Page last updated at 14:54 GMT, Friday, 15 January 2010

Sinn Fein statement in full

In the aftermath of the UTV Insight programme Sinn Fein acknowledged Liam Adams membership of the party.

Since then Sinn Fein has sought to establish the role Liam Adams played in the party. This process has taken a number of weeks to complete. It has involved discussions with Gerry Adams, party leaders nationally and party members and a review of available party documentation.

The fact is that information from this period in the 1990s is not complete.

We have established that Louth Sinn Fein and the national party leadership, apart from Gerry Adams, was unaware of the allegation against Liam Adams.

During this period the allegation against Liam Adams was known only to some members of his family and social services in the Six Counties and the RUC, both of whom had been informed in 1987.

We have also established that Liam Adams was Chair of the Louth Comhairle Ceantair for two and a half months in 1996. He held the position of secretary for one month before this time. He was also nominated as Education Officer but he did not take up this position.

Gerry Adams has stated he became aware in 1997 that Liam Adams was a member of Sinn Fein when he heard that his name might be going forward as a potential election candidate.

The party President moved to ensure that Liam Adams did not go forward as a candidate and that he later left the party. Gerry Adams did this without involving the party locally or nationally.

After this time Liam Adams continued to mix in republican circles and attend some republican events.

From 2000 and for a number of years he involved himself in localised party work in Belfast. Liam Adams did not re-apply to join the party as would be required by party procedures.

He held a number of positions in a cumann in Lower Andersonstown, including chair for a short period before the cumann dissolved.

The local organisation was unaware of the allegation against Liam Adams and the circumstances of his departure from Sinn Fein in Louth.

Clearly his admission to the party in Belfast should have been avoided. Gerry Adams has informed the party that he was not aware of Liam Adams involvement in party work at this time.

In light of the allegation made public against Liam Adams and the above facts, it is clear that he should not have been a member of Sinn Fein.

Child abuse is a major problem in Ireland. No sector of Irish society has been untouched.

Throughout the last decade Sinn Fein rules and procedures governing recruitment and the responsibility of membership have been reviewed and regularised.

In 2000 the party, in keeping with procedures being adopted by many organisations at that time, began introducing guidelines to deal with allegations relating to any sexual and child abuse. A robust set of appropriate guidelines were codified and adopted by the Ard Chomhairle in 2006.

Political opponents have chosen to cynically exploit this tragic situation for wholly political ends. This is disgraceful. They will not succeed.

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