Elaine Byrne: The master communicator of Sinn Féin hasn’t gone away, you know

Don’t blame Gerry Adams, Sinn Féin insisted when a charity Christmas sketch backfired – but it is absurd to think the former party leader did not know what he was saying

Gerry Adams has always walked a tightrope where he simultaneously spoke to different audiences while delivering different messages. Picture: PA

Between 1988 and 1994, the British government was so afraid of Sinn Féin’s proficient ability to use the media to promote its cause that it banned the voices of the party’s representatives in television or radio interviews. It seems utterly bizarre now, but actors like Stephen Rea voiced over the likes of Gerry Adams in interviews, with strict instructions not to lip-sync.

The sound of Adams’s distinctive gravelly voice was also deemed too dangerous for ...