Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Why Gerry Adams must resign - former hunger striker calls on Sinn Fein president to quit trust over handling of Aine abuse case

Gerry Adams has been criticised for withholding Liam Adams' confession of abuse from police for nine years, taking inadequate steps to protect children in youth centres where his brother worked, and making untrue statements about Liam's role in Sinn Fein.
Gerard Hodgins at the Anti-Interment Rally on Royal Avenue.

A former IRA hunger-striker has called on Gerry Adams to quit The Bobby Sands Trust for failing to take adequate action to protect children when he discovered his brother was a paedophile.

Gerard Hodgins (below) from west Belfast, who was on the 1980 hunger strike in the Maze, said the Liam Adams trial had brought to light "very disturbing information" about the Sinn Fein chief's actions in "this sordid episode".

The Bobby Sands Trust holds the copyright on Sands' writings.

It promotes the memory of the republican icon, who died in 1981 aged 27 after 66 days of hunger strike in the Maze, across the world. It operates from Sinn Fein offices on the Falls Road.

Sands was imprisoned with Adams during the 1970s.

Mr Hodgins, a former party press officer, said Adams' handling of his brother's abuse of his daughter Aine raised questions, stating: "Gerry Adams must resign from the Bobby Sands Trust due to his role in not doing enough for Aine and because he allowed his paedophile brother to continue as both an active member of Sinn Fein and a youth worker."

The ex-hunger striker also urged the Sinn Fein president to "donate all royalties he receives from the sale of Bobby Sands' writings to a charity dealing with victims of sexual abuse".

Mr Hodgins accused Mr Adams of showing "neither care nor compassion" towards his niece when she told him of her father's abuse. "Anyone who can turn their back on a child in the trauma of sexual abuse is deserving of neither respect nor a vote," he added.

In the harshest criticism the Sinn Fein chief has faced from within republicanism, Hodgins accused him of criminalising the republican movement in both his alleged role in 'disappearing' people – which Mr Adams denies – and his response to abuse.

Mr Hodgins said: "Gerry Adams began his career emulating South American military dictators who had a habit of disappearing people and ended his career emulating a cardinal of the Catholic Church protecting child abusers. Such behaviour is not conducive to the republican philosophy. Such behaviour demeans Irish republicanism."

Meanwhile, Gerry Adams has shown a bizarre lack of sensitivity to niece Aine by tweeting about his birthday and printing a poem about triumphantly surviving criticism from opponents.

The Sinn Fein president, who turned 65 yesterday, posted on Twitter: 'I am delighted 2 become a pensioner. Yeeehaaa! All things considered not bad! x'.

The tweet came four days after his brother Liam was convicted on 10 counts of raping and sexually abusing his daughter Aine from when she was four-years-old in 1977 until she was nine.

Mr Adams' playful sentiments on Twitter are at odds with the grave tone he expressed after his brother's conviction last week when he said his family – including Aine – were experiencing huge trauma and must be shown sensitivity, privacy and respect.

The Sinn Fein president bizarrely tweeted poem And Still I Rise by American Maya Angelou, against a backdrop of an Easter lily, a traditional symbol of republicanism.

"You may shoot me with your words/ You may cut me with your eyes/ You may kill me with your hatefulness/ But still, like air, I'll rise," states one verse he tweeted.

He posted the poem amidst growing belief on both sides of the border that he is unfit for office.

He has been criticised for withholding Liam Adams' confession of abuse from police for nine years, taking inadequate steps to protect children in youth centres where his brother worked, and making untrue statements about Liam's role in Sinn Fein.

Mr Adams tweeted further lines on Saturday night: "Does my haughtiness offend you?/ Don't you take it awful hard/ Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines/ Diggin' in my own back yard.

"Does my sexiness upset you?/ Does it come as a surprise/ That I dance like I've got diamonds/ At the meeting of my thighs?"

It seems outlandish Mr Adams would reproduce the poem, about women struggling over those who mistreat them.

His niece Aine Dahlstrom has accused the Sinn Fein president of being interested only in his public image, and not her welfare, when he addressed his brother's abuse.

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