Role of Gerry Adams now under scrutiny by North’s Police Ombudsman and Attorney General

DUP Minister says there must be “zero tolerance for those who cover up child abuse”

The North's Police Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire and Attorney General John Larkin are now separately examining whether the Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams acted illegally or improperly over when he notified police about the abuse of his niece Áine Adams.

In the Northern Assembly yesterday the DUP Minister for Health Edwin Poots accused Gerry Adams of letting down Áine Adams and said the Police Ombudsman must become involved.

Yesterday evening a spokesman for Dr Maguire said that the ombudsman was now investigating how the PSNI dealt with the case of Liam Adams who last week was convicted of sexually abusing his daughter Áine.

This investigation arose from a complaint that police “did not properly investigate a witness statement made to them in connection with an allegation of child sexual abuse”, said the ombudsman’s spokesman.


The “witness statement” refers to a statement Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams made to the PSNI about the abuse.

Gerry Adams knew of the abuse as far back as 1987 but at that stage Liam Adams denied the allegation. In the first trial of Liam Adams, which collapsed for legal reasons in April, Gerry Adams said that in 2000 his brother admitted abusing his daughter on one occasion but that it was not until 2009 after a UTV programme on the issue that he told the PSNI about this admission.

The Police Ombudsman's investigation of how police dealt with the case is directly linked to how and when Gerry Adams told police about the abuse. In addition, on Monday the Director of Public Prosecutions, Barra McGrory asked the North's Attorney General John Larkin to review the decision not to prosecute Gerry Adams over the allegation he withheld information about his child sex abuser brother.

In the Assembly yesterday Mr Poots made strong explicit and implicit criticisms of Gerry Adams. “I have to say that Áine Adams was let down by the RUC; she was let down by her uncle Gerry Adams; and she has been let down to some extent by the PSNI,” said the Minister.

Mr Poots said that “turning a blind eye to abuse is never right; it is a heartless and sickening thing to do”.

Earlier yesterday in Dublin Mr Adams was critical of the issue being made “political” by other parties.

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty is the former Northern editor of The Irish Times