Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Adams: Under fire politician attacks the Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams speaks to the media outside Leinster House in Dublin yesterday

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has attacked the Belfast Telegraph for questioning his fitness to hold public office.

He also accused the newspaper of conducting a trial by media with him as the accused and said he would not be co-operating with that process.

The paper raised the matter after it was revealed he did not tell police about his brother's sex abuse of his niece for nine years.

Mr Adams yesterday still refused to explain the delay in going to the authorities.

As his brother Liam Adams awaits sentencing for six years of rape attacks on his daughter Aine, the republican leader claimed there was a lot of disinformation about the case.

When challenged about when he was first aware of the assaults on his niece and why he did not report them in 1987, the Sinn Fein chief pointed the finger at others.

"The police were aware over 20 years ago and there is a lot of disinformation being flung about," Mr Adams said.

"But let me say this, this has been and continues to be a huge ordeal for my family, especially for Aine. And I think people need to be given the space to come to terms with all of that."

The Sinn Fein leader also rejected the Belfast Telegraph's headlines which questioned whether he was fit for public office. He is currently the representative for Co Louth in the Irish Parliament.

He said of his public position: "Thankfully that isn't in the hands of the Belfast Telegraph. That's in the hands of citizens.

"All of these issues were rehearsed before the election and during the election campaign. So that's where I get my mandate from – not from the Telegraph in Belfast."

During the trial Aine Adams (right) gave graphic details of the abuse, which started when she was aged four. The first rape she remembers took place while her mother was in hospital giving birth to her younger brother Conor in 1977. The allegations about Liam Adams were first made public when his daughter took part in a television documentary in 2009.

A short time later, Gerry Adams revealed his father Gerry Snr, a veteran IRA man, had physically and sexually abused members of his family. He was a witness in the first trial which collapsed earlier this year. He told Belfast Crown Court he confronted his brother when they met in Buncrana, Co Donegal, in 1987 and that Liam Adams had denied the abuse.

He then revealed his brother later confessed while they were out walking together in Dundalk, Co Louth, in 2000.

Called on to explain in more detail his knowledge of his niece's abuse and whether he has a relationship with her, Mr Adams refused to discuss the case further.

"I'm not going to talk about any of these matters beyond what I have said," he said.

Mr Adams was asked to explain why he did not warn authorities in Co Louth in 2003 that allegations had been made about his brother, who was working with children in Dundalk at the time.

"I have answered all of those questions in some detail, in a number of very extensive interviews. The trial is only over yesterday. I have said what I need to say on all of that and we just need a bit of space to come to terms with that," he said.

When pressed for a second time about going to the police at an early opportunity, this time in 2000 after his brother confessed, Mr Adams refused to address the issue.

"Again I have answered that question in detail. You seem to be, with respect, just ignoring what I'm saying," he said.

Mr Adams was forced to answer the questions as he joined party colleagues at the Dail in Dublin to promote referendums taking placelater this week.

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