Liam Adams Timeline

Before Sinn Féin’s, and Gerry Adams’, story changes again I thought I’d try to tie down some facts about where Liam Adams was, and when.

1987 – At the time Gerry Adams becomes aware of the initial allegations of child abuse against his brother Liam Adams, allegations which Gerry Adams told UTV Insight he believed “from the very beginning”, Liam is living in Donegal – outside the jurisdiction of the then-RUC.

Some time afterwards, an “under pressure” Áine Adams decides “not to proceed with the charges”.

Around that time, Gerry Adams told RT?s Tommie Gorman that “my brother moved out of my life and moved out of all of our lives when he went abroad for a while.”

And a subsequent statement from a Sinn Féin spokesman in the Irish News adds, “[Liam Adams] had lived abroad and when he returned around 1993/94 he started mixing in republican circles in Dundalk.”

1993 1994-96 – [Updated] Around this time Gerry Adams is photographed with Joe Cahill and others at Liam Adams’ second wedding in Dundalk.

1996 – As Suzanne Breen noted in the Sunday Tribune

In his 1996 autobiography, Before the Dawn, Gerry Adams makes 11 references to his brother Liam with no insinuation he has done anything wrong or is ostracised by the family.

In June 1996 Liam Adams, as Chairman of Louth Sinn Féin Comhairle Ceantair, is photographed with Martin McGuinness opening the new Sinn Féin office in Dundalk.

In October 1996 the Louth Sinn Féin selection convention is held, reportedly chaired by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin. As Suzanne Breen noted in the Sunday Tribune

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.

This is important because it provides a date for Gerry Adams’ claimed intervention on Liam Adams’ nomination as a Dáil candidate for Sinn Féin in Louth. Although the UTV Insight programme didn’t include details of Liam Adams’ membership of Sinn Féin, subsequent reports placed him in Sinn Féin in Louth as a potential candidate for the 1997 Dáil election. It was after these reports were published that Gerry Adams went to RTÉ and claimed to have intervened.

Firstly in response to Liam Adams’ membership of Sinn Féin, as he told RTÉ’s Tommie Gorman on 20th December 2009

“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.”

And then, the next day, 21st December 2009, Gerry Adams told RTÉ’s Pat Kenny

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.”

While the Sinn Féin spokesman quoted in the Irish News on 21st December 2009, as noted here, stated

“When Gerry found out he had become a member, he expelled him and that was around 1999.”

Except that, rather than “[getting] him dumped out of Sinn Féin” or having him “expelled”, Gerry Adams now describes that process in this way

“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.”

And the Sinn Féin national chairman stated yesterday, “The party President moved to ensure that Liam Adams did not go forward as a candidate and that he later left the party.”

1997 – In January 1997 An Phoblacht publishes a short review advertising a small pamphlet by “voluntary youth worker” Liam Adams, Our children, drugs, alcohol and solvents, “produced by Dundalk-based Muirhevnamor Community Youth Project.”

In June 1997 Liam Adams is photographed posing for Sinn Féin’s election publicity shots with Gerry Adams and Dáil candidate Owen Hanratty while canvassing in Dundalk.

On 11th July 1997, in the Irish Independent “Youth Community leader Liam Adams” is quoted in a report on “Ireland’s vile child-sex rings”

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.”

In November 1997 Liam Adams chairs the 40th anniversary commemoration in Edentubber, as noted by Suzanne Breen in the Sunday Tribune

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.

Also in 1997, according to a Sunday Tribune report, Gerry Adams attended the christening of one of Liam’s children in Dundalk.

1998 – In September 1998 Liam Adams is quoted in a New York Times report – “Liam Adams, 43, the chairman of the community council. Mr. Adams, the brother of Gerry Adams, came to Dundalk 10 years ago”.

And from another Sunday Tribune report

Local sources say Liam Adams left Dundalk late in August 1998, still a Sinn Féin member. In the run-up to the May 1998 Good Friday agreement referendum, he was present at a BBC Radio Ulster Talkback debate in the Imperial Hotel, chaired by David Dunseith.

At some point in 1998, Liam Adams began work at Clonard Youth Centre where he continued to work until 2003.

2000 onwards – According to the UTV Insight programme, around Christmas 2003 Liam Adams sent a small amount of money to his daughter Áine.

Gerry Adams told the same programme that “from 2002 to 2007” he had “tried to create a circumstance where Liam would come forward” to meet his daughter, Áine.

From 2004 until 2006 Liam Adams continued to work in west Belfast as a youth worker with the Beechmont Community Project.

And from a Sunday Tribune report

In April 2006, Liam Adams was photographed smiling with Sinn Féin Assembly member Fra McCann and former party chairman Tom Hartley on the Falls Road. He was surrounded by children from the Beechmount Community Project where he worked. There is no suggestion that McCann or Hartley knew Liam Adams was a suspected paedophile. The previous year, Liam was photographed with children at Belfast’s St Patrick’s Day parade.

The Sunday Life recently republished one of those photographs – to the displeasure of copyright holder, Máirtín.

At the start of 2007 2006 [see updates], Áine Tyrell [née Adams] reactivated the case against her father Liam.

And, according to yesterday’s statement by Sinn Féin

Gerry Adams has stated he became aware in 1997 that Liam Adams was a member of Sinn Féin when he heard that his name might be going forward as a potential election candidate. The party President moved to ensure that Liam Adams did not go forward as a candidate and that he later left the party. Gerry Adams did this without involving the party locally or nationally.

After this time Liam Adams continued to mix in republican circles and attend some republican events. From 2000 and for a number of years he involved himself in localised party work in Belfast. Liam Adams did not re-apply to join the party as would be required by party procedures. He held a number of positions in a cumann in Lower Andersonstown, including chair for a short period before the cumann dissolved. [added emphasis]

The local organisation was unaware of the allegation against Liam Adams and the circumstances of his departure from Sinn Féin in Louth. Clearly his admission to the party in Belfast should have been avoided. Gerry Adams has informed the party that he was not aware of Liam Adams involvement in party work at this time.

Update More Timeline information here

Further Update Subsequent reports date Áine Tyrell’s reactivation of the case against her father to January 2006.

And the meetings between Áine Tyrell and Gerry Adams take place between late 2003 and late 2005.