Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Pictures that pile on the pressure for Sinn Fein's beleaguered boss Gerry Adams

Liam Adams alongside Lord Mayor Martin Morgan at the Webciter function in Belfast City Hall in 2003
Liam Adams alongside Lord Mayor Martin Morgan at the Webciter function in Belfast City Hall in 2003
Liam Adams at the Wibeciter function with brother Gerry. Apart from Gerry Adams, no one else in these photos was aware of Liam's abuse when the pictures were taken
Liam Adams at the Wibeciter function with brother Gerry. Apart from Gerry Adams, no one else in these photos was aware of Liam's abuse when the pictures were taken
Liam Adams pictured in 2001 promoting a photo exhibition with Martin McGuinness (back, second left)
Liam Adams pictured in 2001 promoting a photo exhibition with Martin McGuinness (back, second left)

Further pictures have emerged showing that Liam Adams continued to lead cross-border and cross-community youth work years after he told his brother Gerry, the Sinn Fein President, that he had abused his daughter.

The recently convicted paedophile also visited Romanian orphanages as part of his work for west Belfast youth clubs and was reported to have brought children back with him to visit Belfast.

That was in 2005, two years after a cross-community initiative known as Webciter was hosted at Belfast City Hall with Gerry Adams and then Lord Mayor Martin Morgan in attendance, and four years after Martin McGuinness, now Deputy First Minister, helped promote a photographic exhibition along with Liam Adams.

Mr McGuinness, Mr Morgan and other politicians shown had no inkling of Liam Adams' sordid past when they took part in the publicity shots.

However, police and social services were already aware of the accusations.

The youth worker had even confessed to being an abuser to his brother Gerry during a walk in Dundalk in 2000, well before any of these events.

It is remarkable that Liam Adams could pass police vetting, hold down a succession of youth posts, and hobnob with unsuspecting politicians given his background and the serious accusations outstanding against him.

Last night, Sinn Fein confirmed that Gerry Adams had not informed its leadership or party members of the accusations of child abuse or Liam's confession.

Last week, Liam Adams, now 58, was found guilty of 10 offences, including rape and gross indecency, against his daughter, Aine.

She was four when the abuse started and nine when it ended in 1983.

Aine told Gerry Adams, the RUC and social services about what had happened in 1987 when she was 14.

She later withdrew her complaint to the police, fearing that they would use it to gather intelligence on republicans in her family, including her uncle Gerry at a time when the IRA was still active and 'informing' was punishable by death.

Gerry Adams told an inquiry conducted by Declan Kearney, the Sinn Fein chairman, that he only became aware that Liam was a party member in 1997, when Liam lived and worked in Dundalk.

The Sinn Fein president ordered his brother to leave the party, but did not warn local members.

A year later, in 1998, many of them supported Liam Adams when he claimed to be exposing a child abuse ring in the town.

Liam then moved to Belfast, staying with Gerry for six weeks while he looked for other accommodation and got a job in a youth club associated with Clonard monastery.

Gerry Adams was a frequent visitor to the monastery at the time. He attended Mass there and used the priests as go-betweens in the peace process.

He claims he told a Father McGoran, who has now died, about his brother's past.

Most remarkably of all, Liam Adams reinvolved himself with Sinn Fein in west Belfast in 2000, about the time of his confession to his brother Gerry.

In the same year, Sinn Fein introduced guidelines to deal with allegations of sexual and child abuse.

But Gerry Adams still did not inform the party of the outstanding allegations until they became public in 2007.

Party cumanns (branches) in Belfast were unaware Liam had ever left and he was elected to the officer board of the one in Lower Andersonstown.

Gerry Adams, the local MP at the time, told Mr Kearney's 2010 inquiry that he had no idea that this had happened.

Last night, a Sinn Fein source said the party stood by the Kearney report, which it has already published online. He pointed out that Liam Adams had passed police vetting for two youth work jobs in Belfast, one at Clonard and another at a club called 'The Blackie' in Beechmount on the Falls Road.

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