Why Gerry Adams faces one of the biggest challenges of his political career…

On The View last Thursday, there was some agreement on that between Deirdre Heenan referred to him as being made of Teflon, ie nothing ever sticks to him.

But Mr Adams’, and increasingly his party’s, problem does not arise from having a sex offender as a brother. Any of us can have a bad egg in the family. And the problems associated with intrafamial sex abuse are indeed traumatising for all concerned.

The real problem arises from Mr Adams’ inability to account for his inaction in relation to his brother’s work with children, not Liam’s abuse of his daughter. It’s further compounded by the fact that he told UTV that he had believed his niece from the start, ie 1987.

Perhaps some calculate that if he got away with lying about his part in an organisation which accounted for 100s of deaths, why would anyone worry about a cover up of child sex abuse? Unless of course they were the Catholic Church?

Well, it’s not political for a start. Much as it is an awful heart rending tragedy, the kidnap and killing of Jean McConville occurred in a year that accounted for the greatest number of deaths in the conflict.

Adams’ ‘cover up’ does not have the remotest possible political justification to it. Consider too that whatever Adams’ suspicions were beforehand, he heard his brother’s confession in 2000 where exactly? In Dundalk.

That’s in the jurisdiction of An Garda Siochana. Whatever about Northern Ireland, Mr Adams had no ‘official’ political scruples about reporting to authorities in the south.

And to top it all, it’s now within his own constituency.

Voters in Louth may politically ‘understand’ the historic killing and dumping of a mother ten in 1972, but surely they will struggle to comprehend why their TD allowed his child abusing brother to work with local kids ten years ago?

What may have helped Adams in the last week since the trial ended is the strength of the party’s narrative framework, as strong, always thinking in the long term, and the rhetoric of historical determinism.

But the self preserving aspect of this story jams something of a crowbar into the engine of that narrative, if not the narrative itself.

To add complication, unlike other parties or movements, Sinn Fein cannot easily unhook themselves from the leader. Adams is a critical element in the party’s own public branding.

In Cuba Castro is celebrated for having the good sense to make Che Guevara its posthumous revolutionary icon. Dead men don’t grow old or tarnished by the long grind and compromises of life.

The inscrutability of the organisation’s ‘leadership’ will make it hard to separate the party’s fortunes from those of Adams. Like the policeman and the bicycle, where does Leader end and party begin?

Some have been waiting for some form of political attack on Sinn Fein to hit beneath the waterline. Yet such attacks regularly have the opposite effect in their mostly marginalised constituencies, alienating their voters further from the centre of the Irish establishment.

However, this story was not part of any political attack on Sinn Fein.

It emerged from someone very close and personal to the party leader himself. It will be hard to sustain the line that Adams has been any kind of victim here. And the residue is likely to be every bit as toxic as Suzanne Breen argued last week.

There has been no loud percussive blast from incoming fire. No one else but Sinn Fein themselves made this issue political by mounting a rushed defence four years ago of the utterly indefensible.

The cover up of Liam’s offending behaviour has enormous potential to cause Adams, and his party, serious damage. Not least in the TD’s new ‘home’ constituency of Louth.

, , ,

  • cynic2

    “enormous potential to cause Adams, and his party, serious damage”

    ….but only if SF voters change an ingrained pattern of behavior.

    I don’t see that happening and within the party there is no-one competent or brave enough to challenge him They know they wouldn’t survive it internally.

    And externally the Brits and the Irish Government must see their interest in keeping him in place. The Brits are desperate that he keep SF on the right path and the Irish Parties so they can have a stick to beat the party with from time to time

    So aside from the public good of having honest politicians who don’t cover up pedophilia, no-one benefits and there’s no disincentive to heave him out. Witness the weakness of the DUP attack in the North – they aren’t interested and even the SDLP are almost invisible on this

  • megatron

    I broadly agree with Deidre Heeney on the view that he (and the party) will get away with it.

    What ultimately caused the greatest problem for the church was the official reports which the public trusted to be unbiased and free of political or other influence.

    What SF and GA have in their favour here is that there are no prosecutions, no reports and in dundalk at least not even an investigation.

    The press when it comes to GA are very much like the boy who cried wolf. The public (SF voters or potential voters especially) mostly dont read the news and if they do they dont trust it to change their minds about something this fundamental – they only read it to confirm their existing biases.

    He is not so much Teflon as one of those terrible pans that has so much stuff stuck to it you wouldnt even notice if half your most recent ulster fry stuck to it.

    I still think he may go into an Obi Wan Kanobi type role. Mostly in the background but occasionally venturing forward with advice and active in campaigns. Probably a 20% chance of that with 80% chance of staying for the next election.

    No doubt he wants a southern office as vindication of his personal struggle.

  • tacapall

    The man is a liar, lacks integrity and has no shame but its nothing we all dont know and regardless how many threads after threads you post on the subject I doubt its going to have any effect on the joe blogg Sinn Fein voter but for this sites posters, it like FDM says, it shows up your lack of integrity and your political bias and this sites infatuation with somehow believing it can make Gerry Adams fall on his sword by thread after thread on the same subject while ignoring all other bad news all around.

    The fact that you can ignore the increasingly clear evidence that the UVF is now the military wing of the Orange order. The fact that you can ignore the Orange orders threats to increase sectarian tension and if need be, to bring about civil disobedience, just another word for violent means, by (a supposedly religious organisation) and the fact that Westminster MP’s and members of the Stormont government stand four square behind and beside these same people who also stand behind and beside members of the UVF who are believed by the PSNI to have shot and seriously injured a young protestant woman, being involved in the selling of drugs that have resulted in the deaths of almost a dozen young people recently, being investigated for criminal activities like extortion and racketeering including a recent arms find in east Belfast. Turning a blind eye to all of the above while posting thread after thread on Gerry Adams shows this sites bias when it comes to telling it how it is.

    The fact that the DUP and the Orange order can call upon these people and the fact that they even indulge or stand beside these people after all the murders they committed and how they haven’t changed their ways and the fact that when the Orange Order speaks of civil disobedience, who do you think is going to organise and carry out that civil disobedience. But I guess thats not newsworthy for you Mick after all there obviously is no Catholics victims in some peoples eyes.

    I suppose I can expect a card like FDM for speaking my mind and telling it how it is ?

  • Brian Walker

    .. and yet and yet Mick.. it doesn’t seem to be gaining traction.. Have the limits of censure been reached, especially when there are ( from one point of view) positive things to weigh in the balance sheet?

    When I last looked a couple of months ago..

    Gerry Adams saw the largest increase of all the party leaders with 37 per cent of voters saying they are satisfied with his performance, an increase of 8 points.

    Taoiseach Enda Kenny saw his approval rating drop by 6 points to 36 per cent.

    Micheál Martin remains the third most popular leader in the country at 31 per cent (up 7) followed by Eamon Gilmore at 26 (down 1) and Eamon Ryan at 10 per cent.

    Reaction to the seanad defeat barely mentions SF. This may suggest the party’s strength although considerable is still sectional and not mainstream.

    Perhaps we have an understandable tendency to see it all through northern eyes?

  • megatron

    Tacapall – I call it the Miriamisation of the site.

  • tacapall

    Miriamisation of the site.?

    I think the very reason why its like water off a ducks back for Sinn Fein and Gerry Adams is because Nationalism and the majority of Sinn Fein voters see the hypocrisy of Unionism, the British government and the local media when they can point fingers in one direction while turning a blind eye to another. The recent antics of Jim Allister attempting to dictate what the Victims commissioner should believe or what she should wear, like a poppy and calls for her to resign because she doesn’t dance to his tune is totally ignored, plus his political relationship with the PUP and UVF terrorists like Billy Hutchinson who created lots of victims, even from his own community it shows his lack of integrity and hypocrisy and Allisters obvious belief that theres no Catholic victims unless they were murdered by the IRA. But sure thats not newsworthy either

  • Morpheus


    I think you need to remember that this is an opinion blog, not the BBC website. There is absolutely no requirement for Mick to provide balance, he provides his opinion then we, the posters, offer our contributions. Granted it does tie our hands somewhat in that we can only comment on what others deem important enough to blog on but that’s the nature of the beast. I recommend requesting permission to be a regular blogger and contribute what you deem important enough for others to comment on. Some of the blogs on here are very short and contain nothing more than the facts from another website so it’s do-able if you feel so strongly. I am sure Mick would appreciate the extra blogs.

  • Brian Walker

    tacapall.. Good point although I wouldn’t have put it quite like that myself. Never show weakness because it’s one up to the other side. The sad old zero sum game.

    Even so over the brother affair my instinct is that people are reluctant to pass final judgment precisely because it was so intimately fraternal and will put up with the “lies”

    Abuse by outsiders is one thing. Is abuse within the family still a taboo and subject to quite a lot of omerta? . Are Irish people still very strong on family solidarity even when its at the expense of the victim? .

  • Gerry Adams on RTE where he responds to queries about his behaviour 5 mins in.

  • sean treacy

    Mck, if somebody asks Gerry to apoligise for saying he never heard of you , will you leave him alone?

  • Barnshee

    “The fact that you can ignore the Orange orders threats to increase sectarian tension and if need be, to bring about civil disobedience, just another word for violent means”

    Is there a precedent for this anywhere?

    “can call upon these people and the fact that they even indulge or stand beside these people after all the murders they committed ”

    Who what when where ???

    Unless of course you mean the ” back shooters” etc actually elected ?

  • Kevsterino

    I have been hesitant to comment on this affair from the beginning. This is a hurtful subject, and without a doubt the person who endured the most pain has been a young girl (at the time, let’s remember we are talking about a child) whose innocence was snatched from her by her father. Liam Adams is, without a doubt, the ‘most’ guilty party in this sordid mess.

    Can anyone tell me if she ever expressed what it was she expected her uncle to do about this? Have him exiled? Beaten? Killed? I’ve never been clear on that aspect of the story, but if I put myself in GA’s shoes, it ain’t comfortable. As horrible as what Liam Adams did was, that is still his brother. I refuse to contemplate my own brother doing such a thing.

    Horrible tragedy all around. That won’t stop people from looking upon it as a political opportunity. But I think that opportunism will turn off Sinn Fein voters from the idea of deserting Gerry Adams. They will simply look upon it as another item in a long line of trying to torpedo their man.

  • Mick Fealty


    Ah, blaming the victim again. Seen that one before. It’s becoming a regular occurrence in fact. 😉

    No thanks to the SF leader, Aine now has justice.

    The live issue is what Adams did after he found out, and the fact that he’s consistently lied about it.

    I do have this urge to ask if you are all not just a little bit mad? And then this little voice inside goes ‘but is it you Mick?’

    In my head, I find it hard to get past the idea that the association with the cover up of his brother’s paedophilia is a less than inspiring association for the SF brand.

    Or Adams ability to so ineptly skewered himself with his own testimony (where’s Jonathan Powell when you really need him).

    At lunchtime a friend, who has not the least interest in Irish politics, suggested this story has all the raw material of great fiction: ambition and loyalty, betrayal, sex and lies.

    Now there’s a plot you could really conjure with. The villain, the hero, the anti hero.

  • Kevsterino

    Mick, I’m not blaming the victim in the slightest. I hold her entirely blameless, which is why I refer to her innocence. I would simply like to know what is was she was asking her uncle to do. She might not have asked him to do anything specific. Were he my brother, I’d like to think I’d call the cops, after kicking his ass.

    I don’t think this effects the Sinn Fein brand as much as some would like it to. Sinn Fein has more going on than Gerry Adams, whose star has been growing more dim every year.

    The lying, I believe, is all political cover and the least surprising aspect of the thing. If he perjured himself, he should be prosecuted. Do you think he will be?

    As for your friend’s movie idea, he has a valid point, although considering the possible length of the thing, a mini-series might be more suitable.

  • Mick Fealty

    Who knows Kev. Barra McGrory has referred it on to Attorney General. Interestingly they closed the investigation because of insufficient evidence. They do now have some material on oath from the man himself, so it could be interesting.

    But it’s a pretty rich plot already, which no doubt has a few more twists and turns left in it. You get to see GA’s personal MO which seems pretty consistent with previous cases, like the McCartneys, where he promises the victims to help them and then behind their back he does exactly the opposite…

    My friend would like to see Bob de Niro do something in it..

  • carlota martinez

    Is GA facing the biggest political crisis of his career?

    No. The saga surrounding the conviction of his brother for sexually abusing his own daughter is just too personal. The role that GA played in supporting his niece and testifying against his own brother at the original trial is just too close to the knuckle to permit most people condemn him. The subject of intra-familial sexual abuse is still largely taboo. Many individuals reading this will have been touched by it in their own family or will know of families which have been blighted by it.

    Throughout the long history of this case has the conduct of GA been above criticism? Unquestionably not.

    Has his conduct been devoid of self interest or the best interests of his wider family? No.

    Which of us faced with the invidious and destructive nature of sexual abuse within our own family would have acted in a manner which would have beyond reproach?

    Intra-familial sexual abuse destroys families. Let no one think that the actions that one is called upon to take are are self evident. They are not.

    Which of us would would wish to be placed in a situation where we felt obliged to publicly support an abused family member in the knowledge that such public support would, in all likelihood, irrevocably destroy the fabric of the wider family?

  • Dixie Elliott

    Sinn Féin welcomes announcement on child abuse inquiry

    December 16, 2010

    Sinn Féin MLAs Martina Anderson (Foyle) and Sue Ramsey (west Belfast) have welcomed this evening’s announcement that the Executive are to begin a process of Inquiry into cases of historical child abuse.

    Speaking this evening Martina said;

    “The demand for an inquiry has been a longstanding one for victims and survivors of institutional child abuse.

    Despite the harrowing nature of their stories I have no doubt that they will welcome this announcement. I would call now for the relevant institutions to play a full, open and honest part in the inquiry process.”

    Sue added;

    “I welcome this announcement by the Executive and am very conscious of the call that victims and survivors have been making for some considerable time now. Obviously this inquiry must be victim centred and led.

    We will continue to engage with victim’s representatives and groups and ensure that their needs remain the focus.” CRÍOCH


  • sean treacy

    Is that you Dixie,? last thing we heard from son of sam was that you had gone on loan to THE PENSIVE QUILL to do some satire.What are you and McIntyre lampooning this week.Maybe “Big House Republicanism” ? or is that term now redundant that your mate Anthony has been exposed as paid lackey of one Tom McFeely

  • Mick Fealty

    Sean, great to have you here, just try to remember the hit ball at least once in fortnight rule?

  • sean treacy

    Mick are you having a laugh.Because of a couple of posts I am accused of not playing the ball while there must have been at least 500 playing the man in the person of one G Adams

  • babyface finlayson

    “…too close to the knuckle to permit most people condemn him.”
    The concern is that he allowed his brother to go on working with other children from other families, making it more than just a personal family affair.
    Gerry Adams could have done more about that don’t you think, given his status and the number of persuasive friends he had.
    As far as we know he mentioned it once to Fr McGoran and that was it. Did he pop in the following week to see if Liam had been moved on? Apparently not.
    Did he tell Liam to stop his active involvement with children immediately? Apparently not.

  • David Crookes

    Many thanks for the link, Nevin.

    I think Brian’s bang on the nail about omerta.

  • Charles_Gould

    What age was the girl at the time?

    Also: makes it hard for the child abuse issue to be discussed by SF, without this being cleared. This is an important issue, north and south, so suspect this issue with Adams will not go away.

  • Charles_Gould

    Makes one glad that one did not have child abuse in ones own family.

  • These words from a former hunger-striker and party press officer are very scathing:

    Mr Hodgins said: “Gerry Adams began his career emulating South American military dictators who had a habit of disappearing people and ended his career emulating a cardinal of the Catholic Church protecting child abusers. Such behaviour is not conducive to the republican philosophy. Such behaviour demeans Irish republicanism.”

  • megatron

    They are damning Nevin but that individual hated GA before any of this was known. What is needed to change the narrative is some senior member or supporter to criticise. Maybe even someone like Brian Feeney might carry some weight. Probably not though. Trotting out quotes from the usual suspects is a total waste of time.

  • Mick Fealty

    Comment on its own rarely makes a huge difference Meg. But there’s an awful lot of poison slowly building up here. It’s got to go somewhere, sometime even if it is later rather than sooner.

    On reflection the title above is more than a tad on the purple side. Maybe I’m just spooked at the sheer audacity of the man, and you can safely disregard most of the above.

    I’m certainly not overly religious, but I just keep thinking Matthew 18:6.

  • Cris Cross

    Here’s hoping Mr. Amnesia retains his position. He has now become such a liability to the Republican movement that every time he opens his mouth, the focus of attention changes to child abuse.
    Any slim credibility he had, has disappeared like raindrops falling on the ocean.

  • I take your point, Megatron, and I feel his departure may be akin to that of Mrs Thatcher’s ie the pressure to depart will come from within the organisation.

  • Charles_Gould


    Isn’t there a practical problem that SF will find it hard to raise the issue of child abuse including tackling cover ups – without the reader/listener/viewer thinking about Gerry Adams’ serious failures in this regard?

  • Dixie Elliott

    Ah sean treacy, new user name same old crap about Mackers and McFeely.

    That’s the thing about fanatical Adamsism online, like sheep in a field it’s hard to tell you lot apart. Yous can’t put any sort of argument together in defense of the bearded autocrat so we get the usual anti-Sinn Fein parroting or attempts at smearing.

    Yours has been ‘Mackers worked for Tom McFeely’ – a bit like that loyalist who wore his glasses over a balaclava – it makes you stand out from the other online Adamsite apologists.

    However unlike your good self who hides behind various fake names Mackers writes using his own name.

  • Mick Fealty

    Dixie, leave it outside please?

  • Dixie Elliott

    Jeeze Mick in the blue or black bin?

  • Red Lion

    Charles G,

    Not just, I think Sinn Fein’s education portfolio will also be losing creditability.

    Education=child protection.

  • Barney

    Christ on a bike I doubt I’ve read a worse hatchet job in a while.

    If this is the standard of commentary here I would be worried.

    Mr Fealty makes a very poor case for the prosecution throwing as much dirt as possible hoping some will stick, even dragging the Catholic Church into this very personal tragedy. Fealty’s case seems to be that GA didn’t influence the appointment of his Brother to a post where he had access to children. The complex issues involved are given a nod by Fealey then ignored as he goes on a rant about everything except the complex intrafamilial issues involved.

    GA could have gone to special branch this is true, a special branch who cared as much about paedophilia as they did about directing sectarian murder. The sick thing is that the child who was abused then would have been used as a political tool by those who would have claimed that they had her best interests at heart.

    The case of Vincent McKenna comes to mind when Unionist politians and commentators used his human rights bureau as a stick to beat republicans.

  • GEF

    Does not look there is any warm feeling between GA and his niece or former sister in law, going back many years.

    “Gerry Adams’ niece Aine reveals: ‘The Beard tried to get me to gag Press over abuse'”


  • Alias

    Suzanne Breen is of course correct that no other political leader’s public career would survive being exposed as a protector of paedophiles (Ms Cahill’s statements also show this to be systemic policy within the Shinners). They wouldn’t survive it because the public would expect the press to make a big fuss about it and to whip up their collective moral outrage, and the press would duly make a big fuss about it with demand for resignation etc. No big fuss equals no collective moral outrage equals no media/public pressure on the offender to depart public life.

    It is nice to think that the public could determine that Mr Adams isn’t a fit person to hold public office without that media prompt but those who do don’t outnumber those who don’t. After all, they voted for a sociopath either believing that its pathology other extended to inflicting harm on the other tribe (which was acceptable to them) or believing the revisionist myth that civil rights activists promoted equality of those rights by violating human rights on an industrial scale.

    The media won’t make a big fuss about this story as that might lead to a public demand for the offender’s resignation. And for as long as that offender remains a useful British state asset on the island of Ireland, the offender will continue to enjoy the benefits of that state’s protection – which extends to giving the press clues on which direction the story should helpfully go.

    It is likely that state assets in the Shinners are not found among those younger TDs most likely to replace Adams so these knackered old horses will continue in place for the foreseeable future.

  • 241934 john brennan

    G.A. desibes the circumstances relating to the abuse of his niece as ‘a family tragedy.’ No mention of ‘crime’.
    The same can be said of the circumstances relating to the Disappeared – each only a family tragedy
    Gerry Kelly says Thomas Begley was a victim of circumstances. His death in the Shankill fish shop bombing was due to him being an IRA volunteer, which in turn, was due to his resistance to the oppressed circumstances of his life.

    So in physical force/ceasefire republicanism there are no criminals, and no personal responsibilities for individual actions that others define as ‘crimes’ – all categorised as victims, family tragedies, or the regrettable consequences of war.

    In the present SF lexicon, the terms ‘Murderers, criminals, traitors etc” apply only to Dissidents.

  • Mick Fealty


    Touche. It was not one of my better pieces of work, I will admit. I confess it is overly focused on the politics, and takes scant account of the terrible tragedy at the heart of the story.

    I’m not offering a defence other than to say that sometimes you just get caught up with these things.

    I DO recommend people give Michael Reade’s interview of John Mooney of the Sunday Times, who does a far better job than I have of making some of the same points.

    It’s on the Monday show and starts here at about 46 minutes http://goo.gl/g3XAqq

    I do still think all of this is building up a lot of poison in the party’s internal water supply. At the end of the day, the party has made a complicated personal issue of the leader the party’s business.

    Personally, I cannot see it ending at all well… but then again, what do I know?

  • cynic2

    “The role that GA played in supporting his niece and testifying against his own brother at the original trial is just too close to the knuckle to permit most people condemn him.”

    Strangely. Yet another defensive post for Gerry from a very rare name that pops up every 3 months or so when the heat comes on SF and who always seems to help defend and deflect.

    So just who is Carlota Martinez? Is she real? Or is Connolly House really worried?

  • cynic2

    “Gerry Kelly says Thomas Begley was a victim of circumstances.”

    Presumably that means someone set the timer wrongly. So was there a court martial? Has the verdict been published?

  • Mick Fealty

    You might as well ask who is cynic2? Behave!! [Ignore him Carlota]

  • carlota martinez

    “…the party has made a complicated personal issue of the leader the party’s business.”

    The actuality is that political opponents and certain commentators have made a personal tragedy which has befallen GA and his family, into a political issue and a stick to beat him with.

    I have no insight whatever into GA’s current standing within Sinn Fein.

    I am reasonably confident however, that there are sufficient decent people within that organisation and society at large not to make political capital out of this tragic mess.

    Incidentally, I appreciate that the involvement of Barra McGrory as a legal advisor in the early stages of this case renders it necessary to refer the matter for review to the AG. However, it is inconceivable that a family member who was a prosecution witness in a case of this nature should be prosecuted for perjury. For the said family member to be made the subject of criminal proceedings because of a perceived unwillingness to wash ALL his families dirty linen in public is a counsel of perfection. It is not the real world. It must surely be public policy to encourage family members to expose sexual abuse, not to threaten them with criminal sanction if their evidence is considered wanting.

    Cynic2 @ 3.20 you are on the cusp of being overwhelmed by your own paranoia.

  • Mick Fealty

    True Carlota, but the DPP has a duty of care to make sure the PSNI don’t repeat the mistakes of the RUC in 1987 for the sake of politics…

    Eilis O’Hanlon raises the real political issues here (http://goo.gl/rE7FE8)…

    …there was something unseemly about his plea to the press last week to be given “respect and space and privacy” to “come to terms with” what had happened.

    For Aine and the wider family, certainly. For himself? That’s not a realistic or reasonable expectation.

    Adams is leader of a party which has easily vaulted over Labour as the main party on the Left in the Republic. Sinn Fein is only a few points behind Fine Gael and Adams has high hopes of becoming Tanaiste after the next election.

    Any errors of judgment made by the party leader matter enormously, not least when Sinn Fein has – whether by design or neglect – allowed him to become synonymous with the party.

    The evidence is irrefutable by now. Despite claiming to believe from the start that his brother was a child-abuser, Adams allowed him to work with young people in Dundalk and Belfast.

    Despite claiming to be estranged from his brother after hearing Aine’s story, he was also photographed smiling and happy at Liam’s subsequent wedding, and they were in contact in other ways.

    He also admitted changing his original statement to the police to include the fact that his brother had privately confessed to the abuse. Now we know he approached police to change his statement only after being contacted by UTV, which was making a programme about Aine’s ordeal.

    Like it or not, the political problem IS separate from the personal one. If this were any other party, we would be asking big questions of their integrity here, not least because of their own position on child abuse cover ups in other organisations.

    Here’s Mary Lou talking about the report that Diarmuid Martin commissioned into child sex abuse in clerical instutions, just before the broadcast of the UTV documentary programme (http://goo.gl/KFuz0z):

    “Anyone, including Gardaí, found to be complicit in the cover up of child abuse must be arrested and made to face the full rigours of the law.

    “The Government must take immediate action in response to the Report’s finding that the legislation governing the role of the HSE in dealing with child sexual abuse is inadequate.”

    This is Party policy. Does it not apply to the President? As for the review by the AG, that’s entirely matter for him. For Aine’s sake (and for the sake of confidence in the policing justice structures in Northern Ireland), it needs to be thorough and the AG above reproach.

    Not least because any gaps in the reasoning could leave Mr Adams open to other means of prosecution…

  • Alias

    “Anyone, including Gardaí, found to be complicit in the cover up of child abuse must be arrested and made to face the full rigours of the law.” – Mary Lou McDonald

    “This is Party policy. Does it not apply to the President?” – Mick Fealty

    Mary Lou’s statement makes it clear that it applies to everyone. But will she call for it to apply to her party boss? Only if you foolishly expect a Shinner to have integrity…

  • Dixie Elliott

    “Commenting this morning on the report on clerical sexual abuse of children in the Dublin Diocese Sinn Féin Vice President Mary Lou McDonald said anyone found to have covered up the abuse of children should be arrested and face the full rigours of the law….”

    28 November, 2009


  • David Crookes

    With every day that passes, the problem becomes less and less of a GA problem, and more and more of a SF problem.

    Is GA still essential to British and Irish designs? No.

    Would the said B&I designs go down the drain if GA was run over by a bus? Of course not.

    Is GA still badly needed in NI? No.

    Is he badly needed in the RoI? No.

    It would be far more serious if MMcG was run over by a bus.

    If SF robotically maintains its cult of the Dear Leader, it will suffer badly in the RoI. FF is standing up merrily and stretching itself. FF realizes that the great eclipse was quite ephemeral, and it needs to sink its teeth into some other party’s neck. An FF-FG coalition is not impossible. Whatever happens, both FF and FG would like to see SF mutilated at the polls.

    Call me stupid, but as far as I can see it’s all down to Mary Lou. Does she believe in the “rigours of the law”, or does she believe in royalty? And if SF needs a capital-letter ‘President’, does he have to be male? A lot of women may be glad to see Mary Lou holding up the red card.

  • Barney

    I fail to see where or how SF made this the party’s business.

    In the broadcast you linked to Mooney goes out of his way to make it clear that Adams behaviour was typical of anyone in the same position. He points out that support groups make it clear that he has nothing to answer and that Adams senior went to the PSNI when he didn’t have to.

    Mooney also makes it clear that the jails would be full if all family members were prosecuted in similar circumstances.

    You did concede that it wasn’t your best piece I still think it was a hatchet piece you have yet to make it clear why you decided to go down this road.

  • Dixie Elliott

    Barney tell us this, what type of sick individual after years of her pleading with him to get her justice in regards to her vile rapist of a father gives her his autobiography with a foreword which singles that rapist out for special mention?

    People like yourself come out with arms flailing in defense of Adams yet when asked awkward questions you hide until the next time.

    Are those in Sinn Fein like Mary Lou hypocrites for attacking the Catholic Church for protecting paedophiles?

  • Dixie Elliott

    Cross examination of Gerry Adams by Ms McDermott QC at the Crown Court in Northern Ireland sitting at Belfast; Monday April 22nd 2013. Supplied by the office of the Lord Chief Justice …


  • Mick Fealty


    You’re presuming that Aine’s and Gerry’s interests are exactly the same, which they certainly aren’t. It’s hardly surprising Gerry is trying to create that impression.

    Why’s the party so involved?

    – He’s still their leader.

    – He’s in breach of the party’s own constitution, but has received no reprimand. (Consider the sort of signal that is sending to others in the party?)

    – His actions contradict the party’s own public stance on similar cover ups by other organisations.

    And as Mooney notes from about 1 hour, this is a subject that no one in the press office would talk to him about, even though they were very keen to talk about it when it came to similar crimes in relation to Cardinal Brady’s silence.

    In addition, Jim Allister points to the relevant statute

    Section 5 of The Criminal Law NI Act 1967:-

    “…. where a person has committed a relevant offence, it shall be the duty of every other person, who knows or believes –

    (a) that the offence … has been committed; and

    (b) that he has information which is likely to secure, or be of material assistance in securing, the apprehension, prosecution or conviction of any person for that offence; to give that information, within a reasonable time, to a constable…” [emphasis added]

    Is two years a reasonable time? It certainly creates an impression that Gerry was perfectly happy not to co-operate whilst the PSNI investigation was getting nowhere, reinforced by the fact it was Insight that forced his hand.

    It remains to be seen if the AG thinks there’s enough evidence to warrant an investigation.

    It would put the DPP in an odd situation since Adams would no doubt be asked to explain why he withheld the statement and what advice he was given on that matter. Client confidentiality means McGrory cannot comment.

    Poots asking the PSNI to have the decision not to investigate reviewed by the Ombudsman puts a second hare in the race.

    I don’t know where any of this goes from here. But he’s certainly in a slightly more complicated place than he was on Sunday night, when I wrote the bulk of the post above.

    It’s hard not see a public interest in probing these matters further. There are a lot of issues here not being directly addressed.

    It could be a very long slow journey. Wherever it goes, his whole party is very much along for the ride.

  • Mick Fealty

    PS, I would buy the logic that this is not directly analogous to the crisis of the Catholic Church since none of these matters were part of his duties.

    But that doesn’t mean the party has zero culpability for not properly launching an investigation of its own. Thus Gerry Kelly’s statement after the PBNI meeting that he was unfamiliar with the facts of the case.

    Ask him no questions… etc…

  • Granni Trixie


    Thanks for the link to the transcript of GA court “interrogation” where LA barrister attempted to establish a challenge to GA version of events in which he alleges that he knew that his brother “interfered” with his daughter.

    He stated that he was unaware that Aine was raped as a child and subjected to oral sex despite her mother allegation that she told him these details.

    The barrister also tried to draw out significance from evidence that GA seemed to tolerate Liam as part of a family circle (including young children of his second wife) to make her case in defence of LA ie that LA had not in fact confessed to him about wrongdoing.

    Have to say I found the transcript shocking in present context,mainly because Adams lack of memory of incidents which you would think would stick in the kind of most people. He also had no recollection whatsoever that he reported Aine’s mother for not having a clean house even when shown a health workers notes of their meeting.

    He also seemed to obscure times lines which would clearly illustrate that his version of events minimised that his brother spent significant periods in various youth clubs or even the extent of his involvement in SF.

    Can anyone refresh my memory with the official reasons for stopping the first trial of LA and why GA was not brought into the second trial?

  • Alias

    He reported his brother’s first wife to Social Services because her children were at risk from nits but didn’t report his brother to Social Services when he had two young daughters by his second wife despite knowing they were at risk from his brother who had raped the daughter from his first marriage from the age of 4. It seems nits are a greater concern to Gerry than child rape.

  • Granni Trixie

    I also get an insight from this transcript that although GA stated in effect “I believe my niece” his actions suggested that he did not, a key point the defence barrister was trying to make I think.

    Can it be that following this interrogation the prosecution Decided that GA evidence did not help their side in the second trial ie he was unreliable witness?

  • Mick Fealty

    We don’t actually know the precise timing Alias, since Gerry cannot give any reliable information those particular events.

  • Granni Trixie

    But Mick, the defense barrister had constructed precise timelines from documented evidence which was often at odds with GA version of events and which the defense used also to demonsrtrare apparent condradictions. This evidence was also used to jogg GA memory.

  • Mick Fealty

    I’m still reading GT. I only mean we can surmise from the erratic way he shifts his story (under Oath) that he’s almost certainly lying. But to establish the truth further you would think it needs a good and proper police investigation.

    Why on earth does a senior party member of Gerry Kelly’s rank know nothing about the detail of this? He and others should have made it their business to know!

  • Granni Trixie

    This whole things stinks. When the story broke originally and GA TV response was “I believe my neice” I thought to myself immediatley that LA was unwise to be so forthwrite as then LA was likely to claim that he could not get a fair trial with such an assertion by such a public figure alone. Conspiracy theorist that I am I even suspected that that was the intent….

    Now, although GA was not and is not on trial we find that after an interrogation which does him or his party (which tolerted LA in its ranks) no favours, GA is not chosen either by the prosecution or defense. We are surely entitled to get answers.

    Aside from party political considerations I trust that this case brings it home again that anyone who knows about adults abusing children must report it to authorities.
    You know the more you think about it its the church all over again – a pattern of abuse and cover up.

  • Granni Trixie

    Sorry – made a mistake by getting Adames mixed up – ought to have said:”GA was unwise” (not LA)

  • Alias

    Mick, according to Ed Moloney:

    “In 1982 he moved from west Belfast to Donegal when his violent and physically abusive marriage to Sally Corrigan had ended. There he lived with his new partner, Bronagh and by 1985 they had a baby, a girl. When she discovered the existence of the child, another potential victim in her eyes, Aine decided to tell her mother about the abuse.”

    According to Adams:

    “Ms McDermott: Mr Adams, when you went to Buncrana in March of 1987 you were aware, weren’t you, that your niece was alleging that her father had sexually abused her?

    A: That’s right; yes.”

    In short, he was aware that his brother had another young daughter to abuse but considered nits a greater risk for to notify Social Services about than the risk of sexual abuse.

  • GEF

    I wonder will Martina Anderson say the same about Gerry Adams as she says about Cardinal Brady on the Nolan Show recently?

    ” Sinn Fein’s Martina Anderson says Cardinal Brady’s reputation has been damaged.”


  • David Crookes

    One tree can take only so many blows of the axe.

  • GEF

    No doubt many republican friends of GF will stick by him like Niall O’Dowd here in his latest article on Irish Central.

    “Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams blameless in brother’s incest case conviction”

    Read more: http://www.irishcentral.com/story/news/periscope/sinn-feins-gerry-adams-blameless-in-brothers-incest-case-conviction-227042321.html#ixzz2hEgOYgnM
    Follow us: @IrishCentral on Twitter | IrishCentral on Facebook

  • Granni Trixie

    Keep digging is all you can say to No’D.
    Can’t believe he doesn’t get the point that yes LA is the one guilty of the original crime but that GA compounded matters by not acting more to stop his brother accessing children in youth clubs and in their own family. He also appears to have obscured subsequently some of the true facts.

    I suggest to NOD or anyone in doubt with what I say that they read the transcript of the first trial as linked above. He will see that the defence barrister accused him of lying. NOD however seems to take comfort from the fact that GA was not asked to give evidence in second trial.

  • Barney


    I am making absolutely no assumptions about anything. The reason SF are involved is because vexatious questioning and nothing more.

    This issue concerns child protection and how families deal with the associated breakdown of trust. Gerry Adams went to the PSNI, he was a witness at the first trial I don’t see where he breached Party rules. He reported what he knew yet you and others here are reading all sorts into a cross examination which the defence ultimately lost in the second trial.

    Should he have done something differently? Possibly, the man is human and one part of a family that was facing a host of problems. Gerry Adams may be responsible for other things but on this one he is very typical of thousands of others in similar circumstances as your link made abundantly clear.

    I still think this piece is a hatchet job and it’s sad that this young woman is being used in such a way.

    Stop with the knee jerk reaction, I have not made any statement in support of SF or Gerry Adams here or anywhere else.
    It strikes me a sick that many can’t believe their luck at the rape of this (then) child.

  • Barney

    Granni Trixie
    It would be a very poor barrister who didn’t accuse him of lying, This self same defence team lost the argument over two trials.

  • Granni Trixie


    The case was made by speaking truth to power plus the prosecution did their job.

    Again I urge you to read the transcript as it conveys more than I am capable of expressing that Gerry Adams has a case to answer for how he treated his niece and the wider vulnerable community even if the defence ‘lost’ in the sense that the prosecution proved the allegation should be upheld.

  • Barney

    I have read the transcript and found nothing untoward considering the context and time.

  • Granni Trixie

    You are entitled to that view but it does astonish me.
    May I add that whilst I originally bought the line that the GA case was mainly “a family matter” – it seemed reasonable and I could have empathy with a family caught up in such circumstances. As the fuller story emerged and I read the transcript I altered to conclude thAt it is in the public interest to investigate GAs account and learn lessons about protecting children. It is a separate matter to argue that GA is now a lame duck who has lost moral authority to lead.

  • Granni Trixie


    As I say,u r entitled to ur opinion BUT as you have only joined us with this thread AND as u found “nothing” untoward” in the transcript am I right in assuming that ur a SF troll?

  • In the next Dail election, if I were the Irish Labour leader I would play up Dick Spring’s role in the last major child molestation scandal in 1994 and compare it to GA’s role. This doesn’t even need to be done explicitly, but only implicitly by ads focusing on the Labour Party’s role in ending the career of Albert Reynolds and refusing to accept a coalition with Bertie Ahern over the appointment of Harry Whelehan to the Supreme Court. I don’t know how media astute the Labour Party is, but if this were in America or Britain the party to benefit would be writing the ads already and preparing them for focus groups to test audience reaction.