Why Gerry Adams’ problem over his non reporting of child abuse will not go away…

Matt Cooper in today’s Irish Examiner puts nail firmly to head. Ignore the whinging about hostile media coverage, that’s par for the course he says. But no matter how shaming or embarrassing this story is for all of us, this surely is the reason it won’t go away:

Liam Adams apparently told Gerry in 2000 that one aspect of the allegation was true. That was the time that the Sinn Féin leader, in the peace process era, should have reported his brother.

He didn’t. Instead when Liam subsequently moved back to Belfast why did Gerry let him live with him and help get a job in a youth club associated with Clonard monastery? And why did Gerry allow Liam to reinvolve himself with Sinn Féin in west Belfast in 2000 if that was the year that Liam made his limited confession of sexual abuse, short of rape, to Gerry?

This was also the same year Sinn Féin introduced guidelines to deal with allegations of sexual and child abuse but Adams did not inform his own party of the most serious allegations against his brother until they were made public in 2007.

To have assumed that Liam was not a potential danger to other children was another frightening misjudgment, one that Gerry was not qualified to make.

And indeed there are  interesting questions that could be asked re the knowledge Liam Adams claimed to have had about other offenders.

The abiding difficulty for Adams and his party :

“I know that I have committed no offence, and I know that I did what I considered to be the right thing, and that I co-operated fully with the PSNI, the Public Prosecution Service, with the court,” he has said. But when and why?

And why should we believe his version of events, when we know that Adams’s history is to say almost anything that is convenient to his political needs of the day? His loyal supporters in Sinn Féin, who treat him as an iconic figure and who believe he can do no wrong, are facing a test of their intelligence.

Can they forgive him anything? Do they always believe, as Adams seems to, that he is a victim of some devious, perfidious plot to destroy him, when this wound clearly is self-inflicted?[Emphasis added]

Heretofore it has just been the Irish journalist’s problem when probing Mr Adams clandestine paramilitary past. In the absence of a valid explanation as to why he broke his own parties regulations on the matter, both he and the party are compromised.

As Eamonn McCann wryly noted when this story first broke…

 

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty