Adams and his virgin teddy bears taking Shock and Dáil to new levels
JOURNALISTS love full privilege.
It is a right only available to us in the court of law and in the Dáil. The reason we love it is it means one less headache for us as we tightrope walk the fine line between reportage and being (considered) vampiric monsters bent on sucking the life out of our interviewees and leaving them hollowed up shells of their former selves.
I jest. Well, kind of.
Last week Christmas came early for colour writers and journalists of varying hues, (mostly political I imagine), who were priviliged enough to be in the Dáil for the latest mad outburst from Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams.
Adams is one of the most iconic politicans of his generation. He has been around as long as many of us can remember and has graced the telly, usually looking sombre, all eyebrows, furrowed forehead and downcast gaze peering into the middle distance. Lately, as if he has undergone some American PR training, he has been showing his teeth more and has even developed a large Twitter following of 120,000 people.
Known for his interesting, quirky take on life, he is no stranger to raising eyebrows around the world.
In 2015 he revealed that he trampolines naked with his dog, In 2013 he announced on Twitter that his two gay teddy bears Tom and Ted that got engaged and how happy he was for both of them. His teddies have become presentable mascots for a not-so-presentable leader, showing his softer side.
Last week he inflicted more teddy trauma on the ears of the nation when he announced, 'My teddy bears are virgins, a cathairleach', during a debate on Irish Water. During the debate, Sinn Féin TD Louise O'Reilly hit out at Fianna Fáil's stance on water, saying the party has had 'more positions than the Kama Sutra on this issue', which most rank among the most titillating comments ever pronounced in the Dáil chamber, (out of earshot of the mics). Moments later, Adams referred to his colleagues remarks, before describing his teddy bears as 'virgins'.
'I commend Teachta O'Reilly for that line and I'm sorry I didn't think of it myself. But anyway, Fianna Fáil and the Kama Sutra, the mind boggles. My teddy bears are virgins, a Chathaoirleach.'
The thought process that lead to this announcement would have had Freud dancing a jig and is no doubt being studied by psychoanalysts around the world.
One presumes he was trying to steal O'Reilly's thunder by saying something even more shocking, while distancing himself from Fianna Fail and any notion of having sex with any of its members.
His comment reminded me of one almost as equally bizarre that I heard while on a junket trip to Brussels in the good old days. An Irish MEP came into a meeting on EU economic policy and delcared that he liked tomatoes. 'Tomatoes are amazing. You can eat them, make ketchup from them and soup and everything,' the MEP said.
As Sinn Féin leader Adams had some success in the General Election earlier this year when his party won a record 23 seats, although there were hopes it would win more than 30. Even his histrionics and finger-pointing couldn't rescue him from defeat in the debates. His latest admission that there is a plan for his exit as leader of the Sinn Féin party show his goose will soon be cooked - but there's always Europe, and teddies travel free.