Gerry Adams has hit back at DUP MLA Ian Paisley Jnr who has sparked an Assembly investigation into claims the Sinn Fein president did not do enough to alert the authorities about his brother Liam’s alleged crimes.
The Sinn Fein MP said the former Junior Minister was attempting to distract attention from internal DUP problems. “This is not about any concern for a victim of child sexual abuse or the trauma of a family trying to cope with this,” he said.
Mr Paisley set out eight points for scrutiny in a letter he submitted to Assembly Ombudsman Tom Frawley.
The DUP MLA wrote: “Under the code of conduct all members are expected to uphold certain principles, including ensuring the rule of law is honoured. You may be aware of the case regarding an alleged cover-up by Mr Adams regarding his brother Liam.”
Mr Paisley drew attention to issues raised by newspapers, including Mr Adams canvassing with his brother Liam in Dundalk in June 1997, Liam’s role as a youth worker at Clonard Youth Centre near Sinn Fein’s west Belfast headquarters, and allegations that Mr Adams had not warned youth projects about abuse claims against his brother.
The letter concluded: “I believe these eight matters need to be investigated immediately to ascertain if any rules regarding the conduct by Gerry Adams and his association with an accused paedophile have been broken.”
Mr Frawley will assess if the complaint merits a full report to the Assembly's Committee on Standards and Privileges.
Liam Adams is wanted by the PSNI over claims he sexually abused his daughter in the 1980s.
The Sinn Fein president said he found out about the allegations against his brother in 1987.
“If the Assembly Ombudsman wants to speak to me on this issue I will of course cooperate fully. I have nothing to hide,” he said. “This is a despicable attempt by Ian Paisley Jnr to distract attention away from internal DUP difficulties.”
Meanwhile Louth Sinn Fein TD Arthur Morgan has said he had not been aware of allegations of child abuse against Liam Adams, who had been a youth worker in his Dail constituency.
Mr Morgan has previously said that although Liam Adams was a party member, he was never an officer. However, Liam Adams did serve as chair of the party's Louth district executive for two months in the late 1990s. Mr Morgan told Thursday's Irish News that this had “slipped his mind”.