Gerry Adams has written a new short story book titled “Black Mountain and Other Stories” published by Brandon Press. The publication is his 18th book, an incredible number considering the life he has led and the demands of his time.
There are several touching stories in the collection, particularly those set in the H blocks where prisoners of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) were held. A constant theme is whether their external relationships will survive, especially those with their wife or girlfriend.
The prisoners are consumed with worrying whether their loved ones will be waiting for them outside or whether the long jail term will eventually force the couple to go their separate ways.
Daily life behind bars is obviously based on Adams’ own experiences and provides remarkable insight into what it was like in the infamous H Blocks where Bobby Sands died on hunger strike.
There’s also that dark Belfast humor, a hilarious tale of a first confession as the title story is about two male friends, their relationship with each other and with the Black Mountain towering over it. West Belfast with a giant presence.
The book is a good read. Adams is that rare revolutionary who can write humor as well as pathos and emotion.
Above all, he knows his Belfast as Martin McGuinness knew his Derry or Brian Friel his Ballybeg. Having accompanied him once or twice to his bailiwick, I can confirm that Adams has a tremendous impact on people.
But we know he’s not a struggling writer. In fact, it is an Irish political phenomenon as we have rarely seen.
Adams’s legacy as Ireland’s most influential politician since Valera is almost complete.
If you don’t believe me, just look at the polls, north and south. In the north, Sinn Fein is the largest part of a country mile. In the Republic of Ireland, they are 10 points ahead of Fine Gael and Fianna Fail. Paddy Power bookmakers have them at 1-2 odds – deposit two dollars to win one – to form the next government.
The transformation inevitably means that Sinn Fein will be the largest in the north and south after the next elections, both of which are likely to take place within the next three years.
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How did Adams do it? He obviously had the help of the great McGuinness and Mary Lou McDonald, the next likely taoiseach after the election in the Republic.
Adams continually confuses his enemies who have deregistered his party time and time again.
The incredible success of ending the armed conflict has marked his reputation as a leader through the ages. To take a movement of physical force and put it on a political path was probably the greatest achievement of any Irish politician since partition.
Adams’ secret is not very exciting. Stay close to the people, listen to the grassroots, set a long term strategy, and stick to it.
Sinn Fein will outlive the other parties. I had a chat with a well-heeled Irish businessman, a guy you could call a strong South Dublin Fine Gael supporter, who told me that his 18-year-old son joined young Sinn Fein at his great astonishment.
There are a lot of young Irish people who think Sinn Fein is the future. Adams didn’t do it alone, but without him bombs and bullets could still explode.
Instead, it is likely that Sinn Fein will be the majority party in Ireland for years to come. There is no doubt that this transformation will make it a future book by Adams.