first, this seemed like the promise to a new peaceful beginning, but developments were slow and British Prime Minister John Major was becoming increas- ingly reliant on support from the Ulster Unionist Party, which strongly opposed the inclusion of Sinn Fein in talks, at least until the IRA disbanded. To keep their votes, Major excluded Sinn Fein and the IRA revoked its ceasefire. Fortunately, this turned out to be but a mere stumbling block. With the election of 1997 came a shift in party (the Labor Party took over) and a change in ideology. This solidified the Belfast Agreement, uniting the British government, Sinn Fein, and the Unionists. With the IRA agreeing to a ceasefire, once more violence dropped drasti- cally, save for the Omagh bomb- ing in August of 1998 which resulted in the death of 31 people. Adams condemned this action despite his tendency to not speak out against the IRA. Some friction continued to exist, even amongst more un- bending members of the Irish Republican Party, who saw Ad- ams as growing soft for the ease with which he compromised, but his popularity largely stayed strong winning him re-election in 2007. From here, Adams' prestige continued to grow with a 2010 re-election as MP for West Belfast and he made history in May of 2015 by shaking hands with Prince Charles on his visit to Galway. It was a meeting of reconciliation between the Brit- ish Royal Family -- who had suffered a loss at the hands of the IRA in 1979 when a bomb the group set-up killed the prince's great-uncle Lord Louis Mountbatten, his grand- son Nicholas Knatchbull, Lady Doreen Barbourne, and a local teenager -- and Gerry Adams, who was considered part of the IRA think-tank then, justified the bombing. And so, Gerry Adams, Sinn Fein President and revolution- ary, has completed his circle as peacemaker, becoming not only Northern Ireland's most influential figure, but her most enigmatic. Mrs. Murphy... As I See It Football fans were disappoint- - ed the New Eng- / ~ ! land Patriots did not get to play in this year's Super Bowl 50. The Denver Broncos, who lost to the Patriots during the regu- lar season last year, went on to win this year. The Carolina Panthers favored over Denver only scored 10 points against the Bronco's strong defense ... We heard from two conflicting Groundhogs on February 2nd! Phil, our number one ground- hog, didn't see his shadow, predicting an early spring. But students from the Hunnewell School in Wellesley watched as Massachusetts groundhog, Mrs. G, saw hers, indicating six more weeks of winter. And so the myth goes ... There was a mass round-up and 56 ar- rests of the MS-13 violent gang members in Boston on Janu- ary 29m ... According to news re- ports, members arrested live in East Boston, Chelsea, Revere, Everett, Somerville and Lynn. They are largely composed of immigrants or descendents of immigrants from E1 Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and Hon- duras, and range in ages 14 and up. These thugs are alleg- edly responsible for murders that go back to 2014 up till the present. MS- 13 gangs operate all over the country, and are despicable, ruthless youths! ... A Nor'easter swept through New England dumping differ- ent amounts of snow depending on where you live. We can't complain YET!! Last year, at the end of January 2015, the city had its first blizzard, drop- ping over two and a half feet of snow in the Boston area. On February 1st and 2nd, yet an- other foot of snow fell on us, and if that wasn't enough for the nervous system, more snow arrived on February 5th and 9th, leaving people exhausted and weary from shoveling. So far this year we haven't been buried in Boston, not to say we won'tf ... Congratulations to this years' recipients in the 2nd annual Prosperity Awards Gala. The prestigious awards have been established to honor East Boston's most influential and impactful business and community owners. Among the winners: John Mastrangelo and his wife Bernice, owners of Kel- ley's Pub on Bennington Street; and Vincent Lombardo, C.F.O. Lombardi Companies, who ac- cepted the award on behalf of the Lombardo Companies. The family beginning with deceased Sal Lombardo, founder of LOm- bardo Companies have been instrumental in shaping the progress of East Boston since the 1950's, and their contribu- tions to the people of East Bos- ton are immeasurable! Several other distinguished members of the community received awards, including John Kelley, Director of the E.B. Social Cen- ters. Congratulations to alll ... With crime escalating in Eastie, residents are demanding the expanded police patrols Mayor Marty Walsh promised a year ago ... In Mayor Marry Walsh's State of the City address, he re- cently stressed education ds his priority, a contradiction to the $50 million cut to the Boston Public Schools. However, 'Bos- ton has a good school system (there's an old saying "cream comes to the top") and parents should allow teachers to teach, and take some responsibility when their children aren't do- ing well. Education is not only taught in schools, it begins at home. The problem facing edu- cation today is that there are too many one-parent homes, and the benefits of welfare checks overrule marriage, send- ing children a wrong message. Another problem facing public schools today is that there is too much emphasis put on political correctness! ... Have a lovely, heartwarming and happy Val- entine's Day[ ... Till next time! JUSTINE YANDLE PHOTOGRAPHY 781.589.7347 JUSTINE.YANDLE@GMAIL.COM WWW.JUST:NEYANDLEPHOTOGRAPHY.COM f RISTORANTE & BAR Traditional Italian Cuisine 415 Hanover Street, Boston 617.367.2353 11 Mount Vernon Street, Winchester 781.729.0515 Deivate Funchon ] ooms fop anq Occasion Ch,+isleninq. B +:Iol Show+ B ,l+q Show+ B+dhch,+ B+ +ov+,n+nt, Etc. Donato Fraffaroli donato @