Adams serves soundbites from Big Apple: Peter Pringle, in New York, sees Sinn Fein's model of reasonableness work the hungry media

THE Land of Liberty rose to the occasion of Gerry Adams's visit in the way it knows best: put the famous foreign guest on a television talk show. Britain's gagging order had never looked sillier.

A few hours after he flew in, the Sinn Fein leader was trying to explain to an untutored Larry King, the Cable News Network host, the devilish details of the Irish problem. The normally clear-headed Mr King was somewhat befuddled, as well he might be. Was Mr Adams actually renouncing violence?

'I want to take the gun out of Irish politics, the gun that was brought into our affairs by the British,' Mr Adams, looking suitably non-violent in a dark blue jacket and tie with a white shirt, said. 'I want to see the IRA disarmed.' Mr King pressed on: 'But are you publicly calling for an end to all violence of any kind?'

'I have already called on a number of occasions for all the forces involved to seek a demilitarisation situation,' his guest replied, calmly. The problem as always, he said, was that it seemed impossible to get all the various parties around the table at one time.

That has never been a problem for CNN, of course. Spotting a scoop and a trip to Ireland, Mr King asked: 'If we (CNN) were to come to Belfast, would you sit down with all the parties and tell the world what's going on?' More than that, offered Mr Adams. 'You'd be very welcome, I'd also buy you a pint of Guinness in the Falls Road.'

'I won't be shot, then?' asked Mr King.

'No, no, you'll have your pint of Guinness.'

And so it went, the trail of Mr Adams across Manhattan from one TV appearance to another, a speech, then one press conference to another, and then a rally with Irish-American supporters, all packed into the hectic 48 hours President Clinton had decided was enough time for Gerry Adams to make his point.

It was better than any fund-raising event, which is strictly forbidden by the visa conditions. According to a spokesman for Noraid, the republican Irish aid group, people were calling in from all over the country pledging support, but - of course - only after Mr Adams had returned to Ireland.

For a man billed as a friend, even a director, of terrorists, Mr Adams projected a studied reasonableness, and a cautious optimism about the chances of peace. It was true, he told his eager listeners, he had been held in prison without trial, beaten by British troops, shot by enemies, but he was not vindictive. He would meet and sit down with his attackers, and with the Ulster Unionists he opposed.

The soundbites had been carefully selected. Everyone, including President Clinton, who had been involved in getting him a visa, was to be 'commended'. Peace in Northern Ireland had never been 'more realisable' than at present, and the 'final phase' of the negotiations had been reached.

'I will go the extra mile,' Mr Adams said. He and Sinn Fein, which the Daily News felt obliged to spell out phonetically for its uninformed readers, stood for nothing but 'a negotiated settlement' of the Anglo-Irish crisis.

At the appropriate moment, four bipartisan members of Congress appeared with Mr Adams. They praised Mr Clinton for 'breaking the conspiracy of silence' surrounding the Irish question.

'So many people have wanted to hear from Gerry Adams for so long,' one said. And Mr Adams spoke again for the cameras and the tape recorders. And CNN, having earlier said it would respect British ban on his voice and not beam Larry King across the Atlantic, changed its mind.

After all, the President himself had approved the visit, and the big thing about the 'peace process' was to keep it going. Wasn't it?

(Photograph omitted)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
arts + entsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker