There have been calls for an inquiry into the police handling of abuse allegations against Gerry Adams’s brother Liam, while the Sinn Fein President has also come under pressure.
Liam Adams attended a Garda police station in Sligo before Christmas following appeals from his family to ‘hand himself in’. He denied the allegations dating from 1987 that he was responsible for raping and abusing his daughter, now Aine Tyrell.
Last week Ms Tyrell waived her right to anonymity on a television news programme to make the allegations of child sex abuse against her father. Now 36 years old, she claimed the abuse began when she was around four in 1977 and lasted for eight years.
The news that the Gardai had no legal grounds to question Mr Adams when he presented himself caused a public outcry and followed a series of revelations over the extraordinary police handling of the case.
Adams now faces 23 charges of raping and abusing his daughter from 1978 until 1983. But it has emerged that he incredibly received RUC (now PSNI) police clearance to work with three youth groups in Belfast and Dundalk despite the PSNI being well aware of the allegations of child abuse. This permitted him to take children on overnight trips during the seven years he spent working with two youth groups in west Belfast.
The long-standing refusal by the PSNI to acknowledge the allegations has raised doubts over their intentions in pursuing the case. Mr Tyrell said the police was primarily interested in recruiting her as an informer when she first went to them 22 years ago.
Meanwhile, photographs have emerged which appear to indicate that Liam Adams continued to take part in Sinn Fein political activity alongside his brother in 1997.
The Sunday Tribune carried photographs of Gerry Adams canvassing for Sinn Fein election candidate Owenie Hanratty in Dundalk, with Liam Adams also on the canvass. Liam Adams had previously sought the party nomination to contest the election.
The Sinn Fein president said last week that when he learned that his ‘estranged’ brother was seeking the nomination, he moved to have him blocked from any chance of standing and ‘dumped’ out of Sinn Fein.
There have been some calls for Mr Adams to resign as Sinn Fein President following the apparent contradiction. His spokesman yesterday dismissed the calls, and said Gerry Adams could not prevent his brother joining a canvass in which the Sinn Fein president was participating.
“What was he to do: stand up and say on a loudspeaker that there are allegations of abuse against my brother?” he said.
The spokesman also said there were political motivations behind the reports from Dundalk challenging the Sinn Fein leader’s account.
Meanwhile, Liam Adams’s Belfast lawyer has said his client does not believe it would be possible for him to have a fair trial in the Six Counties. It may also be unlikely in the 26 Counties, he added.
“He is not going to surrender himself up here [Six Counties] at the moment. We will revisit that if and when we have to in the future,” he said,
Mr Breen said his client was only contacted once, in February 2007, by police investigating the allegations.
“These allegations came to light in 1987, according to what we had been told by police during his arrest. We were told by police that the alleged injured party didn’t wish to proceed but she wished to have Mr Adams spoken to by police,” he said.
“At absolutely no time up until 2007 did police speak to Mr Adams. In 2007 police called to a residence and left a police card for Mr Adams to contact them,” added Mr Breen.
Gerry Adams was said to be “astonished” that a warrant had not yet been issued in regard to the charges against his brother despite the international media furore. He also called for his family to be allowed space to deal with the allegations, as well as further allegations his family made against their father, Gerry senior, also revealed last week.
In a blog post published below, he vowed to “deal with some of the events in the life of my clan and in my own life” at a future date.