Page last updated at 16:43 GMT, Monday, 21 December 2009

Adams 'moved to expel brother' over abuse allegation

Gerry Adams speaks about the abuse

Gerry Adams has said he moved to have his brother expelled from Sinn Fein in Dundalk over incest allegations.

A warrant is outstanding for Liam Adams' arrest, to face allegations that he sexually abused his daughter Aine Tyrell when she was a young child.

Mr Adams denied his brother was ever officially nominated as a Sinn Fein candidate in Louth, but said he moved quickly when he heard that he might be.

At the weekend the Sinn Fein leader revealed his father was a sex abuser.

He said his late father, Gerry Senior, subjected family members to emotional, physical and sexual abuse over many years.

I wouldn't say that I handled this perfectly. Of course I wouldn't
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams

In the statement released on Sunday, Mr Adams said the family made the "devastating" discovery in the 1990s and were still coming to terms with what had happened.


After going public with the revelations about his father, the Sinn Fein president has been answering more questions about what he knew about his fugitive brother and what action he took when he found out, admitting that his handling of the situation was less than perfect.

Speaking on RTE on Monday morning, Gerry Adams said: "When I heard that Liam was in Sinn Fein and when I heard that somebody was putting it about that perhaps he would be a candidate, I moved immediately both to stop that and get him dumped out of Sinn Fein - without telling people why but I moved very, very quickly.

"He wasn't a contender, there was no nomination by Liam Adams in the Dundalk area, there was no convention in which his name was put forward.

"There was no contest in which he was part of," he said.

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

"I wouldn't say that I handled this perfectly. Of course I wouldn't.

"But, I tried to do my best by Áine and I tried to do my best by others within my family and as far as I could, we tried to ensure that no other child was at risk," he explained.

Mr Adams said he "told everyone within Liam's limited circle of the allegation made against him".

He also asked about his brother's position at Clonard Youth Centre, where Liam Adams worked from 1998 to 2003.

'Police clearance'

"When I discovered in the Belfast situation that he was working in a youth facility I went to those who had responsibility for that facility and told them of the allegation.

"He also had RUC or PSNI clearance to work in those facilities. I also pressed Liam to come out of it and in the second case he did what I demanded of him.

"I now know much, much more about how you handle these issues than I did at the time," he said.

However, Clonard Youth Centre has issued a statement, making clear it was unaware of any allegations against Liam Adams when he worked there.

Spokesperson Brendan Dineen said the centre had reviewed all its documentation "and there is no record whatsoever regarding concerns about Mr Liam Adams during his time of employment at Clonard Youth Centre".

"If we had been aware of allegations that have recently come to light, he would not have been employed at the centre," he continued.

"There have been very stringent policies and procedures in place since the establishment of the club with no incidents of wrongdoing reported."


In his weekend statement, Mr Adams said his family members who had been abused by Gerry Senior 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."

Mr Adams said he was almost 50 when he found out about his father's abuse and 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."

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".

Liam Adams
An arrest warrant has been issued for Liam Adams

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.

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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