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The nine-year silence that should have cost Gerry his political career

By Suzanne Breen

Published 06/05/2015

Liam Adams' daughter Aine
Liam Adams' daughter Aine

No other political leader on this island would still hold office today had they acted as Gerry Adams did when he learned his brother Liam was a paedophile.

The Sinn Fein president's disturbingly inadequate response to his niece Aine's claims that her father had raped her were exposed first by this reporter in 2010, and then at Liam's first trial in 2013.

Gerry Adams believed Aine from the moment she told him in 1987. But he didn't report the abuse to the police himself then as his niece and her mother did.

In 2000 Liam confessed to his brother that he had raped Aine. The Sinn Fein president also failed to disclose this vital information to police for nine years. Yet he reported Aine's mother to social services when the children had nits.

Gerry Adams knew his brother was working with children in youth projects in west Belfast. Yet in court he could produce no evidence to prove he took action to have Liam swiftly removed from these positions in order to protect children. The only named person he said he informed was a now dead priest.

The Sinn Fein president claimed that, after Aine's allegations, he'd been estranged from Liam for 15 years. That wasn't true. He attended Liam's wedding 10 years after the "estrangement". Photos show him standing smiling beside his brother wearing a green ribbon for IRA prisoners.

It was revealed in court that Gerry Adams had remained in regular contact with his brother, staying overnight at his home in Dundalk. And Liam had actually lived with Gerry for several weeks in his west Belfast home after he had secured a job in Clonard youth centre.

Significantly, Liam was also a member of Sinn Fein. When he was forced to admit his brother's party membership, Gerry Adams portrayed it as minor. Liam Adams was actually a high-ranking Sinn Fein member in Dundalk in the 1990s, and then later Belfast.

He sought the nomination to be the party's Co Louth candidate in the 1997 Dail election. Gerry Adams said when he "heard" that his paedophile brother was in the party he acted to "get him dumped out of Sinn Fein... I moved very, very quickly".

Again, this wasn't true. Photographs eight months after Gerry Adams said he had Liam "dumped" from the party show the brothers happily canvassing together in Dundalk.

With his repeated evasions and untruths, Gerry Adams emerged from the trial politically toxic. Yet, bizarrely, he survives, while other politicians have resigned or been removed over far more minor misdemeanours.

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