With his party on the brink of local and European election successes, party leader Gerry Adams has taken legal action against 26-County media group Independent News and Media (IN&M) over a recent news report.
Amid an ongoing controversy over Mr Adams’s alleged involvment in IRA activites dating from 1972, IN&M has claimed in its two major national newspapers that the Sinn Fein leader was ‘tipped off’ by the PSNI about a sexual abuse case against his brother, Liam Adams.
Mr Adams has described the allegation that he was briefed before his brother’s trial, in which he was a witness for the prosecution, as untrue. He told a press conference this week that his lawyer has been asked to take appropriate action over stories published in both the Dublin-based Irish Independent and the Belfast Telegraph.
“It’s totally unfounded, it’s totally inaccurate, it’s misleading and it’s typical of the scurrilous - I hesitate to use the word journalism - scurrilous approach that we get from that group of newspapers (IN&M) when they’re dealing with me or indeed Sinn Fein,” he said.
He said that as far back as the execution of James Connolly the same media group had painted “untruths and stories that are absolutely malicious about Sinn Fein”.
Mr Adams has been subjected to a barrage of front-page media accusations by the media group as Sinn Fein prepare for local and European elections next week in which they are expected to make major gains.
Mr Adams and Sinn Fein have said that his arrest and release over IRA actions dating from 1972 earlier this month has been orchestrated by a ‘dark cabal’ of an ‘old guard’ of Crown force RUC police, now renamed the PSNI.
Mr Adams said it had “galvanised” the party’s election campaign. He described his theatrical arrest and release, which became international front-page news, as a “sham”.
He was also speaking at the launch of the party’s elections manifesto in the 26 Counties this week. The party could be set to double its local representation and break new ground by winning Euro seats in the west and south of the country.
“It has galvanised the Sinn Fein party and the broader republican family,” Mr Adams said. “I have found that people voting for us welcome the fact that I am out. It is a nice experience to have strangers stop me on the street.
“Now they are very focused, there is an alertness that the process here cannot be taken for granted and people are looking to the work that Martin [McGuinness] and our other representatives have done around raising peace process issues.”