Page last updated at 19:40 GMT, Sunday, 20 December 2009

Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams reveals family abuse history

Gerry Adams speaks about the abuse

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has revealed that his late father subjected family members to emotional, physical and sexual abuse over many years.

In a statement, Mr Adams said the family made the discovery about Gerry Snr in the 1990s and were still coming to terms with what had happened.

"This discovery and the abuse which preceded it have had a devastating impact on our entire family," he said.

"We live with the consequences every single day."

In the statement, Mr Adams said the family members who had been abused were still recovering from the trauma.

"Our family have debated for some time whether we should publicise our father's abusive behaviour," he added.

"We do so now in the hope that, in time, this will assist the victims and survivors to come to terms with what happened and help them to move on from these dreadful events.

"All citizens need to be educated and children need to be listened to, empowered and protected."


Speaking in an interview with Irish state broadcaster RTE on Sunday, Mr Adams said he was 50 when he found out about his father's abuse. He said he did not himself recall being a victim.

He said: "I have pondered on this and brought myself back to the family home where the abuse took place.

"Tried to come back into childhood, back to bedrooms, back to other places where I know the abuse took place and I cannot find any recollection of being personally abused.

"At the same time I am very mindful that sometimes flashbacks are caused by a smell, by a curtain, by a song, by some very mundane everyday event but as I sit here, I do not have any recollection of abuse."

Gerry Adams Snr (centre) and Gerry Adams
Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams pictured with his father Gerry Adams Snr

The Sinn Fein president said his father, who died six years ago, was in denial for many years about his actions and he "had died a lonely old man".

He said the police were not involved because his father's victims did not want to contact them.

Mr Adams also said all of the abuse was "historic" and no children were at risk when the abuse was eventually revealed.


On Friday, Mr Adams appealed for his brother, Liam, to hand himself over to the police to answer allegations of sexual abuse.

It is understood that an arrest warrant was issued for Liam Adams a year ago.

It was issued for failing to appear at a preliminary court hearing to answer questions about alleged sexual offences against his daughter, Aine Tyrell.

Ms Tyrell, who has waived her right to anonymity, spoke publicly of her allegations against her father on UTV's Insight programme on Friday night.

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