Belfast Telegraph

Monday 14 July 2014

DebateNI home of Northern Ireland politics

Gerry Adams' portrayal of the allegations as a plot is a familiar diversionary tactic

Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams speaking to the media at Leinster House, the day after his brother Liam was found guilty of of a string of child sex abuse charges
Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams speaking to the media at Leinster House, the day after his brother Liam was found guilty of of a string of child sex abuse charges

Gerry Adams is trying to shut down debate about his own behaviour after he learned his brother Liam was a paedophile and he's using tactics he has perfected over 40 years.

Every time the Sinn Fein president is in trouble or facing criticism, he doesn't address the issue head on.

Instead he utters vague statements, wriggles out of dealing with the detail, opts for heavy emotional waffle and portrays every allegation of wrongdoing as a plot by political opponents to crucify him.

We've seen him do it when confronted about Jean McConville and an array of other IRA incidents, including the question of Provisional IRA membership.

Yesterday, he told the media he knew he had done "the right thing" for Aine and had nothing to worry about.

He was unselfishly concerned for his family, he protested. They were picking up newspapers, seeing Press conferences and wondering "why there is such an inordinate attention on this and me".

Nobody but Mr Adams is bringing his family into it.

He is being legitimately questioned as an elected representative and public figure about his role in a child sexual abuse case.

The media must keep focused on repeating the questions to him and not let up until he answers properly.

Why was Liam Adams allowed to be a senior Sinn Fein member for years?

Why did Gerry Adams take his paedophile brother on an election canvass 10 years after he knew he had raped Aine?

Why did he never take effective action to stop Liam working with children?

He said yesterday he "co-operated fully with the PSNI".

Not only was Liam's confession not reported for nine years but a police officer's note from 2007, read out in court, stated: "Met with GA. Felt if had not taken a statement would not have got one."

Skating around the specific allegations facing him, Mr Adams yesterday condemned the "despicable lobby" that was out to get him.

The key in questioning Gerry Adams is not to let him divert from the matter in hand.

It's not an invasion of family privacy and it's not about political gain for his opponents.

It's about the specifics of his own response to the rape of one child and the need to protect others.

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