Belfast Telegraph

Now police face questions over Gerry's abuse silence

by lesley houston

The Health Minister has said the PSNI has "questions to answer" over its handling of Gerry Adams' role in the case of his brother's sex abuse of his daughter.

Edwin Poots yesterday called on the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman to probe the police's role in examining whether the Sinn Fein president helped his brother Liam evade the law over the claims, adding to the pressure on Gerry Adams.

Last week Liam Adams (58) was convicted of raping and abusing his now 40-year-old daughter Aine over a six-year period, from 1977 when she was just four years old, up until 1983.

Mr Poots' call follows a meeting the previous day with Chief Constable Matt Baggott over the affair.

Mr Adams, meanwhile, has said he is not concerned about the review of the case launched by the Director of Public Prosecutions Barra McGrory QC.

During an intensive session of questions at a Press conference in Dublin yesterday, the former West Belfast MP, now a TD in Co Louth in the Republic, reiterated he had done nothing wrong.

"I know I committed no offence and I know I did what I considered to be the right thing and I co-operated fully with the PSNI, with the PPS, with the courts. I gave evidence in the courts. So I don't have any concerns about that," he said.

Mr McGrory has asked Northern Ireland's Attorney General John Larkin to examine the case in light of the intense public interest.

During yesterday's Assembly debate at Stormont, Mr Poots said Aine had been let down by more than just her father.

The DUP Health Minister also supported calls for better co-operation between Northern Ireland and the Republic over investigations into child sex abuse.

Turning to the Adams' case, during a discussion on health service provision for child victims of sex abuse, Mr Poots said: "I have to say that Aine Adams was let down by the RUC.

"She was let down by her uncle Gerry Adams and let down, to some extent, by the PSNI.

"I welcome the fact that there was a conviction in that case and the good work that was carried out by the PSNI and the Public Prosecution Service in bringing Liam Adams to justice.

"But I do think that when it comes to the other issue of the cover-up of the crime, that the PSNI have questions to answer and they need to have those questions answered in a very public way.

"That's why I believe the ombudsman needs to look at the work of the PSNI to date," he said.

"It is a very, very unusual set of circumstances and I think the PSNI should be asking for the ombudsman to look at their work, and, if they don't, I will.

"And I will be looking for independence to be applied in this case so that no-one, and I mean no-one in the public, has any sense that anybody is above the law."

The Ulster Unionist Party's Michael McGimpsey said the issue raised the possibility of a "criminal offence".

The MLA for South Belfast called on the Republic to co-operate with Northern Ireland's authorities "to pursue a common approach to this potential crime".

His comments refer to the fact Liam Adams resided in the Republic prior to his arrest in 2011.

Agreeing, Mr Poots said: "I think that I would want to ensure that there is maximum co-operation between the Republic of Ireland and local police."

The PSNI yesterday acknowledged the minster's right to complain to the ombudsman.

Referring to Monday's meeting with the Chief Constable, a police statement said: "The PSNI will now review the evidence and examine any further investigative opportunities.

"This follows the original submission of a file, having taken legal advice, recommending no prosecution in relation to Gerry Adams."

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