Belfast Telegraph

Gerry Adams' niece 'wanted to spare mother'

By Lesley-Anne McKeown

A niece of Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams did not reveal the full extent of alleged sex abuse to which she was subjected to spare her mother's feelings, she told a court today.

Aine Adams, who has waived her right to anonymity, said claims that her father raped and abused her from the age of four had left her mother heartbroken and she did not want to cause further anguish.

Liam Adams, 57, from Bernagh Drive in west Belfast denies all 10 counts of child sex abuse including rape, indecent assault and gross indecency with a child.

Ms Adams, 40, said although they were among the most vivid in her memory, when she first reported the abuse in 1987 she did not tell police about specific incidents including a rape allegedly carried out while her mother was giving birth to her younger brother, Connor.

"I have never told my mummy the details of what happened. It would be hard for any mother -- they are in giving birth, and their husband is raping their daughter. And to spare her feelings in general," Ms Adams said.

In January 1987 Ms Adams was accompanied by her mother to Grosvenor Road police station where she reported the alleged child abuse. She returned on at least three other occasions -- to make a statement; for a medical examination and later to retract her allegations.

She omitted to tell police about another rape said to have occurred when her mother fled their home in the Lenadoon area of west Belfast after a violent row.

"If she wasn't there to protect me, my mummy would feel bad about that. As a 13-year-old, not as a 40-year-old, I thought I was doing the right thing.

"Rightly or wrongly in 1987 that was my reasons ," she added.

During cross examination defence barrister Eilis McDermott QC put it to the witness that the rapes were not reported because they had not happened.

"I suggest that that did not take place," Ms McDermott said.

The trial at Belfast Crown Court was told that Ms Adams had felt compelled to speak out because Liam Adams was living with a new partner and their young daughter in Co Donegal.

She wrote a letter to her mother in which she claimed her father had made her sleep with him.

Earlier, the court heard how Ms Adams felt the police were more concerned with gathering intelligence on her father, his brother Gerry Adams who was the Sinn Fein president and West Belfast MP at the time, and their associates.

She said a man, believed to have been a plain-clothes police officer, had called at their home at New Barnsley - a staunchly republican area of west Belfast - in the weeks after she had gone to the RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary).

Afterwards Ms Adams' mother advised her to retract the allegations.

"I just remember someone coming to the house; my mummy telling me it was unsafe for us to go through with the police way of doing things. That our lives were in danger.

"It was nothing to do with child abuse - it was whatever way the political situation was at that time.

"I grew up in Belfast and I kind of knew what the reason was. I gathered what would happen if we spoke to the police then. I went about child abuse and it got turned into political, which was why I retracted it," she said.

It was also claimed that a social worker had passed on a request for her mother to meet a member of the security services.

"The detective had asked to meet my mother outside of the police barracks. The social worker told my mummy not to meet him," she said.

Ms Adams made a complaint to the Police Ombudsman in 2007.


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