By Patrick Markey
Gerry Adams is finally getting his own way in America.
A street in California will named after the Sinn Fein leader for his contributions to Northern Ireland’s peace process.
The half-mile-long block in Oakland’s downtown financial district, just across the Bay Bridge from San Francisco, will be named Gerry Adams Way, a short distance from Nelson Mandela Parkway.
Last Tuesday evening, the Oakland City Council voted without opposition to name the short street after Adams. The resolution was introduced by Oakland councilwoman Nancy Nadel’s office at the suggestion of Ciaran Scally, a North Antrim businessman who is developing the block into residential and commercial properties.
"It needed a name and we were glad to help," said Katherine McKenny, a spokeswoman from Nadel’s office.
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McKenny said Adams’s contribution to the peace process and the parallels to Nelson Mandela’s life had prompted the decision. Although the council has a policy of not naming streets after living people, councilors had decided to make another exception for Adams, she said.
Scally, who moved to San Francisco more than a decade ago, said Oakland’s Irish community wanted to pay tribute to Adams and the republican movement.
"We’re paying him back for the inspiration he gave us in his leadership and showing us we can demand equality," Scally said. The street signs will likely be put up early next year if the Sinn Fein leader decides to visit the West Coast.
Gerry Adams Way joins the other republican-inspired American road sign, Joseph Doherty Corner, which was put up outside the lower Manhattan correction center where convicted IRA man Joe Doherty spent nine years during his fight against extradition and deportation to Northern Ireland.
A street in France and another in Iran were also named after hunger striker Bobby Sands after he died in 1981.