Northern Ireland

Sinn Féin: Gerry Adams not a liability despite race gaffe

 "I have acknowledged that the use of the n-word was inappropriate," Gerry Adams said
 "I have acknowledged that the use of the n-word was inappropriate," Gerry Adams said

SINN Féin has insisted that its leader Gerry Adams is not a liability after an angry backlash on Twitter forced him to apologise for using the ‘n’ word in a tweet.

Mr Adams provoked a storm of criticism after tweeting on Sunday about an Oscar-winning Quentin Tarantino film about slavery in America, where he compared the treatment of Irish nationalists to that of African Americans.

The late-night tweet read: “Watching Django Unchained – A Ballymurphy N*****!” Mr Adams also referred to the main character as “an uppity Fenian”.

Early yesterday he said his controversial post – which was swiftly deleted – and use of the ‘n’ word were ironic and not intended to cause offence.

However, the under-pressure Louth TD was later forced to apologise after admitting it was inappropriate.

“I have acknowledged that the use of the ‘n’ word was inappropriate. That is why I deleted the tweet. I apologise for any offence caused,” he said.

“I stand over the context and main point of my tweet about Django which were the parallels between people in struggle.”

The tweet drew criticism on social media and was widely reported on news networks in the UK and US.

Earlier this year commentators said Mr Adams’s performance during the Dáil election campaign prevented the party from achieving greater success at the polls.

But yesterday Sinn Féin Upper Bann candidate John O’Dowd defended the 67-year-old party leader, rubbishing suggestions that he had become a liability.

“Is Gerry Adams a liability? Of course he’s not,” he said.

“Gerry has led a political movement to heights which no-one believed imaginable 15 years ago.”

Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt branded Mr Adams’s tweet “contemptible” .

“I find it extraordinary that the leader of a political party can even think to utter the words that he did,” he said.