“For my part, I did not know that Liam was a member of Sinn Féin.”

Were there any journalists present when Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams made his declaration of ignorance noted by the BBC? Did they ask any questions? Were any answers offered? Here’s the Irish Times report of Gerry Adams’s declaration of ignorance

“The party in its statement on this acknowledged that Liam was a member of Sinn Féin,” Mr Adams said yesterday. However, he added: “For my part, I did not know that Liam was a member of Sinn Féin. I did know he was in republican circles.” Mr Adams admitted he had met his younger brother around this time despite the fact that they were estranged. “In the interview which I did for the Insight programme [on UTV] I did acknowledge that, although we were estranged, I actually volunteered that we met on a number of occasions.” Asked about apparent inconsistencies between what he said in the UTV interview and photographs of his brother and Sinn Féin leading figures in a Dundalk newspaper, Mr Adams said: “I don’t think there are any questions to answer. But if there are, put the questions. “The fact is that he [Liam] should not have been a member of Sinn Féin and I’m totally certain about that,” he said.

Which “party” statement was that, Gerry? The assertion by [still unavailable to answer queries?] SF TD for Louth Arthur Morgan that “Although [Liam Adams] was a party member, he was never an officer”? Despite the photographic, and archived, evidence that Liam Adams was “Chairman of Louth [Sinn Féin] Comhairle Ceantair” as far back as June 1996? When he was being photographed opening the Dundalk SF offices with Martin McGuinness? And Gerry didn’t just meet his brother during that time, he campaigned with him in Dundalk in June 1997 and smilingly posed with him for the local paper. When, exactly, did Gerry Adams know about his brother’s membership of Sinn Féin? And who in the party knew, if he didn’t?Let’s look more closely, if we can, at Gerry Adams’ story

In his declaration of ignorance he references the UTV Insight programme.

But, as I recall, no mention of Liam Adams’ membership of Sinn Féin was made in that programme. That fact emerged elsewhere.

It was during a subsequent interview with RTÉ’s Tommie Gorman that Gerry Adams stated

[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.”

Then, again after reports that Liam Adams had sought to become the Sinn Féin candidate for Louth in the 1997 election, Gerry Adams offered this to the Irish Times

Mr Adams denied that Liam was nominated as a potential Sinn Féin candidate in the Dundalk area after the Sinn Féin leader broke ties with his brother. He said that as soon as he heard of the possibility his brother might be nominated, he moved to ensure that such a thing could not happen. “I moved immediately both to stop that and to get him dumped out of Sinn Féin without telling people why. But I moved very, very quickly. He wasn’t a contender, there was no nomination for Liam Adams in the Dundalk area. There was no convention in which his name was put forward, there was no contest in which he was part of.”

Given that the selection convention was held in October 1996 that places Gerry Adams knowledge of his brother’s membership of Sinn Féin prior to that date – was it before Martin McGuinness was being photographed with the “Chairman of Louth [Sinn Féin] Comhairle Ceantair”?

Eight months after the selection convention Gerry Adams is photographed in June 1997 smilingly posing with his brother on the Sinn Féin canvass in Dundalk.

And, as Suzanne Breen reported in the Sunday Tribune

On 21 December, Gerry Adams had told RTE: “When I heard Liam was in Sinn Féin, and when I heard somebody was putting it about that perhaps he would be a candidate, I moved immediately both to stop that and get him dumped out of Sinn Féin… I moved very, very quickly. He wasn’t a contender. There was no nomination by Liam Adams in the Dundalk area. There was no convention in which his name was put forward.”

Yet on 5 October 1996 – eight months before the canvass – the Dundalk Democrat reported that a selection convention would be held later that month in the Imperial Hotel. It named Owenie Hanratty and Liam Adams as those seeking the nomination.

Contrary to Sinn Féin claims, the convention took place. The Sunday Tribune has statements from republicans present. But not only was Gerry Adams canvassing with Liam eight months after his brother’s name was first publicly mentioned in connection with the nomination, Liam Adams remained a prominent Sinn Féin member afterwards.

The Dundalk Democrat of 15 November 1997 – five months after the infamous canvass – states that Sinn Féin member Liam Adams played a prominent role in the Edentubber 40th anniversary commemoration, just outside Dundalk, to honour five IRA members killed in the border campaign.

“Proceedings were chaired by Liam Adams of Sinn Féin in Co Louth. The main address was given by Sinn Féin national chairman, Mitchel McLaughlin,” the Dundalk Democrat states, The commemoration had taken place six days earlier.

The proven details of Liam Adams’ Sinn Féin activity also totally contradict the party spokesman’s claim in the Irish Independent last Monday.

“Liam was expelled after the [1997] election and as soon as Gerry realised he was in the party he took measures to remove him,” the spokesman said.

Except that previously a “Sinn Féin spokesman” told the Irish News that

“Liam Adams was a member of Sinn Féin for a short time during the 1990s,” he said. “He had lived abroad and when he returned around 1993/94 he started mixing in republican circles in Dundalk. “When Gerry found out he had become a member, he expelled him and that was around 1999.”

If it’s questions Gerry wants, he could start with the ones the Sunday Tribune have been asking for the last three weeks

But those questions we mentioned haven’t gone away, you know. Our Northern Editor Suzanne Breen has posed them two weeks in a row, and I ask them again today, for the record and to highlight the fact that Adams and Sinn Féin have so far refused to answer them (and indeed have lied when they have deigned to deal with the controversy). Why did Adams attend the wedding of his brother and stand smiling for photographs when he believed him to be a paedophile? Why was Liam allowed to be in Sinn Féin for at least seven years? Why in his 1996 autobiography Before The Dawn did Adams make 11 references to “our Liam” with no negative insinuation, almost a decade after he believed he had raped his daughter Aine?

Liam Adams worked for several youth projects in Dundalk and west Belfast. Adams claims that, whenever he became aware his brother held positions, he informed those projects. Where is Adams’ written record of this? Who are the people he spoke to? When Gerry Adams saw Liam so successfully seeking and securing jobs working with young people, why didn’t he make his concerns public? Why did he stay publicly silent when children in his own west Belfast constituency were potentially at risk?

Or the points I raised here

So don’t worry your little heads about questions over his brother Liam’s time in Sinn Féin in Dundalk. Or about questions over his brother Liam’s time in west Belfast between 1998-2006. Or the question of whom, exactly, Gerry claims to have informed at Clonard about those [1987] allegations? Or why, if because of Gerry Adams’ intervention, when Clonard Youth Centre stopped employing Liam Adams in 2003 no-one passed that information any further? Or why the Clonard Youth Centre has no record of anyone raising any concerns? Or why Liam Adams’ employment as a youth worker in west Belfast apparently ended just before Aine Tyrell decided to reactivate the case against her father in 2007 – after 5 years of Gerry Adams promising, but failing, to arrange a meeting between the two? Or any other “stupid” questions. Sure, “It goes with the territory”. Doesn’t it?

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