“there is no record whatsoever”

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In response to a series of questions from the Sunday Tribune, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has again claimed that

“When [his brother Liam] worked in the Clonard Youth Club [1998-2003] I tried to get him to leave and when he wouldn’t I ensured that the authorities in Clonard were made aware of the allegation. It has also since transpired that the RUC cleared him to work in this project despite being aware of the allegation.”

Who, exactly, he “ensured” “were made aware of the allegation” still isn’t clear. And, as has already been noted in the update here

Spokesperson Brendan Dineen said the centre had reviewed all its documentation “and there is no record whatsoever regarding concerns about Mr Liam Adams during his time of employment at Clonard Youth Centre”.

Gerry Adams continued

“In the case of the Blackie [Beechmont Community Project, 2004-2006] I approached him myself and told him to leave the job or I would go to the management of the project about the allegations. In this instance, he eventually resigned his position. It has also emerged that the PSNI cleared him to work in this project despite being aware of the allegation and in the face of radically changed legislation imposing more stringent checks.

During this time I was trying to facilitate a process between Liam and his daughter Áine.” [2002-2007]

I’ve added all dates involved for clarity – there’s a fuller timeline here. And so that those dates can be compared to the dates for the introduction of that “radically changed legislation”.

And also because this covers a period of time during which Gerry Adams has claimed that he didn’t know that his brother Liam was also heavily involved in the running of a local party branch in Andersonstown, west Belfast. [2000-200?]

The BBC’s Gareth Gordon asked: “How could you not have known? You’re the MP for West Belfast, that’s your power base?”

Mr Adams replied: “Well, I can only tell you I don’t know every member of the party in west Belfast. I’m also a very busy activist. A lot of this happened at a time of intense, hyper activity.

“But I didn’t know. That’s it. People will make up their own mind on that and decide on their own position.”

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  • padraig

    ooooooooooooooppppppps

  • Scaramoosh

    “It has also since transpired that the RUC cleared him to work in this project despite being aware of the allegation.”

    Why – was he a pawn in a bigger game; a seedier side of the very dirty war? Were the RUC prepared to play around with such terrible accusations in order to get leverage…..?

    One can only hope not, but at the very least they are guilty of failing to fulfil their obligatory duty of care in such matters.

  • TellMeMa

    If Liam Adams were my brother I would not be thinking very kind thoughts about him.

  • Pete Baker

    Scaramoosh

    The link in the original post on the changes in legislation also details what, historically, such checks entailed.

  • crazy fenian 32

    Why is this old news still being sluggerishly milked? Maybe its time to wait on some new facts.Because there is the risk of makeing the story uninteresting like what happened with the robert mc cartney murder. People will eventually switch off. So pete if your thread has nothing new keep it in your pocket please.

  • Henry94

    TellMeMa

    But what would you have done? Called the police on him as soon as you knew what he was accused of? I have spoken to nobody who can give an unambiguous yes to that question. Every family would try to resolve the issue internally. No doubt that is wrong and stupid but it is also understandable.

    I think the main reason this scandal has failed to gain traction is because most of us if we are honest would have handled it is the same way as Gerry Adams. Anyone who has a brother or a son or a father could not easily have them arrested and that has nothing to do with the acceptability of the police.

    I haven’t seen anybody on Slugger saying that they would definitely call the police on a family member either. Maybe they would. I’d be curious to know.

  • socaire

    Yeah, Pete, and all the little bakerettes. Give it a rest. You’re in danger of boring us all to death. Death of a thousand hyperlinks.

  • hairlacker

    With all its riches i would love to know what sinn fein would be prepared to donate to a ‘never let it happen again in republican areas campaine’ or a truth and justice initiative for victims of abuse.There are some pretty astute and good people working within all levels of the RM and i am at a loss to wonder what they think of the whole carry on or maybe they are also turning a blind eye, shame on them if they are, the days of the poseing of top RA boys is long gone as the balloon is up and their bubble is burst!Tke a redener the whole lot of yous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111

  • Danny Boy

    I would, Henry 94. I might (or might not) speak to the accused beforehand – without, as Adams did, bringing the raped child with me – but I would certainly call the police if I thought there was any possibility at all of it being true, and he says he believed Aine from the very beginning.

  • Alias

    What has emerged from this series of allegations is that the Shinners had a policy of not acting to remove sex offenders from their ranks.

    Whatever about the general morality of that policy, as a counter-intelligence policy it was incredibly stupid since it meant that the Sinners allowed members to remain within their ranks who have a vulnerability that allowed them to be compromised by the security services.

    How could the leadership of the Shinners not have been aware that allowing these people to remain within their ranks presented a grave security risk to the movement when blackmail over sexual practices is a classic method of recruiting agents?

    The only credible answer is that they were not unaware of the risk but did not act against these security risks because the policy of the Shinner leadership was to facilitate control of the movement by the security services.

  • Pete Baker

    Henry

    The problem is that Gerry’s version of events doesn’t match the available evidence.

    Despite the repeated claims at intervention, Liam continued to be employed as a youth worker in west Belfast from 1998 to 2006.

    And despite the claimed intervention on Liam’s involvement in Sinn Féin in Louth in 1997 – which doesn’t match the actual selection convention date – Liam continued to be involved in the party.

    Including founding and running a local cumann in Andersonstown – in Gerry’s own constituency.

  • Jimmy_Sands

    I think I can see what happened. Volunteers are trained not to give warnings directly but rather through intermediaries such as newspapers or the Samaritans using recognised codewords. The information must be enough to prevent harm to non combatants, in this case children, but be vague enough to prevent any volunteers from being arrested. Sadly these messages are not always delivered with sufficient speed or accuracy and the Republican Movement can of course be in no way held responsible for this

  • Jaggers

    Henry94

    “I think the main reason this scandal has failed to gain traction is because most of us if we are honest would have handled it is the same way as Gerry Adams. Anyone who has a brother or a son or a father could not easily have them arrested and that has nothing to do with the acceptability of the police.” I tend to agree having personally seen the behaviour of people in very similar situations. Communications in these circumstances are very delicate and I would be shocked to hear there was a letter from Gerry Adams to the institution involved – it’s more likely to be a (very) quiet word in someone’s ear. Would there be a paper trail at the institution given the fact it was an allegation and we don’t operate Napoleonic law yet?
    I also know how difficult the legal process is in this situations and given the difficult nature of the charges, the fact that the parties know each other as family and the time elapsed, this case may ultimately go nowehere regardless of the rights and wrongs.
    Are there questions for Gerry Adams to answer? You betcha but until this case has gotten to a point where it can’t be prejudiced through media reporting, I’m not obsessed in the questions being pursued.

  • Wabbits

    Henry 94

    I would go to the authorities immediatly if a member of my family was accused of such a crime. It would be up to him or her to clear their name. It wouldn’t be up to me.

    In the case of Liam Adams he is accused of abuse of his own daughter. Was she not also a member of Gerry Adams family ? She deserved to be protected.Did she not ? Much more so than the alleged abuser or indeed Mr Adams own familys reputation.

    Gerry Adams was a spineless coward who was looking out for himself and he continues to be a spineless coward who is looking out for himself.

    He’s a disgrace.

    Furthermore I find it incredible that he suggests that he didn’t know that his brother was involved in his party in is own constituency/back yard. Would any other MP in the North not know if is brother was helping out ? I doubt it.

  • granni trixie

    1. Brendan Dineen is courageous for telling the truth,given it is out of sinc with GAs acount and signals loss of SF control.

    2. re “the police cleared LA”: in effect this probably means he was cleared by Access NI (PSNI) which like previous vetting schemes, are dependant on computer records on databases. These cover convictions,cautions, or other information on anyone disqualified from working with chldren and vulnerable adults. Accessx NI has a code of practice on “the fair use of information” and you have the right of appeal if you think the recorded info is inaccurate.

    So ‘cleared’ is largely a computer exercise subject to human error and use of discretion on grey areas. I presume that if a victim alerts the police but does not want a follow up leading to prosecution, there may not be any record and so such a person can obtain a disclosure cert. to say that they are ‘cleared’ to work with children and vulnerable adults.From one point of view,this is fair.

    So there is no foolproof method for ensuring that someone disposed to harm children does not slip under the net – we can only try to improve the system.

  • alf

    oh, ok it was a flawed system ? right thats that one put to bed, RUC/PSNI in the clear as outlined by trixie

    human error ?
    presumption ?
    we can only try to improve the system ?

  • granni trixie

    Alf: you do me a diservice. My intention was to explain the system as best I know it to clarify what saying someone ‘is cleared to work with children’ actually means ie they have got through a computer system. I thought that it likely that some people assumed that getting through Access NI involved more extensive proceedures.

    As regards the culpability or otherwise of the RUC (and/or social services) in the way they have handed the alleged victims original complaint, it certainly looks like there is much to answer. And in particular if the RUC tried to use the victims complaint to recruit her as an informer, that is ofcourse despicable and deserves attention.

    But equally it does not take away from the fact that an elected rep dealt very badly with his neices complaint. Or the culpability of the perpetrator if the case is proven in court.

  • Pete Baker

    granni trixie

    “And in particular if the RUC tried to use the victims complaint to recruit her as an informer”

    No such claim has been made, beyond the feverish imaginations of some commenters here.

    Áine’s mother complained to the UTV Spotlight programme that she had been asked about who was going in and out of Liam Adams’ flat.

    That’s the extent of it.

  • granni trixie

    Pete:I have constructed my understanding from media accounts (like everybody I presume) so accept I may be right or wrong on certain “facts”. I am certainly not dependant on what I read here. I think I was mainly interpreting what I read in Sun Tribune and possibly influenced by Spotlight. I take your point regarding interpretations and significance as perceived by the mother is not necdessarily that of Aine. But I do think questions have to be asked regarding how the authorities have dealt with the case, including the current delay.

  • Pete Baker

    granni trixie

    In case there’s any confusion, the “she” in my previous comment is a reference to Áine’s mother.

    That’s who was asked the question about who was going in and out of Liam Adams’ flat.

  • Blair

    “The problem is that Gerry’s version of events doesn’t match the available evidence.”

    Pete,

    The republican tactic appears to be to ignore that fact, and continue to rant about the statutory authorities.

  • http://pippakin-meiow.blogspot.com pippakin

    We keep going around this, but if I remember correctly, people accused of child abuse but not charged with it did not have to appear on the sex offenders register.

    In the Soham murder case police in another region came under investigation because the murderer of the two children had been previously accused of assault, but because he was not charged, he was not added to the register, and was cleared to work with children.

    It was, I think, this case that resulted in the rules being tightened to include any accused being added to the list of those not allowed to work with children.

  • TellMeMa

    “The problem is that Gerry’s version of events doesn’t match the available evidence”

    That there is no available evidence for something to have happened does not mean that that something did not happen.

    Also, the available evidence could be wrong…