On the Politics Show today, Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly made an interesting point in response to a question about the credibility of party president Gerry Adams’ latest declaration of ignorance – of his brother Liam’s involvement in a party branch in Andersonstown in recent years
“Let’s be logical about this. If Gerry Adams went in Louth and spoke to his brother and told him to leave, why would he not do it in Andersonstown?”
And it’s a good question, “If Gerry Adams went in Louth and spoke to his brother and told him to leave”. Because, despite previous statements by Gerry Adams and Sinn Féin spokesmen, the story now is that Liam Adams was not “dumped out of Sinn Féin”, nor was he “expelled”. Instead, we are told, Gerry “spoke to his brother” and he “later left the party”. But did he? Because if Liam Adams had, in fact, not been “told to leave” the party in Louth it would have been perfectly natural [and logical] for him to join the local cumann in Andersonstown when he was working in west Belfast as a youth worker between 1998 and 2006. One other point to note about Gerry Adams’ claimed intervention ahead of the Louth selection convention – which was held in October 1996.
[Gerry Adams] didn’t answer the question about the appropriateness of his own behaviour.
Instead, he replied he “did not think it was appropriate” for Liam to have been canvassing “and I told him so afterwards”.
And yet, in November 1997 Liam Adams chaired the 40th anniversary commemoration at Edentubber where he introduced the main speaker, Sinn Féin national chairman Mitchel McLaughlin, to a reported crowd of 1000 republicans.
Back to west Belfast.
We are also informed by today’s Sunday Tribune, that Liam Adams was “an active and founder member of the Lower Andersonstown Sinn Féin cumann by the name of ‘Cumann Mheon na Fuiseoige’ that met on a weekly basis in the Felon’s Club in Lower Andersonstown.” The republican source who contacted the paper about this “stated that Liam Adams canvassed for Sinn Féin in Belfast and was involved in many fundraising events in the city for the party.”
In addition to the chairmanship of the cumann, as acknowledged by Friday’s Sinn Féin statement, Liam Adams was a treasurer for the party in west Belfast and “joint signatory” on the cumann cheque book.
We can also add more information to the existing Liam Adams Timeline
Whilst the Sinn Féin statement placed Liam Adams’ involvement in the Andersonstown cumann “From 2000 and for a number of years”.
The Sunday Tribune notes that
In a clear damage limitation exercise, Sinn Féin stated on Friday that Liam held several positions, including chairman, of an Andersonstown cumann “before the cumann dissolved”.
A death notice placed by the cumann in the Irish News shows it was still active in 2004.
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 [from 2004 to 2006]. There is no suggestion that McCann or Hartley knew Liam Adams was a suspected paedophile. The previous year, Liam was photographed with children at Belfasts St Patricks Day parade.
According to Gerry Adams’ latest comments on the credibility of his declaration of ignorance
The BBC’s Gareth Gordon asked: “How could you not have known? You’re the MP for West Belfast, that’s your power base?
Mr Adams replied: “Well, I can only tell you I don’t know every member of the party in west Belfast. I’m also a very busy activist. A lot of this happened at a time of intense, hyper activity.
“But I didn’t know. That’s it. People will make up their own mind on that and decide on their own position.”
But, as detailed in the Timeline, Gerry Adams has claimed to have been in contact with Liam during this time.
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.
And from a previous post
Gerry Adams has stated that “When I heard that [Liam] 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 [Clonard].”
And in this Irish Times report
When I discovered in the Belfast situation that he was working in a youth facility I went to those who had responsibility for that facility and told them of the allegation.
“He also had RUC or PSNI clearance to work in those facilities. I also pressed Liam to come out of it and in the second case he did what I demanded of him. I’m not suggesting that I handled this perfectly. I now know much, much more about how you handle these issues than I did at the time.”
Liam Adams was working at Clonard Youth Centre between 1998 and 2003. Between 2004 and 2006 he was a youth worker with the Beechmont Community Project. Neither group have any record of anyone raising any concerns about Liam Adams.