Today’s Irish News carries the front-page story of Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams’ statement last night on the issuing of an arrest warrant for his younger brother Liam, who is in his 50s, in relation to serious allegations of child sex abuse. According to the Irish News report, Liam Adams had failed to appear at a pre-arranged preliminary inquiry at a Belfast court. Other reports, including the BBC, state that the arrest warrant was issued last year. Liam Adams’ house in Andersonstown is reportedly up for sale and “sources” told the Irish News that he had fled across the border several weeks ago. From the Irish News report
The investigation is said to be a protracted one and involves allegations dating back a number of years. The alleged victim and Gerry Adams have made statements to police in connection with the investigation. Gardai have been contacted and it is understood that Liam Adams may have fled to the Republic.
The 61-year-old republican leader has apparently urged his younger brother to hand himself in and has made clear the alleged victim a woman now in her 30s – must get justice.
The West Belfast MP made a statement to police in which he expressed support for her.
The allegations are believed to date back more than 20 years, and Liam Adams, who had been living in west Belfast, has been questioned on a number of occasions by detectives.
The arrest warrant was issued last year when he failed to appear in court for a preliminary inquiry.
And from the Irish News
In a statement last night the Sinn Féin president said the victim “must get justice”.
The West Belfast MP, who has been aware of the allegations for some time said: “Since the first day I spoke to [her] about the abuse she suffered I believed her.
“She must get justice.
“The only way this can happen now is through the courts. I have made a statement to the PSNI in support of [her].”
Update details from the RTÉ report
The story came to light after the woman at the centre of the abuse allegations waved her anonymity in order to tell her story.
She is making public allegations that over a period of at least eight years, beginning in the late 1970s, she was abused by her father. She will feature in a special UTV programme at 8pm tonight.
She claims she can remember the alleged offences, including rape, from the time she was four.
In November of last year, 30 years after some of the alleged abuses and following a PSNI investigation, Liam Adams was to face 23 court charges – but he went missing.
From the UTV report
Eventually, Aine wrote her mother a letter telling her about the abuse. After informing social services and the police, she told her uncle, one of the most recognisable republicans in Northern Ireland, Gerry Adams.
The Sinn Fein president told UTV he believed her story from the beginning.
“Aine was about fourteen at the time, she was a wee kid, but she was always a very good wee girl and always you know, I just couldn’t imagine a child like her making up such a serious allegation.
“Although I didn’t have the awful details of the wrong that was done to her, I think it was doubly done by Liam refusing, called her a liar, and denying emphatically that he had done any wrong.”
Mr Adams attempted to make his brother answer for his alleged crimes, by trying to set up a meeting between Aine and her father so she could put the accusations to him directly.
“I tried to create a circumstance where Liam would come forward and do precisely what his daughter wanted.
“On the two occasions we had an arrangement where he was prepared to come along and do what Aine had requested and on two occasions at the very last minute that broke down.
“Now I mean I was disappointed but Aine was even more disappointed understandably.”
Aine said she attended the “rushed” meetings with her uncle on her own, but said the tone changed as Mr Adams started to defend his brother.
“I got my eyes opened when I was going to the meetings.
“It was turning into Liam was the victim.”
Mr Adams has refuted the allegation, saying “any suggestion that in some way the perpetrator was on a level par with the victim is mistaken, as that was never and is not my position.”
Aine has since stopped contact with the West Belfast MP, after writing him a final letter.
She believes she was let down by her uncle.
“I ended up saying look do you know what it is, you have failed me again, when twenty years later I’ve asked you to do one thing.”, she said.