Police have been asked to explain why it could take up to eight weeks to obtain an international arrest warrant for the brother of Gerry Adams.
Liam Adams, who has been on the run since allegations that he sexually abused his daughter Aine Tyrell for several years, handed himself into Sligo Garda Station on Monday — but was then released because a European Arrest Warrant was not available.
The younger brother of the Sinn Fein president is facing 23 charges of raping and molesting his daughter in Northern Ireland in the 1970s and 1980s.
He walked into the Irish police station in Co Sligo days after his brother issued a public appeal urging him to face up to the allegations levelled against him.
But gardai were forced to release him after it emerged the PSNI had not acquired the necessary warrant.
Some sources say it could take up to eight weeks before the paperwork can be completed raising questions about why the PSNI did not start proceedings earlier.
This newspaper understands the PSNI had applied for the warrant several weeks ago, prior to the allegations being made public, meaning it could be at least early January before Mr Adams can be formally detained.
However, last night Policing Board member Jimmy Spratt said questions still needed to be answered about the length of time it has taken police to reach this stage as well as why Mr Adams’ was able to work with children even though allegations of sexual abuse had been made against him.
“I think there are a lot of questions that need to be answered surrounding this,” the DUP MLA said.
“The fact the police had knowledge about him, what did they do proactively, to try and bring this guy to justice?
“In terms of the European Arrest Warrant, it just seems surprising to me that it could eight weeks.
“The probability was that he was somewhere in the South, I think that was pretty clear. And I am sure the police had some sort of intelligence or some idea where he was.
“At the end of the day you would have thought everything necessary would have been in place to reduce the strain in respect of Mr Adams’ daughter.
“It certainly merits questions being asked at the next Policing Board meeting.”
A PSNI spokesman said last night that police must have sufficient evidence about a person’s whereabouts before they can apply for a European Arrest Warrant. He also said the application process was lengthy.
Mr Spratt added: “There are quite a number of other questions relating to this whole thing that need to be asked especially concerning the whole vetting thing.
“Checks are carried out by Criminal Records which is within the police service and if there was any indication of this type of thing it would have been highlighted right away.
“I have no doubt there will be a series of questions about this at the next Policing Board.”
The allegations surrounding Liam Adams emerged on Friday when his daughter, now 36, waived her right to anonymity and went public with her claims in a documentary on UTV.
In a follow-up TV interview for RTE on Sunday, Gerry Adams then disclosed his father's dark past for the first time, claiming Mr Adams snr “emotionally, physically and sexually abused” a number of his siblings over many years.
The West Belfast MP also admitted he could have done more to stop his brother working with children in the years after he found out about his niece's allegations.
Last night Sinn Fein vice president Mary Lou McDonald defended her party leader saying she believed he acted correctly in dealing with the allegations of abuse against his brother.
“I am absolutely satisfied that Gerry acted to the very best of his abilities throughout all of this. I know that Gerry cares about Aine and that he acted in her interests as her uncle.
“I'm satisfied that as a public figure, any of the questions that have arisen — and legitimately arisen — have been answered by him fully and frankly,” she said.
Sinn Fein have also said the police and social services had questions to answer on how Mr Adams was able to get a job as a youth worker, despite both agencies being aware that Ms Tyrell had made claims that he raped and molested her.
Liam Adams worked in the Clonard Youth Centre in Belfast from 1998 to 2003.
During this period he also worked in the Muirhevnamor Community Youth Project in Dundalk, Co Louth, in the Irish Republic.
He was then involved with another youth project in west Belfast from 2004 to 2006.
All three organisations said they were not aware of the claims against him.
He obtained the positions before vetting checks for people working with children in Northern Ireland became compulsory (the law changed in 2005) and it is understood he was not subjected to any such procedure.