Any other ‘slips of the mind’ to declare?

On Tuesday the Irish News reported that “Prosecutors have asked police to pass on demands that Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams and his niece stop talking to the media about the alleged abuse carried out by his brother.” The, not unreasonable, request was made by Liam Adams’ legal team. In his latest post on This Blog Gerry Adams goes over his version of events again. Including another declaration of ignorance about Liam Adams’ involvement in Louth Sinn Féin.

“While I was aware that [Liam] was in Dundalk – as I have said publicly I met him there –I was not aware of his membership of the party until I learned that his name was being mentioned as a possible candidate. When I heard this I contacted him directly. His name did not go forward and as a result of my efforts he later left the party.”

That’s not quite the same version of events as Gerry Adams had first suggested – “when I learnt that he was a member of Sinn Féin it was I who moved to get him dumped out of Sinn Féin”.And, after reports that Liam Adams had been nominated for selection as a Sinn Féin candidate for Louth in the 1997 general election, the version became

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.”

The one consistent feature of Gerry Adams’ version of events is a lack of clarity on actual dates.

But we can place the Sinn Féin selection convention for Louth in October 1996 – which was advertised with Owen Hanratty and Liam Adams as the nominees.

From the Sunday Tribune, there are eye-witness accounts

We have also statements from three republicans who were present at the selection convention in the Imperial Hotel, which Sinn Féin still denies took place. It was chaired by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin and minutes were taken, the sources said. Liam Adams was supported by Belfast republicans living in Dundalk who were moderates and pro-leadership.

And we have this statement from a Sinn Féin spokesman reported in the Irish News, and noted here

“Liam Adams did not put his name foward for selection in 1997. Sinn Féin are saying that this story is completely inaccurate. “His name was never involved in that.” He said that Liam Adams had been living abroad but returned to Ireland in the early 1990s when he began associating with republicans in the Dundalk area. “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.” [added emphasis]

In the latest clarification, Gerry Adams also says

“I want to make it clear that republicans in Dundalk and senior party colleagues were not aware of the allegations against Liam Adams.”

Which avoids sharing one problem.

While Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly has declared, of Gerry Adams, that “Now I think he’s acted in the best interests of the party..”

And what of Arthur Morgan, TD, and his recently recovered memory?

Well, in today’s Irish News report Morgan asserted, in defence of his ‘slip of the mind’

Mr Morgan continued in his insistence that Liam Adams “wasn’t a key person” in local politics during the late 1990s, a decade after the party leader was made aware of Ms Tyrell’s claims.

However, he admitted that Liam Adams had served as chairman of the party’s district executive in Louth before quitting “for personal reasons”.

“He was, of course, a member of Sinn Féin but what I completely overlooked when I made [earlier] comments was that he had been chair of the [district executive] for two months,” Mr Morgan said.

“He chaired two meetings, after which he resigned for personal reasons. I wasn’t at either of those meetings and that’s probably why it completely slipped my mind.

“Although he was chair for a very short time it was so unmemorable that I completely forgot about it.”

But we do have a date for Liam Adams being chairman of the “district executive”. Because, when he was photographed with Martin McGuinness opening the new Dundalk Sinn Féin office in June 1996, Liam Adams is described in Dundalk’s The Argus at the time [7th June 1996] as “Chairman of Louth Comhairle Ceantair”.

Five months after that photograph appeared, as reported by Suzanne Breen

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.

In June 1997, Gerry Adams is posing for photographs for the local paper along with his brother Liam canvassing in Dundalk.

Furthermore

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.

Arthur Morgan knows the significance of that last point, because it’s the role he played at the 50th anniversary commemoration at Edentubber in 2007 – when he introduced the main speaker, Gerry Adams.

Also from today’s Irish News report

Mr Morgan expressed concern that Liam Adams had worked “for a short period of time” on a community youth project in Dundalk in conjunction with the health service.

That’s probably a reference to when Liam Adams helped produce the drugs leaflet which was advertised in An Phoblacht in 1997 [scroll down].

Before he started working with youth groups in west Belfast.

The questions remain.