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Gerry Adams let down his abused niece

By Suzanne Breen

Published 12/05/2015

Aine Dahlstrom
Aine Dahlstrom

It was during a long walk in the rain in Dundalk in 2000 that Gerry Adams said his brother Liam confessed to him that he had abused his daughter Aine.

Any citizen, let alone a public figure, would be morally expected to give that crucial information to police immediately. It was nine years before Gerry Adams did so.

Liam Adams didn't stand trial until 2013. Had the Sinn Fein president come forward after his brother's confession, Liam would surely have faced justice many years earlier.

And Aine would have been spared the years of torture of knowing her father was still out there, evading the law.

Republican opposition to the police during the conflict is well known. But that never stopped IRA or Sinn Fein members and supporters reporting burglaries and traffic accidents to the police for insurance purposes.

So it's difficult to comprehend why Gerry Adams wouldn't report something as serious as a sexual abuse confession for child protection purposes. Liam's confession did not take place at the height of the Troubles. It happened six years after the IRA ceasefire and two years after the Good Friday Agreement.

The war was well and truly over. This was a period when the Sinn Fein president was travelling the world as an international peacemaker and statesman.

Even if Mr Adams didn't wish to deal with police in Northern Ireland, he could easily have passed on Liam's confession to gardai - after all, it was made in the Republic.

In January 2007, Sinn Fein voted at a special ard fheis to support the PSNI. Even immediately after that, Mr Adams still didn't go to police with Liam's confession. It took him another two years to act.

Gerry Adams' behaviour as a public representative has been found seriously wanting from the start to the finish of this horrific tale.

And, as an uncle, he totally failed his niece who had been so vilely abused by his brother. Her rights and needs did not come into it.

It seems that his motivation throughout has been nothing to do with protecting republicanism, and everything to do with protecting the Adams' name.

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