“when I learnt that he was a member of Sinn Féin..”

Questions remain about Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams’ actions during the 22 years since he was told of the allegations of child abuse by his brother Liam – allegations he told UTV Insight Special that he believed on hearing them from his niece Aine in 1987.

The Sunday Tribune report on Liam Adams’ attempt to secure the Sinn Féin Dáil nomination for Co Louth in 1997 has a photograph of Gerry Adams at Liam Adams’ second marriage, taken sometime after the allegations were made, and notes that Liam Adams was described as a “‘project worker’ on a youth scheme” in a Dundalk newspaper in 2004.

In the comments zone of Mick’s post on that Dáil nomination, Mark points to a short notice in An Phoblacht in 1997 of a pamphlet written by Liam Adams on “Our children, drugs, alcohol and solvents” produced by “Dundalk-based Muirhevnamor Community Youth Project”.

The Tribune report also indicated this New York Times article from 1998 where Liam Adams, who “came to Dundalk 10 years ago”, is referred to as “the chairman of the community council”. On RTÉ’s This Week Tommie Gorman asked Gerry Adams [10min 27sec in]-

“But I’m talking about you as a public person, as the leader of a party. Your brother continued to be a member of Sinn Féin. You knew about these accusations about him, you actually believed these accusations..”

[Gerry Adams] “Well I moved when I heard that my brother, my brother moved out of my life and moved out of all of our lives when he went abroad for a while. And then he come back and although I saw him occasionally during that period, maybe a period of 15 years, when I learnt that he was a member of Sinn Féin it was I who moved to get him dumped out of Sinn Féin.

When I heard that he was working in youth facilities again I pressed him to leave and with one of the facilities I reported it to the authorities which were responsible for that facility. All I can tell you is that we now know much more about child abuse and how to deal with it than we did as I was developing my knowledge about it all.”

The Sunday Tribune report, and I believe the UTV Insight Special, note that the facility Gerry Adams intervened in was in his constituency of West Belfast

At one stage Liam Adams worked for youth groups in West Belfast. Gerry Adams claims he had no knowledge of this and stopped it when he found out. Gerry Adams also said that he took his niece, then aged 14, to confront her father when he heard of the allegations.

His behaviour has been criticised by those who deal with sexual abuse. Eileen Calder of the North’s Rape Crisis Centre, said: “Gerry Adams has an awful lot of explaining to do about the way he handled the situation. He is so well-educated and politically astute, how did he mishandle it so badly?

, , , , ,

  • Kathy C

    posted by Kathleen Collins

    Gerry said,

    “All I can tell you is that we now know much more about child abuse and how to deal with it than we did as I was developing my knowledge about it all.”

    Gee…what knowledge did he have to develope. As a grown man I would have thought he would know that rape of a child by the child’s father is wrong….

    Again, I say…Gerry Adams should resign and resign this evening!

  • picador

    I heard him say ‘abroad’ as well. Is Dundalk the ‘near abroad’ or did Liam go somewhere else as well?

  • redhugh78

    I think Gerry deserves credit for being so open about what I’m sure is a very emotional issue for him and his family, not least his niece Aine.
    She is a very brave girl and deserves justice.

    The shameful political point scoring on here really is a disgrace, and to suggest Gerry Adams should resign is a complete joke….get real.

  • Turgon

    redhugh78,
    Adams’s timing of the claims about his late father is particularly interesting in view of it coming almost immediately after the airing of the programme about Liam Adams’s abuse of his daughter.

    That timing could very easily be seen to be an attempt to claim victimhood for others apart from Aine and distract away from the potential problems which Gerry Adams faces over Aine’s revelations: problems over timing and disclosure which have been detailed on slugger (and elsewhere).

    As Mark McGregor suggested on another thread the simple fact is that Adams could have chosen any other time to reveal all this apart from now. In those circumstances it might have been reasonable to give him credit for revealing these allegations.

    However, in the wake of Aine’s revelations, it looks very like an admittedly incompetent attempt at distraction.

  • redhugh78

    Turgon,
    could be, might not be.

    You are not really concerned about Aine or anyone else, your agenda is purely about attacking Gerry Adams.

    Quite pathetic really.

  • Alias

    Why did he not expel his brother from the party rather than act, as he claims, to impede his progress within it? Also, any chance of Gerry Adams naming “the authorities” to which he claims to have reported his brother as being a paedophile and therefore unfit to be employed to work with children? Indeed, if he had no problems reporting the alleged abuser to one authority then why did he not report the alleged abuse to the relevant authority? I find it hard to beleive that a man who acted to cover-up the abuse would make it known to third parties. His story doesn’t add up.

  • Turgon

    redhugh78,
    It does not seem that Gerry Adams cares much about his niece does it? She certainly does not seem to think so.

  • Driftwood

    What is it about Irish Nationalism/Republicanism and Child Abuse?
    Sinn Fein, the Southern Irish government, the Gardai, Judiciary etc….
    Some sort of cult?

  • redhugh78

    Turgon,
    You know what she thinks do you?

    Driftwood,
    Kincora?

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    Driftwood,

    Hmmm… and the conversations here have been so much more focused on here since registration was imposed. Are you trying to lead an idiotic charge back down to the bottom?

    redhugh,

    How can people discuss this issue and not think about the political implications of it all?

  • Alias

    Driftwood, the Irish state has completed several inquiries into abuse of its citizens by the Church and has offered recompense to the victims of it, but what has the British state done about it? Absolutely nothing.

    Why is that? Is it because it believes that Catholic/Irish kids are not entitled to the protection of the British state?

    Remember that it is the same Church that operates within the 6 counties that comprises the British state as operates in the 25 counties that comprise the Irish state, so the abuse would be proportionate within both state. Why is the Irish state more proactive than the British state in protecting Catholic kids? Why is the British state still protecting clerical paedophiles?

    Isn’t it ironic that you ended up with Rome Rule in the finish?

    (Apologies for straying off-topic)

  • Turgon

    redhugh78,
    I agree I cannot pretend to know what Aine Tyrell thinks. I can, however, quote what she said about Gerry Adams on a publicly broadcast programme:

    “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.”

  • redhugh78

    Admin,

    You seriously suggesting that certain posters on this topic are seriously interested in having sincere discussion on the political implications of this?

    A blind man can see the agendas at play here.

  • Danny O’Connor

    I think that we should not jump to any conclusions about Gerry’s timing,regardless of the politics of it ,it is not an easy admission that abuse happened in his own family,it does not diminish the seriousness of the abuse which happened,nor can it be an excuse for it.
    Where I have a problem with the whole issue is the way that a 14 year old girl was put in a situation because SF did not want people going to the police.
    A 14 year old child was taken to face her abuser over tea and mikado biscuits-good God man can’t you see how wrong this is?
    It is not surprising given the fact that SF lost all sense of right and wrong the first time they refused to condemn a murder.

  • Turgon

    redhugh78,
    Yes we all have our agendas and your agenda seems to be distraction and damage limitation.

    Unfortunately you seem about as bad at it as Adams himself has been over the last two days.

  • Scaramoosh

    What were the political implications over the Kincora cover up? Who was framed; who resigned;
    who had their political career destroyed?

    “How can people discuss this issue and not think about the political implications of it all?”

    They can, but it would be better were it to be done away from the typical one-dimensional, jaundiced perspective.

    Adams does well to united three camps; the hardline unionists; the dissident and disenfranchised republicans and the Adams is 666 lobby.

    The issues at stake require a degree of maturity, before they can be properly discussed. With people rushing to once more put Adams’ head on the block this cannot be done properly.

    Perhaps some of those throwing the stones would do well to look in their own family cupboards…

    If these revelations do anything, they serve to demystify the aura that was attched to Adams, the IRA and the Republican movement. Behind the masks there were real people leading real lives; this was something that was often lost behind the self imposed all of silence, from behind which the war was fought.

    People who were sexually abused; have ahigh propensity to become sexual abusers themselves – that is simply a sad fact. It does not make it right or wrong. The covering up of sexual abuse, would appear to be part of the Irish condition; Adams is not alone, if he hoped that it would all somehow be forgotten. Is he fit to be an MP and a Party leader; that is a question for his fellow party members and the electorate.

  • Driftwood

    No, Admin,
    I could have added the GAA..
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/1004333.stm

    But Kincora has been widely thrown about here as some defect of Unionism.

    There was a smugness among some republicans when Vincent McKenna (rightly) got his jailterm.
    Good for the goose…

    It was a random shot, but Republicans had the RC Church as their bedrock. Now they are putting distance. Adams is in damage limitation mode and playing at being the abused. Pathetic.

    Yellow or Red card Mick. Professional Foul.

  • picador

    People who were sexually abused; have ahigh propensity to become sexual abusers themselves – that is simply a sad fact. It does not make it right or wrong.

    You didn’t really mean to type that, did you?

  • Danny O’Connor

    Turgon
    redhugh78 seems to live in that fantasy world where all is as he would like it to be rather than how it actually is,it’s like westworld only it’s actually westbelfastworld where the letters are delivered by postman Pat and Gerry was never in the IRA.

  • redhugh78

    Turgon,
    no I have no such agenda but I like highlighting you as a typical anti-sinn feiner who would use any issue no matter how personal or emotive to drive the boot into SF.

    You could’nt give two hoots about the victims of abuse.

  • redhugh78

    Danny o,
    can you not address me yourself without stroking Turgon’s ego?

  • Mick Fealty

    That’s better Driftwood.

    Redhugh,

    Interesting that the UTV journo was Chris Moore who authored a book on the Kincora scandal.

    For me, the political implications are much less important than the issue of child abuse itself.

    My understanding is that in the west of Northern Ireland, the IRA’s attitude towards the state dealing with people it held to be abusers was similar to civic crime reporting: ie they were let go ahead and deal with the perpetrators.

    I would like to get some kind of idea of whether this was an exceptional one off case, or whether there was more defensive culture in West Belfast, that allowed other abusers to continue unabated.

  • Danny O’Connor

    redhugh78 I was agreeing with Turgon in post 15 in that you seem to think Gerry is incapable of being wrong , and when challenged you make it out that it is all part of an anti SF agenda.

  • redhugh78

    Mick,

    If they were lucky maybe.

    I can think of one notorious sexual predator Robert howard who was well known to the R.U.C at the time but was mysteriously let off with reduced plea bargains, we all know what happened next.
    Be honest would the R.U.C have investigated this case with impartiality?
    I would’nt have much confidence that they would and that is no attempt at excusing the actions of Liam Adams.

  • Turgon

    redhugh78,
    Now a few minutes ago you told me that I could not know what Aine Tyrell thinks. Now, however, you know what I think about the victims of abuse. You seem to be in possession of a crystal ball.

    I think Ms Tyrell wanted to speak to the media and say her piece; I think she is disappointed in Gerry Adams (her having said as much). Now that was her right and she has done so. We have also established that there seem to be some problems with Adams’s response to the allegations about his brother’s actions. Subsequently GA has made a series of claims about his father.

    Whether you like it or not this is newsworthy and raises issues about GA.

    Now I do not for one moment pretend to have anything other than an anti SF agenda. I would be happy to see Adams come to grief. I would have preferred it to be about a series of other issues but if this damages Adams then I will not feign distress.

    Centrally, however, the episode was started by Ms. Tyrell and there are questions about Gerry Adam’s behaviour in relation to her and her father. In addition there are questions about the to say the least interesting timing of Gerry Adams’s claims about his father.

  • redhugh78

    Danny,

    No one is infallible including Gerry Adams.
    Reading some of the posters like Turgon, one would be mistaken for thinking Gerry Adams was the abuser not his brother.

  • Mick Fealty

    red,

    There’s an obvious answer to that question. And indeed, it’s not even a matter of the RUC, but of what the press would have made of it.

    But, it also throws up disturbing implications for the question I’ve raised. How on earth was child abuse dealt with in West Belfast, if this case could not be taken to the authorities? Who else has been obliged to suffer in silence?

  • Danny O’Connor

    redhugh78
    If you read your own posts on this thread you will see what I mean.Gerry was culpable in the way he handled this.His subsequent utterances about knowing more now than then are testament to this.He knew this in 1987 yet his brother was going to try and become a sf td 10 years later.Gerry is the President of sf you know.

  • iluvni

    Surely Adams must be investigated for falling foul of the MPs ‘code of conduct’.
    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmcode/735/735.pdf

  • Danny O’Connor

    iluvni
    Certainly an interesting proposition given that he was an mp at the time.I don’t know what code of conduct was in place at that time was though.

  • Stunning_Steve

    Gerry Adams demands the truth off political others yet fails to get it out of his own family.

  • Driftwood

    Adams’ ‘performance’ on TV tonight was professional Max Clifford stuff. The West Belfast electorate must have adored the great leader in ‘suffering his pain’.
    In a way they could not feel the pain of the Irish Collie Club at La Mon.
    God bless the poor wee soul, etc etc.
    We all feel your pain Gerry, especially Lord Eames, pity about Bloody Friday, eh?

  • Danny O’Connor

    If another MP failed so miserably SF would be the first to demand a full public enquiry.

  • Pete Baker

    Mick

    Gerry Adams implied that Sinn Féin’s policy changed sometime after his niece told him of the abuse

    “All I can tell you is that we now know much more about child abuse and how to deal with it than we did as I was developing my knowledge about it all.

    “I was one of the people within Sinn Féin who actually moved, even at times when we were not dealing with the RUC, to ensure that anyone coming in with a complaint about abuse, they’ll be automatically reported to the social services in the knowledge that they would report it to the RUC. And also in terms of the Guards, that they would automatically report it to the Guards.”

    What’s of interest in this case is that Gerry Adams admits to intervening directly in west Belfast when his brother was working with children, but not in Dundalk where the same thing was happening.

    He also claims to have intervened when he “learnt that [Liam] was a member of Sinn Féin..”

    When it seems more likely that, if he intervened, it was when Liam Adams attempted to become an elected public representative for Sinn Féin – and even that is within the 15 year gap that Gerry Adams introduces into that particular conversation.

    Whilst intervening in a constituency in which he holds significant influence might have been more conducive to restricting any subsequent rumours.

    What it suggests is a pattern of a cover-up where, as long as Liam isn’t in Gerry’s patch and isn’t too visible as a member of Sinn Féin, he will be tolerated.

    But, of course,

    “..we now know much more about child abuse and how to deal with it than we did as I was developing my knowledge about it all.”

  • Only Asking

    The family have made a statement:

    Family statement: ‘We live with the consequences’

    In the late 1990s we discovered that our father had been sexually, emotionally and physically abusing members of our family. This abuse happened over many years. This discovery and the abuse which preceded it have had a devastating impact on our entire family. We are still struggling to come to terms with what happened.

    We live with the consequences every single day. We have been dealing with this with the support of a number of professionals who have the expertise to deal with these matters. We thank them for their help. Abuse of any kind is horrendous but sexual abuse, particularly of a child, is indescribably wounding and heartbreaking.

    Our family have debated for some time whether we should publicise our father’s abusive behaviour. We do so now in the hope that, in time, this will assist the victims and survivors to come to terms with what happened and help them to move on from these dreadful events.

    All citizens need to be educated and children need to be listened to, empowered and protected. Many people in other families have suffered from abuse. Our family knows how deeply hurtful and traumatic that can be. No-one should have to deal with abuse or its consequences in isolation.

    Victims of abuse in our family are still, years later, recovering from the trauma inflicted on us.

    Our prayer is that everyone will be healed. Most of us have grown in strength with the help of other family members, partners and friends. We know this will continue. Our family are united.

    We believe that there is a way out of this awfulness. We hope this knowledge can be of some help to other families who are in the same situation.

    Anyone effected by these issues should contact the Samaritans or any appropriate agency. We would ask the media to give us some privacy, particularly over this Christmas period.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/dec/20/gerry-adams-reveals-abuse-father

  • Stunning_Steve

    Not only that Danny, I noticed last week in the news that a young man 25 was jailed for 2.5 years for downloading child porn.

    Apparently his wedding was called off and he wept in tears at court.

    Thing is, these were not contact offences and the sentence was on a moral principle of wrong doing linked with viewing sickening images and the presumption of a possibility to offend.

    Take Aine’s case, where the victim is plain and the offence real. What happen’s to Liam Adams. No court, no wedding called off, no cancelled family – in fact the exact opposite.

    Gerry Adams must have known fine well that the situation was a sin, it was an actual and active wrong doing, a good Catholic himself apparently, he should know that the actual offence merits custodial sentencing in whatever jurisdiction.

    What do we get out of this comparison, Liam Adams an alleged contact offender running around free, it would seem to carry on and have kids and families unabated, while on the flip side a sick voyeur of child abuse (with no actual contact offences) gets 2.5 years inside.

    The law’s an ass.

  • Driftwood

    Only Asking
    Did Gerry ask the same of the Irish Collie Club survivors of La Mon? He was their Nemesis after all.

  • Kathy C

    posted by Kathleen Collins

    Gerry adams should resign because his actions in everything he has done…is now in question. Gerry Adams states that he knew his niece had gone to the authorities about the abuse….yet everyone remained ‘silent’. But…let us not forget the RUC knew Gerry Adam’s brother had raped his daughter. WE can and must ask the question…did gerry adams make deals and lead the ‘peace’ negotiations under pressure by the RUC and the hand of the queens gov’t to keep the sordid family secrets…secret.
    Was Gerry Adams recruited by the RUC…let’s look at some facts-
    1. During negotiations in the peace process when Gerry A and Martin McGuiness went to speak with the IRA…their car was bugged,
    2. Sinn Fein offices were bugged,
    3. Gerry put Denis Donaldson as the SF representative in the US. Donaldson was a spy for the british AND Donaldson’s approach was to attack verbally and reputation of Americans were dared to question Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness’s approach
    4. Gerry Adams back in 97 stated the orange order marches were like the KKK marching down Harlem…then this year said the orange order marches had a right and place to march in a united Ireland.
    There are many things to question about Gerry Adams and whether he was recruited by the RUC to keep the family secret a secret. He should resign now!

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    First and foremost the child victim is and should always be the most important.

    Certainly the abuser should have been dealt with by the police and judical institutions of the juristiction.

    NI does police force of the time does not come out very well of this case.

    Gerry Adams has and will have many questions to answer on this.

    The revelations on his father particularly at this time could be seen as mudding the waters.

    Something out of left field here but is an abuser particularly one that has not been abused themselves a “victim” of having abusive urges or desires.

    Its not as if a human being would set out to be an abuser as an ambition or a goal in life.

    Stretching peoples imaginations/beliefs here but is an abuser a “victim” of what we are told are uncontrolable urges or desires.

    I have no desire to empathise with abusers but I am curious to know what other peoples views on abusers are bar the obvious revulsion and condemnation.

  • Alias

    “All I can tell you is that we now know much more about child abuse and how to deal with it than we did as I was developing my knowledge about it all.”

    I think Gerry’s excuse that circa 1988 was akin to the dark ages when society didn’t know anything about child sexual abuse or how to deal with it might find favour with SF’s younger voters but those of us over 40 will only shake our heads at such a brazen attempt at self-exoneration.

  • Kathy C

    posted by Kathleen Collins

    I agree Alias…I think gerry’s excuse is appalling. A grown man knows that a rape of a child by the childs father is wrong…whether it is 1988, 1998, 2008 or the year 0008.
    Gerry Adams failed his neice and his family. As the oldest member of the family…and with him stating he believed his niece that his brother had raped her….then as the oldest member of the ‘clan’…he should have done something to protect the child and make sure that his brother did not abuse and rape other children.
    Gerry Adams failed as a brother…as an uncle and as the president of sinn fein.
    He can not resign from being a brother or uncle…but he must resign from being the president of sinn fein.

  • 1987 was the year in which child sexual abuse came out of its taboo as a massive social problem. This was the year in which the Cleveland scandal erupted.

    I would not blame Gerry Adams for being ignorant about the problem of child sexual abuse in 1987. In fact, if he had not believed his niece at that time, it would have been consistent with so many other similar cases.

    He has said that he did believe his niece. In that case, the news from Cleveland and the outing of abuse cases which subsequently hit the press in large numbers at the time would have resonated very strongly in his mind.

    Some commenters have expressed doubts about whether Adams did actually believe his niece. The irony is that politically, his position would probably be better had he not believed her. There would have been nothing shameful about possessing a state of ignorance and denial about the problem of child sexual abuse a generation ago.

    I know plenty about Adams as a politician and very little about him as a family man. Adams the politician is calculating and ruthless but he has operated in a background where certain kinds of lawlessness can be excused as part of a war in pursuit of a united Ireland. Had it not been for that background and the fact that this was his brother, Adams might not have dropped his guard.

    It looks as though the damage limitation exercise has begun with revalations about the abuse within Adams’s own family. That at least tells us that Adams has acquired insight about how child abuse can be passed on from generation to generation.

    However, this is now making Adams look worse. It looks like a smokescreen to deflect from the central allegation that he promoted his brother’s political career knowing he was an abuser.

    Adam’s political colleagues have not yet spoken but they will know that their leader has finally become damaged goods. If Adams does not step down very quickly, some of his colleagues within his party will become impatient and eventually criticise him publicly.

    From his own point of view and that of his party, he would be better advised to go now before this scandal becomes an uncontrollable monster.

  • Alias

    “I would not blame Gerry Adams for being ignorant about the problem of child sexual abuse in 1987.”

    This statement is utter nonsense. In addition, the Cleveland scandal cases involved medical misdiagnoses of child sex abuse, and didn’t do anything except make people aware that some doctors relied on very dubious techniques to diagnose abuse resulting it great injustices to a large number of parents who had their children taken into care by the state.

    All Gerry Adams needed to know is that paedophiles have a pathological compulsion to have sex with prepubescent children, and that they should not be allowed unsupervised access to children. Are you claiming that he could not have known this before 1988 when it was common knowledge for 100 years before that? Are you seriously claiming that Gerry Adams could not have had the simple commonsense (no Nannystate training required) to know that paedophiles should not have access to kids? He didn’t need to read any subtle signs of abuse, remember, since he was told about it. What is it exactly that you think he couldn’t have known?

    However, it’s true that in his desire to position himself on the side of the victim (20 years too late), he made a statement that he should not have made (“I believed her.”). He should not have made this statement because it prejudiced his brother chance of a fair trial and could well deny his neice the justice he now claims that she is entitled to. He should also not have made this statement for political reasons, i.e. because he then leaves himself open to accusations that he allowed someone he considered to be a child molester to roam free.

  • Alias

    “Are you claiming that he could not have known this before 1988 when it was common knowledge for 100 years before that?”

    No, of course not. I was talking in terms of likelihood, not the absolute.

    My point about Cleveland was not directly concerned with the details of its story but that the event itself represented the end of a very long taboo in society. After Cleveland, stories about child sexual abuse filled the newspapers.

    Child sexual abuse has happened since time immemorial. Women and girls who made allegations were burnt at the stake as witches. My point is that in most families, if a child before 1988 made an allegation of child sexual abuse, it was unlikely to be believed by an average person.

    This typical reaction was underpinned, in part, by Sigmund Freud’s (now disproved) seduction theory. The professions (including mine (legal)) took their lead from Freud’s theory for many years. There was an underlying prejudice that children were more likely to be telling lies. For many years, it was a rule of evidence that a child’s statement had to be corroborated. But I digress here.

    I said I would not have blamed an ordinary person for not believing a child making an allegation back at that time and I stand by that. With a similar allegation in 2009, it would be quite different.

    I agree with the last paragraph of your comment. The smart thing would have been to have reserved comment on the matter until after a trial.

  • Only Asking

    Just heard on 11a.m. news Adams saying that Liam Adams was not put forward in Dundalk, and that when somone ‘was putting it about’ that he would be a candidate he moved to stop it.

  • Only Asking,

    If that is correct, Adams has fallen down further into the hole because it now proves that he was aware of his brother’s activities in Dundalk.

    Knowing what he did, he knew he was a youth project worker, with access to childre. I’m afraid Adams’s statement raises more questions.

  • Only Asking

    Tune into talkback today, I think he is either on it or it is the subject of the day….should be interesting.

    The Irish News is full of this stuff on his youth working days, but haven’t got time to read it all yet..

  • Framer

    The Kincora boys home cases were heard in 1980 and three wardens including ‘the beast’ William McGrath were sentenced to terms of imprisonment of between 4 and 6 years. Yes 1980.

    There was hardly an issue of the Sunday World and other papers in the years following which did not tell ever more absurd stories about what went on in the home involving MI5, the Royal family and Unionist politicians.

    So nobody for a moment in those days did not know child molesting was a crime; a crime often seen as worse than murder. Those in jail would have known even more precisely the hierarchy of offenders in prison and who was at the bottom.

  • Kathy C

    posted by Kathleen Collins

    As a grown man…Gerry Adams believed his 14 year old niece that her father had sexually raped her.

    it doesn’t matter what year it was….it was wrong and illegal!

  • Paul

    Like everybody I am appalled by this scandal.I will say it again and have said it before Gerry Adams position is now untenable.If he dosnt resign quickly.Then the damage it will cause will be un limted.

  • Turtle

    Not only that Danny, I noticed last week in the news that a young man 25 was jailed for 2.5 years for downloading child porn.

    Apparently his wedding was called off and he wept in tears at court.

    Thing is, these were not contact offences and the sentence was on a moral principle of wrong doing linked with viewing sickening images and the presumption of a possibility to offend.

    Take Aine’s case, where the victim is plain and the offence real. What happen’s to Liam Adams. No court, no wedding called off, no cancelled family – in fact the exact opposite.

    Gerry Adams must have known fine well that the situation was a sin, it was an actual and active wrong doing, a good Catholic himself apparently, he should know that the actual offence merits custodial sentencing in whatever jurisdiction.

    What do we get out of this comparison, Liam Adams an alleged contact offender running around free, it would seem to carry on and have kids and families unabated, while on the flip side a sick voyeur of child abuse (with no actual contact offences) gets 2.5 years inside.

    This is a problem with criminal law in general. Child porn downloading is provable. There is an evidence trail on the hard drive. While I don’t know the specifics of the case you are discussing, not all child porn is “sickening abuse” really either. At the extreme “tame” end the definition includes pictures that were legally published in national tabloids such as the Sun and the Star 15 years ago (i.e. topless 16 and 17 year olds) or the modern day equivalent produced by “sexting” on mobile phones. Child porn panic has also veered into the bizarre with the like of the Simpsons cartoon case in Australia. Also the well known Wikipedia Scorpions album cover case, which probably led to hundreds of thousands if not millions of people breaking the child pornography laws out of sheer curiosity, who are probably no more likely to commit contact offences than would be a random trawl of the electoral register.

    However possession of the images is relatively easy to demonstrate, so the police can chalk up an easy conviction. I’d like to think that the police would give a slap on the wrist to someone merely with a Wikipedia page in their browser cache but in the current frenzy frankly I’d be worried.

    On the other hand Liam Adam’s case is not so easy to prove, and even now there is the possibility that he is innocent. If we abandon this legal principal entirely, then there is the possibility that any one of us here could post a political opinion that rubs someone up the wrong way such that they track down our identity and accuse us of a child sex offense to our neighbours or coworkers. Do you think that anyone has the right to do that to YOU and that you should be put on the sex offender’s register for a mere allegation? What if you’re a teacher?

    The law’s an ass.

    It has to be really though doesn’t it? Some crimes are more difficult to prove than others. Easy to prove possession of cannabis, hard to prove a rape, which is a crime that could hinge on the mental states of the two people involved and might even be ambiguous if we had CCTV footage of the entire event.