Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams' failings over his brother leave him devoid of credibility

Silent: Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams

His brother may be serving a lengthy jail term for child rape, but the story most certainly isn't over for Gerry Adams. Since Liam's conviction two months ago, the Sinn Fein president has been asked a range of questions about his own disturbingly inadequate response to Aine's claims she had been raped.

He hasn't answered one of them. Neither has he in any way explained the many disputed statements he previously made, including saying he was estranged from his brother for 15 years after learning of the abuse in 1987.

Photographs showing the opposite – Gerry Adams smiling beside his paedophile brother at Liam's wedding, canvassing with him in Dundalk and enjoying his company on countless other occasions – just won't go away.

They are political poison for the Sinn Fein president.

Gerry Adams has tried to shut down debate about his behaviour by claiming there's a witch-hunt against him and that the media are intruding on a family matter.

But this won't wash.

Any elected representative and public figure who had behaved in the same manner in a child abuse case would be subject to intense scrutiny until they addressed the issue and provided answers.

Why did Gerry Adams never take effective action to stop his paedophile brother working for many years with children in west Belfast or Dundalk?

Why did he allow Liam to be a Sinn Fein member and hold office in the party after he claimed to have expelled his brother?

Why did he take someone he believed to be a child abuser on an election canvass?

These questions will continue to haunt Gerry Adams. His silence suggests he has no answers. It is impossible to believe that any other political leader on these islands would retain their position under similar circumstances.

Peter Robinson is known as a political survivor, but it is inconceivable he could remain in office had he let someone he believed to be a paedophile live for six weeks in his home while working in a local youth group.

The cult of personality in Sinn Fein, and the Stalinist-like refusal to tolerate any dissent, has led to Gerry Adams escaping censure within the party.

There may be increasing talk of Mary Lou McDonald as the next leader, but that's still not imminent.

Gerry Adams won't want to be seen to be pushed from office, but his credibility is utterly gone.

Every time he opens his mouth to question another politician or organisation north or south of the border, his right to criticise will be challenged.

This one is a slow-burner.

His integrity is so undermined that he is increasingly seen not as a political heavyweight, but as a figure of ridicule.

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