TD admits use of ‘n-word’ wrong but defends comparing himself to oppressed African Americans
Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has apologised for using a racist term in a tweet comparing the suffering of slaves in the US to the struggle of Irish nationalists. Mr Adams was watching Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained when he referred to the titular character, a black slave, as “a Ballymurphy N****r”.
The prolific tweeter was referring to the 11 people who were killed during a series of shootings by British paratroopers in 1971. The tweet received an angry reaction on social media and was quickly deleted.
Mr Adams has since apologised for using the N-word, calling it “inappropriate”, and said he did not intend to cause any offence.
However, he defended the comparison and later wrote that his original tweet, and use of the term, was meant to be ironic. He also stated that he is opposed to racism and that any attempts to suggest otherwise are “without credibility”.
“I stand over the context and main point of my tweet, which were parallels between people in struggle,” he said. “Like African Americans, Irish nationalists were denied basic rights.
“If anyone is genuinely offended by my use of the Nword, they misunderstand or misrepresent the context in which it was used. “For this reason, I deleted the tweets.
“I have long been inspired by Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, who stood up for themselves and for justice.”
Members from several rival parties were quick to condemn Mr Adams’ actions, with Ulster Unionist Party leader, Mike Nesbitt, calling his remarks “extraordinary”.
“To try to liken the fight against slavery to what was happening in Northern Ireland in the 1960s is contemptible,” he added. Alliance’s Stuart Dickson mocked Mr Adams’ recent comparison between Sinn Féin and the civil rights activist Rosa Parks.
“This is proof, if it were ever needed, just how delusional that viewpoint is,” he explained. And SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said the tweet demonstrated “a staggering deficiency in judgement”.
“Using the language of slave owners is never appropriate,” he said.
“If a similar remark had been made by any other political leader on this island, Sinn Féin would have unleashed an orchestrated wave of angry condemnation.”