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Childhood of violence shaped Adams' outlook

ONE matter arising from the conviction of Liam Adams on rape and sexual abuse charges (News, October 2) is the implication – arising from the admission by his brother, Gerry, that his father was "physically, psychologically, emotionally and sexually" abusive – that the Sinn Fein leader had a very unhappy childhood.

God only knows how much of the Troubles could have been avoided if Gerry Adams had addressed his own personal misery and sought help.

That said, it is not surprising that Adams became a leading politician, advocating a particularly brutal and uncompromising campaign of violence, given all the unhappiness in his background.

He had learned very fast that violence works by suppressing other people and making them live in fear, as he must have done in respect of his father.

I believe that, by advocating violence, Adams was, in some sense, trying to get even with his father.

Indeed, Gerry Adams still justifies that violence – recently suggesting that those who were not involved in the IRA campaign were the ones who had to answer questions about their integrity.

He talks a lot about the severe maltreatment of his people in the old Stormont state to justify the campaign of violence. But I wonder just how much of the maltreatment he refers to is fixed in his memory by the serious physical, or psychological, abuse he allegedly experienced as a child.



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