The issue of Gerry Adams’ claimed desire to preserve Áine Tyrell’s anonymity was raised in Mark’s post, and in the Sunday Tribune interview [added link] Áine Tyrell challenges other parts of the Sinn Féin president’s version of events.
The same applies to the youth projects where Liam worked, Áine says. She frequently brought this up with the Sinn Féin president during two years of meetings from late 2003 until late 2005. “I’d heard Liam was working in youth projects in west Belfast but not which ones. I repeatedly raised this with Gerry. I said I was concerned that Liam was seeking jobs working with children. Gerry told me that was Liam’s way of trying to make up to the community for what he’d done to me.”
On the meetings themselves.
Áine’s two-year long series of meetings with the Sinn Féin president to discuss his brother began after her father sent her £100 at Christmas. “I didn’t want his money. I took it to Gerry. We held a series of meetings where we discussed getting Liam to admit to me what he’d done.”
Many of her meetings with the Sinn Féin president took place in his west Belfast home. Others were in the Cultúrlann on the Falls Road, and one was in Clonard Monastery. On many occasions Gerry Adams’ brother Paddy was also present.
Áine’s uncle, Bob Corrigan, says: “I was unhappy that nobody was ever allowed to accompany Áine to the meetings. I believe that was deliberate. They wanted Áine there on her own, without support. I don’t accept that Gerry or Paddy Adams were seriously trying to address the matter about Liam. They were giving her false hope and stringing her along so she wouldn’t go public.”
Áine says that at first she believed Gerry Adams was sincere in their mettings.
“Looking back he was buttering me up. In the end I realised it was all about PR and protecting his own image. He would put me on a guilt trip. He was always saying how bad Liam felt, how he was suicidal. Did Gerry not realise I was struggling with depression myself?”
And media coverage
Áine says that Gerry Adams was always concerned that the story about Liam would break in the media. “In 2007, he heard the Sunday World were planning to do a story about it. He frantically phoned me about 20 times. He wanted to obtain a court injunction with my help to stop the story. He said he needed to make sure it didn’t get into the press in order to protect me.”
Áine refused to assist him. The story, which didn’t reveal Liam Adams’ identity but concerned his alleged sexual abuse, appeared in the Sunday World that April.
It was Áine who last year contacted UTV’s Chris Moore to tell her story. After last month’s programme, Áine says Gerry again mentioned media coverage: “He advised me against talking to journalists again. ‘You’ve no experience dealing with the press,’ he said.”
Áine has spoken to Gerry Adams several times since then but no longer wants any contact with him. She won’t answer phone calls from withheld numbers in case it’s him.
Bob Corrigan says that, in spring 2007, around the time of the Sinn Féin ard fheis, Gerry Adams told him that the story about Liam could appear in the media. “He said, ‘My people are ready to deal with it if it does break’. I took that to mean he had a plan of action already worked out.”
[Áine] also wants to challenge another part of Gerry Adams’ account of her story: “He says that a member of his family accompanied myself and my mother to social services about Liam in 1987. That’s untrue. We went on our own to social services. Gerry says he has documentary evidence to support his claim. We’d like to see that.”