Sinn Féin (SF) President and TD for Louth Gerry Adams was on the defensive last night after failing to identify the town of Drogheda on a classroom map of Louth, instead pointing out Ardee.
The former Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead was attending an open night for the Provisional Primary School in Cooley when he was challenged to a geography duel by Mr. Sharkey’s star pupil Columba O’Neill.
Having misidentified Drogheda, Mr. Adams was then asked to point out Louth on a map of Ireland but was ushered away by party bots before any further damage could be done.
Since the incident, a number of teachers have come forward saying that a similar blunder was hushed up during the 2011 general election, making this the latest in a series of geographical faux pas stretching back to the 1970s.
On that occasion, Mr. Adams was asked to speak about the history of Louth and how he saw himself continuing the proud tradition of Louth parliamentarians to a group of transition year students.
“It’s an honour and a privilege to stand for election in Louth. Louth has a proud parliamentary history dating from Thomas Louth, Lord Chief Justice of Ireland in the 1330s right through to the Rt Hon Baron Jeffrey Archer, who represented Louth so well from 1969 to 1974, a difficult time in Anglo-Irish relations.
“But while politics is a serious business, we all need time for a laugh and I’m no different. So I’m looking forward to having a chuckle and a pint of Pimms with Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown who I know lives in the area. Peace Process. Go raibh míle maith agaibh.”
While none of the transition year students noticed, Mr. Adams’ gaffe was pulled up by geography and PE teacher Mr. McKee who put it to the SF President that he was referring to the English town of Louth, not the Irish county.
At first Mr. Adams refused to back down and questioned whether the geography teacher was allowing his blatant anti-Republican geography bias to enter the classroom. However, after tense stand-off while Wikipedia was consulted, Mr. Adams showed that leadership is also about knowing when to make concessions and joked that he was ‘just testing’ the knowledge of the transition year students. A test incidentally, that they failed.
Mr. Adams is known in the Drogheda area as Ghost due to his unpredictable and fleeting appearances in the town leading some to question whether he actually exists or is merely a hologram or the figment of our collective imagination.