By Ray O’Hanlon
The stars are moving in funny courses. First they discover a possible new planet way beyond Pluto. Next comes the move by WBAI radio – The diehards of “Radio Free Eireann” and all – from its midtown perch to the Wall Street area. And in the same week Gerry Adams goes walkabout in capitalism’s snake pit, the floor of the Stock Exchange.
Guess that’s the “32 County Socialist Republic” on the long finger for now. The only thing to do now is for RFE to throw in the latest on the Dow between dissing “our Gerry” every Saturday afternoon and for Adams to invest some of S.F.’s locally raised zillions in a few good stocks on the Semtex, eh Nasdaq.
Arms companies should probably be avoided, given the spirit of the times, while profits could be used for causes most noble. Florida vacations for the lads and lassies – no Stingers attached – when they get out of the Kesh would be a grand idea.
But back to Adams for a moment. “IF” reckons it’s now time to shelve all the Armani jokes. They’re becoming a tad threadbare, to say the least. If New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd’s “The Green Panther” is the last piece she writes about Gerry’s attire, “IF” promises to follow suit.
Meanwhile, those who have observed Adams closely on his various U.S. visits couldn’t help but sense that the man has reached a new level in his process of transformation from street revolutionary to international statesman. Yes, he admitted to being a little uncomfortable reading a prepared script at the American Irish Historical Society last week, but read it he did. It’s a wonder nobody called him “minister” in the Q&A, because the way things are going, the appellation might well apply in the near future. Adams would likely be a very competent government minister. But minister for what, and in who’s government?
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Rita makes her U.S. debut
Sinn FTin press officer Rita O’Hare accompanied Gerry Adams on his U.S. visit and is expected to succeed Mairead Keane as head of the Sinn FTin office in Washington this summer. But first up there is the small matter of a warrant for her arrest in Northern Ireland and the fact that she would be open to possible British extradition proceedings once she became anything but a visitor on this side of the pond.
The Irish Times reported recently that the British government had not yet decided on whether to seek O’Hare’s extradition should she assume her expected posting.
The 1971 arrest warrant for O’Hare charges her with attempted murder, malicious wounding and possession of a firearm. Charges like those weren’t hard to come by in those days and she duly jumped bail and fled to the wee Republic, where she still resides. At the time of the alleged offenses, there was no extradition treaty between Dublin and London.
A British Embassy spokesman told the IT that the lifting of the warrant would require British government action. The report suggested that in view of the changed situation in Northern Ireland, a way would be found to allow O’Hare to take up her Washington position without her being subjected to a British extradition proceeding.
Post’s Pete in pole position
Peter Finn, Roscommon native and reporter for the Washington Post, is being assigned to head up the Post’s bureau in the Polish capital, Warsaw. Finn is one of the select club of Irish-born hacks working for a major American daily. His elevation to foreign-based correspondent was clearly a sweet enough deal to lure him away from the exotic temptations of northeastern Virginia, the Beltway, etc. Call it a suitable, er, Warsaw pact.
Terry George’s Nam ain’t his Waterloo
The reviews came in for Terry George’s small screen adaptation of the Neil Sheehan Vietnam book classic “A Bright Shining Lie” and they went one way and the next. The New York Times gave the HBO film a mixed response while the New York Post positively raved about it. “IF” will go more with the Post on this one. George did a good job considering that he had to cram two enormous stories – one man’s extraordinary life and the Vietnam debacle – into two measly hours.
Sure, if you have read the book the film has an air of highlights about it, but George did largely succeed in getting the issues, contradictions, absurdities and obscenities of the war across to viewers in more or less good order.
The film definitely improved as it went along and there was a sense that minus some of the picket fence scenes back in America, the entire exercise would have been veering towards outstanding. As it turned out, the film was flawed but by no means that flawed. George’s directing horizons are clearly expanding. If you missed Sunday’s HBO premiere, definitely keep an eye out for repeats.
No match for “Rugrats”
“IF” settled down before the telly on the evening of the referendum to watch C-Span’s live feed of the RTE current affairs show, “Primetime.” As it transpired, the only thing particularly live was the electricity that powered the feed. Primetime was more like “Primtime,” as a succession of political and journalistic hacks, pollsters, political scientists and pundits in suits – all but one of them men – were wheeled into RTE’s Dublin and Belfast studios to wrestle with the enormousness of the occasion and the pearls derived from exit polls. In the end, it was a damp squib. Chinese TV in the days of Mao would have been like this.
“IF” is no fan of Conor Cruise O’Brien, but if ever a dissenting voice or two was needed it was now. As it was, the only guest singing out of the chorus line was a man from the DUP named Sinclair McAllister and by DUP standards Sinclair was low key and reasonable. As the show groaned on, the only excitement came from presenter John Bowman’s traffic-stopping tie and the almost bordello-like pink walls in the Belfast studio where presenter Miriam O’Callaghan was doing her best to make it all sound, well, live.
By show’s end viewer’s were being treated to exit poll “nuggets” by Bowman. It was fast approaching the point of “exit polls reveal that 12 percent of Protestants who voted ‘no’ keep ferrets.” It was time to zap over to “Rugrats.”