Adams under pressure over knowlege of abuse by his brother
Sinn Féin president’s adversaries believe he is vulnerable
Over his long career Gerry Adams, with his paramilitary (which he denies) cum and political past, has ended up in corners without any discernible escape route. Yet he has always managed to dodge his enemies and emerge with his political position secure.
Over his long career Gerry Adams, with his paramilitary (which he denies) and political past, has ended up in corners without any discernible escape route. Yet he has always managed to dodge his enemies and emerge with his political position secure.
But the terrible experience of Áine Adams seems different; this case is about a woman, his niece, now aged 40 who was raped between the ages of four and nine by his brother, Liam Adams.
In the first trial in April McDermott accused the Sinn Féin president of acting to save his “political skin” rather than in the interests of his niece.
This, crucially, is in relation to when and why he went to the police in 2009 to tell the PSNI of an admission he said his brother Liam made to him nine years earlier in Dundalk of sexually abusing Áine Adams.
“This is above politics. Saving my political skin is no consideration in these matters,” replied the Sinn Féin leader. It is an issue now.
Earlier this month the jury in the second trial convicted Liam Adams of raping and sexually abusing Áine Adams from when she was aged four until she was nine, beginning in 1977.
Now other juries are deliberating on what this will or should mean for the political future of Gerry Adams: there’s the public jury; the Sinn Féin membership and leadership jury; what Adams believes in some cases is a media “witch-hunt” jury; there are the juries comprised of his political opponents North and South; there are the separate inquiries currently taking place by the North’s Attorney General and Police Ombudsman.
It emerged during both the collapsed and completed trials that as far back as 1987 Adams was aware of the abuse allegation against his brother – an allegation Liam Adams denied that same year when confronted by the Sinn Féin leader. That case never proceeded because Áine Adams retracted her evidence to the RUC.
But most particularly, as Adams said in the first trial (he wasn’t called to give evidence in the second trial), it was in 2000 during a long walk in the rain in Dundalk that his brother admitted the abuse to him, saying it only happened on one occasion.
When in 2006 Áine Adams reactivated her 1987 allegation Gerry Adams went to the police in 2007 to give a statement - but did not tell them about the 2000 admission by his brother. As McDermott said it took another “two years and four months” before he did tell the PSNI about that admission.
McDermott put it to him that the reason he gave the 2009 statement was because he already knew that UTV’s Insight programme was about to run a programme about the abuse. “You needed to make the statement at that stage because you wanted to do your best to avoid allegations that you had withheld information about child sexual abuse?”
It was this evidence that prompted her “saving [your] political skin” charge.
In earlier evidence she also accused him of lying when in 2009 he said that after 1987 Liam Adams was “out of my life more or less for the next 15 years”.
She then showed Adams photographs of him and Liam Adams together at family and political events in 1991, 1996, 1997, 1998 and 2003. She also raised with him how Liam Adams was able to work in youth clubs in west Belfast and Dundalk in Co Louth – the former and current constituencies of Mr Adams – even in the period after the 2000 admission.
It was also stated during the trials that in 1986 when Sally Adams was raising her family as a single mother that Gerry Adams referred the family to social services, complaining of hygiene problems and lice in the children’s hair.
All of this has led to claims that Adams acted in a calculated self-interested fashion to avoid charges of withholding information about child sexual abuse and to save his “political skin”,