Why Liam Adams has MANY more questions to answer…

Whilst I share Suzanne Breen’s analysis that the mainstream media have been ignoring the myriad questions arising from her investigation of Liam Adams, I don’t necessarily share her righteous indignation about the switch of focus over the holiday period from Mr Adams (and his political brother), to the domestic misfortunes of the First Minister. There are many good reasons for that switch, not least the possibility of rudely taking down an unpopular (amongst the press at least) First Minister.

And we should not forget that Sinn Fein’s own whispering campaign against Robinson managed to bounce Robbo into his confessional interview, which consequently bumped Spotlight programme back from its scheduled spot next Tuesday to a fortnight earlier. At the time, it was a very convenient transposition which transferred the possibility of extreme political damage from themselves to the DUP.

Yet the dimensions of the Liam Adams story are much more serious and far reaching in social terms than anything yet uncovered in the Robinson affair. For me, the issue here is not the 24 charges of rape outstanding against Liam Adams. What’s more disturbing is what we don’t actually know. The source of that disquiet is a report in the Irish Independent of Saturday 11th July 1998:

Youth Community leader Liam Adams says there is a strong local involvement in what he described as a “very well-organised arrangement” which may also have links in Donegal. We have names of well-known business people who we are 100pc sure are involved.” But he says that the authorities should be doing more to investigate the situation based on the evidence which has emerged so far.

Registration numbers gathered by social workers who have conducted their own surveillence on activities based around Dundalk during the last two years have been handed over to the gardai for further investigation.

First it is important to note that the link with Donegal also matches precisely with Liam Adams own biography. Also note that he claims at the time that he was 100% sure of the identities of the names of these well-known business men. At the time of publication, the general reader could only presume this was a concerned youth worker expressing his frustration with the authorities over its inaction.

Readers local to Dundalk may also have noted his local prominence within local Sinn Fein at the time and presumed that he’d gleaned some ‘intelligence’ from the IRA who keep tabs on such matters.

However today, knowing about the child rape charges and his own brother’s suspicions, this statement from 1998 raises some pretty important questions about just how Liam Adams was 100% sure about the names of those businessmen. We also need to know whether he handed such information over to the Gardai. And, if he did, whether the Guards acted upon such information. And if he didn’t, why didn’t he?

This is not about, as Mr Adams’ brother was careful to point out to Tommie Gorman in his interview for RTE, a single historic case. It is about the proper investigation what exactly Liam Adams knew in 1998 about child sex rings then, and possibly thereafter.

This is not either a strictly political story nor an exclusively Northern Irish one. Nor is it an academic question of ‘historic cases’. It is about child safety right now and whether the state and/or public interest journalism on either side of the border has the will to investigate a mess that touches the darkest part of the human soul.

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  • VI Lurgan


    I share your concern and calls for proper wide-ranging investigations to be conducted urgently.

    While there is the obvious political impact regarding GA and what he did or didn’t know, this entire matter must not be allowed to be brushed under the carpet as the Catholic Church was able to do for many years with its ‘linen’. Hopefully the State’s recent experience of this issue, coupled with a public campaign for answers, will ensure a much needed investigation of all the questions this sorry mess poses.

  • jtwo

    I’m puzzled about the alleged ignoring which has gone on.

    A google search of site:news.bbc.co.uk liam adams returns about three pages of relevant results, including dutiful follow-ups of practically everything Suzanne has written.

    A search of Lexis Nexis will doubtless return 100s more results.

    The Irish News basically committed their southern corr to do nothing but chase Morgan for a week and he was interviewed on camera by the BBC Dublin corr yesterday.

    The Today programme ran a 5min piece on the story on Wednesday.

    In essence what has been missing is proper forensic one-on-one interview with Adams but do you imagine the Today programme et al haven’t been asking for one?

  • Mr Crowley

    Hopefully the State’s recent experience of this issue, coupled with a public campaign for answers, will ensure a much needed investigation of all the questions this sorry mess poses.
    Posted by VI Lurgan on Jan 15, 2010 @ 11:14 AM

    The 6 county authorities haven’t a great track record where these type of investigations are concerned:


  • Kensei

    There is more evidence needed. Without any basis in that speculating on other potential incidents is very very dicey ground.

    The “100% sure” thing is so easily dismissed (there are a dozen ways, “I lied for publicity” being the easiest”) that even raising it is close to sensationalism. His involvement with youth groups needs seriously examined before anything else.

  • Jaggers

    This is just beautiful Mick – in 2007 a man has had allegations of criminality dating back to 1987 laid against him, he “moved” from NI to the Republic and failed to appear in court in NI in November 2009 after which an arrest warrant was issued in NI. The man’s brother appeals for the man to present himself to police and the man does in the Republic. The PSNI are now three weeks into getting their European Arrest Warrant drawn up. The man’s solicitor states that his client has “strenuously denied the allegations” in 2007 and furthermore doesn’t believe “it would be possible for his client to have a fair trial in Northern Ireland”.
    The man’s brother in his one interview makes statements about his own knowledge of the allegations and his subsequent actions. At no point does he directly accuse his brother. We now learn that the Prosecution in NI has understandably asked the man’s brother to remain silent about the matter, presumably so as not to prejudice any trial – not that any such request was necessary I’m sure. And yet Mick, here you encouraging us to gives our views on Gerry Adams’ subsequent silence in the matter. At this point any statement by SF on their historical actions in respect of Liam Adams might prejudice the success of the European Arrest Warrant because it might create the impression that he was judged guilty of the crime by SF.

    I think there are lots of serious questions to ask in this case based on what has been by said by Gerry Adams and others in SF – however I would feel ashamed if I contributed to a situation which prevented someone from facing justice. Timing, Mick.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Mick I think this story is more of a slow bake rather than a quick boil one like the Robinsons, keep the pressure up but do it by building up a case not jsut applying pressure.

  • Scaramoosh

    Whilst one appreciates the zest with which the right honorable Gerard Adams is pursued, the campaign does lend itself to the charge of being a little one-sided.

    The Catholic Church wields significantly more power, and has been responsible for considerably more damage to our society than the aforementioned

    The Ryan Report published in May spoke of the’Endemic’ rape and abuse of Irish children in Catholic care.”

    I do not recall a Slugger campaign to close down the Church, or an investigative trail designed to bring to book all of those that turned a blind eye; or, indeed, were complicit by association?

    Does the Catholic Church also have questions to answer, or has the little bit of domestic house keeping that it engaged in, ensured that it has got off the hook?

    Using the issue of child abuse to hound one man out of political office, whilst ignoring the broader problems, smacks of being something of a personal crusade, rather than an honest attempt to deal with the issues at hand.

  • “Sinn Fein’s own whispering campaign”

    I’ve not seen any detail of this campaign, Mick. If only the BBC had this information then there’s an implication of collusion between the BBC and SF. Now that would have serious consequences.

  • J Kelly

    Jaggers the issue here for some of these journalist and bloggers is not and never has been justice it has always been a full frontal attack on Gerry Adams. I have no problem with attacks on Sinn Fein big boys and girls they can take but don’t attempt to hide your hatred behind an innocent woman. This reminds me of the Robert McCartney murder which went of the radar of these very same people about the 6th May 2005. This campaign will probably fizzle out about the 7th of May.

  • Alias

    Jaggers, you’d have a bit more cred if you just said “Bury this story because it might damage my party.”

    The judicial authority in the arresting jurisdiction is legally required to have a high degree of confidence in the judicial authority in the prosecuting jurisdiction under the European Arrest Warrant procedure, so they will not pre-empt the decision of the judicial authority in the that jurisdiction in the matter of whether or not the defendant can get a fair trial within it. IN other words, comment will not influence the transfer of the defendant.

    However, it is very likely that the deeply prejudicial comments from Gerry Adams have created the grounds by which the judicial authority in the prosecuting jurisdiction will declare that the defendant cannot get a fair trial. If the PPS does not declare that then the court almost certainly will.

    At that point, of course, Mr Adams will have to explain to his niece why he sabotaged her damage for justice by declaring his bother guilty of the allegations and also imply that he was a dangerous serial paedophile on the loose who he had a duty to warn others about and to keep isolated from positions of authority – and that he faithfully exercised that duty.

    IN regard to the Shinners and the comments from Liam Adams: it is more likely to be the case that the Shinners were blackmailing the “well-known business people” as another one of their moneymaking rackets notwithstanding the alleged involvement of Mr Adams in such activities.

  • Alias

    Typo: “Mr Adams will have to explain to his niece why he sabotaged her [b]demand[/b] for justice by declaring his brother guilty of the allegations…”

  • Mick Fealty


    As the late Cardinal has put it, whataboutery is “the commonest form of moral evasion in Ireland today”.

    Now instead of distracting us from the case in point, would you care to comment on the actual content in the post above?

    GA has virtually nothing to do with the material presented here. His political problems may be contingent to those raised above, but they are secondary to the problem at hand.

    So what, if anything do either of you make about Liam Adams’ professed knowledge of “names of well-known business people who we are 100pc sure are involved” in Dundalk?

  • fin

    “The British government has estimated 150,000 British children may have been shipped abroad between 1618 and 1967…..many children ended up in institutions where they were physically and sexually abused, or were sent to work as farm laborers.”

    Any questions for any other politicans to answer?

  • Drumlins Rock

    dont think there are many politicians from 1618 about still, they might have problems answering, not that many about from 1967 either come to think of it.

    wee bit of rather poor “whataboutery” there fin.

  • jtwo

    In the absence of any other evidence at all Liam Adams’ professed 100% knowledge of child sex rings in Dundalk sounds like the sort of bullshit spouted by publicity-hungry community workers/ nutters throughout the world which reached its nadir with the McMartin preschool fiasco.


    Seriously ask anybody who’s worked on a local paper how many times they’ve had people walk through the door talking shite about child sex rings, usually involving unspecified rich, powerful people.

  • Kensei

    So what, if anything do either of you make about Liam Adams’ professed knowledge of “names of well-known business people who we are 100pc sure are involved” in Dundalk?

    What do you think about allegations of other potential incidents distracting from the ones we actually have a solid basis for, Mick?

    We’ve already had people on this site starting raising stuff like “How many more paedophiles in SF? How many more were protected in SF / Louth SF?”. It’s a dangerous distraction. At the moment it is a line of enquiry, nothing more. If Liam Adams says it was bullshit, or he had no other knowledge, then it is impossible to disprove in absence of someone else.

    I mean, what is it you are expecting here? Or is this Slugger as a grand conspiracy to convince the MSM what to do?

  • Stewart

    Any work on the international arrest warrant?,surely IF it’s going to happen, it should be ready by now?

  • Mick Fealty


    I’m raising the aspect of this story that I personally find most disturbing. Perhaps you think that because he might choose to lie about it that no one should bother asking the questions.

    And herein lies another possible reason why the MSM have been circling this one rather than getting in with their own questions.

    There is no good news in the outing of pedophiles. Whichever way you look at it is pretty dire stuff.

    But if there is an opportunity to pick up a thread and follow, it should be followed to wherever it leads.

    I understand the pessimism some have. Kincora got a mention earlier, and that’s an inquiry that got no where once the mention of helicopters came in.

    There is also a presumption that the scandal would stop at Sinn Fein. But who knows where it might end? Maybe G Adams right and there is no evidence that his brother “played away from home”.

    But here is simply no public interest served in giving up this early and saying that it will never come out so why try even try…

    Or as some ejit said on an early thread, and I paraphrase “forget about it and give some money to Barnardos…”

    Nothing less than candour is required from all concerned.

  • Jaggers

    Mick, if the post is indeed “about child safety right now and whether the state and/or public interest journalism on either side of the border has the will to investigate a mess that touches the darkest part of the human soul” then follow it up in the usual way for a journalist, interview the parties including children (now adults I guess)and maybe piece together enough to expose any network or produce evidence to hand over to the Gardai who back in 1998 were saying “To be honest, there has been precious little evidence so far to support the view of a large-scale organised network”.

    However the post seems to me to be an invitation to speculate on whether Liam Adams had a role in paedophilia in Louth (or indeed elsewhere) in 1998 and thereby normalising a perception of allegations against him as true. Or whether his quoted use of the expression “100 pc sure” was some cryptic way of blackmailing others. Or if Liam Adams was using the SF machinery to provide logistics in giving him the names of the suspected abusers. And if the latter, would this belie Gerry Adams’ claim of his taking steps to oust Liam from the party. Sorry Mick, it still comes back to asking Gerry Adams to clarify his statements, arguably in a way which would prejudice justice and getting a fair trial.

    Alias, I’ll bow to your unambiguous assertions that the European Arrest Warrant can’t be frustrated because of assertions about a fair trial (though let’s see what happens in two weeks) and indeed I don’t disagree with you that Gerry Adams’ statement may contribute in a minor way to prejudicing a trial but then again what was he supposed to do in the situation? Keep quiet entirely once the world’s press had gotten wind of the arrest warrant? Maybe he wishes he had.

    And with respect to Sinn Fein being “my party” I find that amusing based on what I said though I suppose such suggestions are part and parcel of commenting on a mostly political blog – pursue and hound wrongdoing whereever you find it, just be conscious of turning an honourable quest for truth into a foray which frustrates justice. Lastly, and to repeat again I think there are serious questions for Gerry Adams to answer but I don’t think now is the time.

  • Mick Fealty

    As I said above, any damage to Gerry is speculative and contigent to anything being proven against his brother Liam. The post is almost entirely about Liam, and statements he gave to the press in 1998.

    I agree we can’t ignore the fact that this creates difficulties for Gerry. If we’d been give robust facts (as opposed to ones that cowpe on impact with the known truth) at the outset rather than having to wait until the party compiles it’s own confidential timeline I’d perhaps feel a little more confidence.

    As for you last, that’s another misdirection. It’s Alias you want for comment 10, not me.

  • Kensei


    I’m raising the aspect of this story that I personally find most disturbing. Perhaps you think that because he might choose to lie about it that no one should bother asking the questions.

    Depends what you mean by “asking questions”. If you mean actual investigative journalism and trying to get to the bottom of those questions, I applaud you. If it’s highlighting some over looked point in the available material, go for it.

    But this is not that, adds no value and distracts from more immediate concerns.

    And herein lies another possible reason why the MSM have been circling this one rather than getting in with their own questions.

    I’d guess it’s more because they don’t tend to go off half cocked like blogs, else they get burned.

  • Mick Fealty

    And those more immediate concerns are?

  • Kensei

    Those would the initial allegations, and failures or incidents in the organisations that directly employed him.

    Have I gone mental, or something?

  • granni trixie

    This is story was never going to go away – it is in the pipeline of due process and so we do not need the pontificating of Suzanne Breen to ensure it stays on the radar of public knowledge. To me it is obvious that jounalists would refocus to GA story.

    Its significance is not just re child protection issues and practice but also because it shines a light on GAs tendancy to lie when he is in a tight corner and his lack of judgement. eg when asked “were you ever in the IRA”. Gerry Kelly, Marty et al put their hands up about their pasts and it hasn’t done a bit of harm. Like a pack of cards, this latest mishandling of events will bring the rest tumbling down around him.

  • joeCanuck

    Has anyone enquired of the PSNI or Public Prosecution what the status of the European Arrest Warrant is? Must be 3 weeks now.
    Make a phone call, Mick.

  • Mick Fealty

    Ken, I could not possibly comment. Statement out now.

  • Alan

    “The Irish Supreme Court refused to extradite an Irish citizen to Hungary who was alleged to have killed two children through negligent driving. While the Irish authorities never questioned the facts, the result and the fairness of the Hungarian trial, they argued that the person did not technically “flee” from Hungary, only “failed to return”, therefore the legal basis of the extradition through the EAW is not established.”


    One of a multitude of reasons why time has to be taken ?

  • Mick Fealty

    Indeed, another red herring. The amount of these being flung around may come around haunt the flingers…

  • The same questions remain unanswered. It needs persistence and continued investigation to bring the truth out.

    The danger is there may be child abusers out there, and statements made in the past do not inspire confidence.

    Irish authorities have long exercised an idiosyncratic approach to arrest warrants. This is about child abuse and times have changed.

    As for the Catholic Church. I certainly have not withheld my contempt. Indeed I have hard job thinking of the word priest these days without thinking of the word pervert first.

    Gerry Adams may have simply been trying to defend his family. If that is the case, it is in the open now and he must answer all the outstanding questions.

  • Alias

    Jaggers, there is no need to rely on my legal eagle authority (which is zero) when you can check for yourself. A Framework Decision has the status of EU law, taking precedence over national law:

    [i](5) The objective set for the Union to become an area of freedom, security and justice leads to abolishing extradition between Member States and replacing it by a system of surrender between judicial authorities. Further, the introduction of a new simplified system of surrender of sentenced or suspected persons for the purposes of execution or prosecution of criminal sentences makes it possible to remove the complexity and potential for delay inherent in the present extradition procedures. Traditional cooperation relations which have prevailed up till now between Member States should be replaced by a system of free movement of judicial decisions in criminal matters, covering both pre-sentence and final decisions, within an area of freedom, security and justice.

    (6) The European arrest warrant provided for in this Framework Decision is the first concrete measure in the field of criminal law implementing [b]the principle of mutual recognition[/b] which the European Council referred to as the “cornerstone” of judicial cooperation.

    (7) Since the aim of replacing the system of multilateral extradition built upon the European Convention on Extradition of 13 December 1957 cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States acting unilaterally and can therefore, by reason of its scale and effects, be better achieved at Union level, the Council may adopt measures in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity as referred to in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union and Article 5 of the Treaty establishing the European Community. In accordance with the principle of proportionality, as set out in the latter Article, this Framework Decision does not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve that objective.

    (8) Decisions on the execution of the European arrest warrant must be subject to sufficient controls, which means that a judicial authority of the Member State where the requested person has been arrested will have to take the decision on his or her surrender.

    (9) The role of central authorities in the execution of a European arrest warrant must be limited to practical and administrative assistance.

    (10) The mechanism of the European arrest warrant is [b]based on a high level of confidence between Member States[/b]. Its implementation may be suspended only in the event of a serious and persistent breach by one of the Member States of the principles set out in Article 6(1) of the Treaty on European Union, determined by the Council pursuant to Article 7(1) of the said Treaty with the consequences set out in Article 7(2) thereof.[/i]

    In regard to the relevance of first text in bold:

    [i]The European Union is taking major steps towards the creation of a uniform “European area of criminal justice.” An array of measures is based on the principle of mutual recognition of criminal decisions, which was introduced as a guideline in 1999 and led to a perceived revolution of international mutual legal assistance in criminal matters between the EU Member States. [b]According to this principle, the requested State loses its protective functions with respect to the accused and becomes a mere enforcement agency because it can rely on the regularity of the decision of the requesting State.[/b][/i]

    In regard to the second text in bold: the exceptions are set out in Article 3 (Grounds for mandatory non-execution of the European arrest warrant) and Article 4 (Grounds for optional non-execution of the European arrest warrant) in the first link above.

    Because the Members States now treat their criminal justice systems uniformly, it basically means that the ‘surrender’ of the accused from the requested state to the requesting state is a formality unless specific (and very limited) criteria is satisfied to prevent it.