Page last updated at 15:50 GMT, Wednesday, 23 December 2009

PSNI defended over Liam Adams arrest warrant

Liam Adams
Liam Adams went into a police station on Monday afternoon

The PSNI's handling of the case against Gerry Adams' brother - wanted over claims he abused a daughter - has been defended by a Policing Board member.

Liam Adams presented himself to Irish police in Sligo, but they were unable to detain him because there was not a European arrest warrant against him.

The PSNI said one should be processed by next month, but Sinn Fein criticised the police for not having it ready.

Ulster Unionist Basil McCrea said it was not that simple.

"You must be sure that the person is in a particular jurisdiction, you cannot just issue European warrants willy nilly," he said.

"So the reason for the delay and why it is subsequently moving forward at some pace is that until you have proof that a person you are after is in a particular country you can't actually move forward on it.

"My understanding is it will be fast-tracked and it will be about four weeks before it is ready."


Earlier, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams was said to be "astonished" that there was no European warrant issued for his brother over the sex abuse allegations.

Liam Adams is wanted over claims he sexually abused his daughter from the age of four.

After giving himself up, Mr Adams left the Garda station after giving police his name and address and saying that he was willing to be questioned.

His daughter, Aine Tyrell, has waived her right to anonymity to allege that her father had molested her, claiming that the abuse included rape.

Questions asked

He was due to appear in court in November 2008 to face 23 charges relating to the alleged abuse, but failed to show up.

It was thought at that time he was residing in County Donegal in the Irish Republic.

The PSNI, which has previously described the search for Liam Adams as a cross-border investigation, then issued a warrant for his arrest.

However, it has since emerged that it only covered Northern Ireland.

It is now expected that Sinn Fein members of the Northern Ireland Policing Board - the body which holds the PSNI to account - will be asking why the necessary paperwork to arrest Liam Adams was not in place in advance, if it was suspected that he was living south of the Irish border.

'Under pressure'

The PSNI declined to be interviewed about the matter but a spokesperson confirmed that a European arrest warrant is being prepared in the Liam Adams case and is likely to be ready by January.

The Sinn Fein leader has come under pressure after it emerged that he first knew about the allegation against his brother in the late 1980s.

Since then, Liam Adams has worked with young people in a number of different capacities, including youth groups in west Belfast and Dundalk.

In a weekend interview during which Gerry Adams appealed for his brother to hand himself in to the authorities, he also revealed that his father, a veteran republican, had been responsible for acts of physical and sexual abuse against his own children.

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