Adams’ Palin moment

Gerry Adams’ appearance on the Late Late Show was notable for his Palinesque answers.

• Well I have to say, even yet, and I know an awful lot more about these issues now, it still, beyond, uh, part of my, I can understand it to a certain degree, you know, intellectually and because I’ve learnt a huge amount about abuse and how they happen and about the trauma for, uh, victims, and about how, how, how so many victims, apart from the direct victims, a ripple effect throughout the entire family.

• Were ever you tempted to [disown your brother]?

Yes and no. He left the country, both, both sets of parents, he had separated from his wife Sally who is Aine’s mother, and, and both left independently of each other, left, left Ireland. Uh… So… later on, I discovered that my father was an abuser, and, ah, I was told that around 19 – 96, and I brought all of my siblings together, and that included my brother Liam. And we tried to work through, this, absolutely horrifying, you know, I was a man, ah, in my 50’s, ah, I, I had been out of my family home from 1969, and we are a large family so, you know, some of my siblings would be quite young, probably, and some of the youngest ones may be in their mid or late 30s now. So, this was just a horrifying thing to come to terms with.

• What’s taken you so long to deal with these very profound and such close personal issues?

Because, because there are ten of us, and I’m the oldest and in Ireland a lot falls on the oldest, and we are a very, you know, close, close family, but, everybody comes at this differently, so you have ten people, and I don’t want to talk about my own family, they haven’t authorised me to talk about them, but let me just talk about it in a theoretical sense. Some were immediately in denial.

• One of the reasons why, why I wanted to publicise this, was because there are people out there who, are just absolutely destroyed, damaged, by abuse. Abuse of a child is, is the most heinous thing, you know, that, that could ever happen, a child’s life is stolen, a childhood is stolen, and, you know, there are lots of people who can’t have children, and I love children, and to think of, especially an iconic figure, you know, a father, a brother, some cases uncles, whatever, whatever happens to be the family, ah, circumstance.

Fuller transcript follows the jump. Ryan Tubridy: […] I just want to get this story, as you see it. So, take this time, take this opportunity, to lay it out as it was. Let’s go back to what I said a minute ago. Aine calls to you and says, that your brother, alleges that your brother, sexually abused her. Now, how did you react to what she said, first of all, as a human, as a man, an uncle?

Gerry Adams: Well, I was horrified. Uh, I didn’t know, really a lot about child abuse or, or, any of that, uh, so it was almost, uh, beyond my sense of, of being, uh.

RT: Could you not grasp it, do you think, was it beyond your grasp to understand it?

GA: Well I have to say, even yet, and I know an awful lot more about these issues now, it still, beyond, uh, part of my, I can understand it to a certain degree, you know, intellectually and because I’ve learnt a huge amount about abuse and how they happen and about the trauma for, uh, victims, and about how, how, how so many victims, apart from the direct victims, a ripple effect throughout the entire family.

RT: But did you go to then, your brother with Aine, is that what you said?

GA: Yeah I went with, I went with Aine and her, ah, …and, and, and her mummy.

RT: And her mother to see Liam. That must have been a very difficult, ah, moment, what happened at that confrontation?

GA: Well, I, I, I deal with as much of this, as I can.

RT: Well, tell us what you can tell us.

GA: Just to tell your viewers, I’m sure you are conscious, there is a court case pending, the PSNI have written to me, and told me not to talk about these matters, on the media, because they could become prejudicial to
a, a court, ah, hearing.

RT: Even though a lot of it has been aired already.

GA: Yeah, well, still, still, I don’t want to be a person who is going to be part of that court proceeding, because I have made a statement to the PS, PSNI and, uh, you know, Liam denies, uh, the charges, uh, against him.

RT: And he denied it to you.

GA: And he denied it to me.

RT: Who did you believe?

GA: I believed Aine.

RT: Why?

GA: Because, I just couldn’t believe that a child, and, and Aine, you know, was a good, young, kid, maybe at that time she was 13/14. I couldn’t believe, and I didn’t get into the detail of this with her, but I just couldn’t believe that, that a child would make, this up.

RT: And how would you characterise your relationship with your brother, who you believed had sexually abused your niece, how would you characterise your relationship with Liam after that revelation?

GA: Well, he’s still my brother, and, and, I’ve never disowned him. Uh, he, he left..

RT: Were ever you tempted to?

GA: Yes and no. He left the country, both, both sets of parents, he had separated from his wife Sally who is Aine’s mother, and, and both left independently of each other, left, left Ireland. Uh… So… later on, I discovered that my father was an abuser, and, ah, I was told that around 19 – 96, and I brought all of my siblings together, and that included my brother Liam. And we tried to work through, this, absolutely horrifying, you know, I was a man, ah, in my 50’s, ah, I, I had been out of my family home from 1969, and we are a large family so, you know, some of my siblings would be quite young, probably, and some of the youngest ones may be in their mid or late 30s now. So, this was just a horrifying thing to come to terms with.

RT: What did you think when you heard that, when somebody says, Gerry, your father is sexually abusing your brothers and sisters?

GA: Well, well, first of all by that time I did know an awful lot more, I, I had got professional advice in my capacity as an elected representative, I had to deal with other victims.

RT: But as your capacity, your capacity as a brother and a son?

GA: Well in my capacity as a son, as a son, uh, to tell you the truth, Ryan, I still haven’t dealt with it adequately.

RT: Why not? What’s taken you so long to deal with these very profound and such close personal issues?

GA: Because, because there are ten of us, and I’m the oldest and in Ireland a lot falls on the oldest, and we are a very, you know, close, close family, but, everybody comes at this differently, so you have ten people, and I don’t want to talk about my own family, they haven’t authorised me to talk about them, but let me just talk about it in a theoretical sense. Some were immediately in denial.

RT: Were you?

GA: No I wasn’t, no.

RT: You accepted it?

GA: I accepted it because of what I had… this is a huge taboo subject in Ireland.

RT: By talking about it, it becomes less taboo.

GA: One of the reasons why, why I wanted to publicise this, was because there are people out there who, are just absolutely destroyed, damaged, by abuse. Abuse of a child is, is the most heinous thing, you know, that, that could ever happen, a child’s life is stolen, a childhood is stolen, and, you know, there are lots of people who can’t have children, and I love children, and to think of, especially an iconic figure, you know, a father, a brother, some cases uncles, whatever, whatever happens to be the family, ah, circumstance.

RT: Gerry, do you, do you love your brother?

GA: I love all my brothers.

RT: Do you love Liam?

GA: I have to say I do, I don’t know what he is alleged to have done, and I do think he has to come to terms with it, and, I, I have talked to him and he has talked to me at, at great length as we tried to get Aine what Aine had wanted and..

RT: Why is Aine so angry at you, why is she, she seems very angry with you from what I gather, why do you think that is?

GA: Well, I think I just have to accept that. There are other..

RT: Did you let her down?

GA: Well, she certainly feels that I did.

RT: She said that when you wrote your autobiography, you wrote in your thank yous, I want to thank my brothers and sisters, especially, especially to Liam.

GA: Well I, I can understand Aine’s angst against me, because Aine is seeking, uh, justice, all I know is, that I did my best, sorry let me finish, in a very difficult, ah, circumstance, and, really, Aine will only get the satisfaction that she deserves and the justice that she deserves when this entire situation has gone through, ah, proper proceedings. The police let her down, the social services let her down, I’m, I’m her uncle. It, it is quite unusual that a member of the family of the alleged abuser would bring the alleged victim to social services, that’s, that’s quite an unusual phenomenon.