Adams accuses Kenny of ‘demeaning’ office of Taoiseach
SF leader says suggestion he has withheld information about sex abuse is ‘despicable’
Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who the Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has accused of demeaning the office of Taoiseach with his comments from the US suggesting Mr Adams has knowledge of sex abuse by IRA members that has not been passed to the authorities.
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has accused Enda Kenny of demeaning the office of Taoiseach with his comments from the US suggesting Mr Adams has knowledge of sex abuse by IRA members that has not been passed to the authorities.
Speaking in Belfast on Saturday, Mr Adams described Mr Kenny’s attack on him while on a St Patrick’s Day visit as “despicable”.
“He called upon me to do something regarding it (abuse claims) when he knows clearly that I have done that,” Mr Adams said. “We dealt with that in the Dáil earlier on in the week.
“His focus isn’t on trying to resolve this issue. He didn’t even answer a proposition from the Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness for four months when Martin proposed, under the auspices of the North South Ministerial Council, that a mechanism be put in place to help all victims and survivors.”
Mr Kenny on Friday challenged Mr Adams to follow his own advice to others and to “present himself” to the Garda and tell them what he knows about the cases of abuse victims Paudie McGahon and Maíria Cahill.
The Taoiseach disputed the assertions by Mr Adams that he was not aware of the identity of Mr McGahon’s alleged abuser or his whereabouts.
“I don’t believe the leader of the Sinn Féin Party when he says he didn’t know about these things,” he said.
Mr Adams said the Government had not even put together an all island sex offenders list and was cutting support to abuse crisis centres and advocacy groups. “I think the Taoiseach, rather than deal with the real issues here has been opportunistic and demeans his office.”
He rejected Mr Kenny’s suggestions that he should present himself to gardaí over his knowledge of alleged IRA sex abuse cases and “kangaroo-court” style interrogations.
This comes after Louth man Mr McGahon followed in the footsteps of Belfast woman Ms Cahill by telling a BBC Spotlight programme of alleged sexual abuse by an IRA member and subsequent treatment by the republican movement.
Mr Adams was in west Belfast for the launch of a book - Ireland One Island No Border - by Elizabeth Billups, which he has contributed to.
He described similarities being drawn between the perceived secrecy of the republican movement and the Catholic Church as “dubious and entirely and absolutely inaccurate”.
“I would imagine it’s either lazy journalism or is driven by an agenda,” he said. “Elements of the Catholic Church, as an institution, aided and abetted by elements in the State, presided over a practice of abuse of children for decades.
He said one in four people have been victims of abuse in Irish society and “Sinn Féin reflects that”.
“The IRA, when it was about, reflected that also, but what we have had is one or two, or three or four, or whatever amount, we don’t know, have totally and absolutely shamed the republican cause.”
Mr Adams said the focus should be on supporting victims and survivors of abuse. “There has been no cover up by Sinn Féin in these matters,” he added.
“I have made it clear, that where the IRA did intervene that is entirely and absolutely inappropriate and I have apologised for that. “What we need to be focused on is helping the victims and survivors and putting protections in place for them.”
Mr Adams also rejected allegations made in New Yorker magazine suggesting he had ordered and organised a 1973 London bombing campaign. “That’s not true,” he said.