Page last updated at 16:19 GMT, Monday, 25 January 2010

Gerry Adams and niece Aine Tyrell row over abuse claims

AIne Tyrell
Aine Tyrell has alleged that her father abused her as a child

A new row has erupted between Gerry Adams and his niece after she claimed he did not do enough to stop his brother working with children.

Aine Tyrell has alleged that her father, Liam Adams, abused her from the age of four.

Gerry Adams said on Monday that he tried to help her and that he twice moved to have his brother stopped from working with children in west Belfast.

Liam Adams faces 23 charges related to the alleged abuse of Ms Tyrell.

She told the Sunday Tribune newspaper that she "repeatedly" told Gerry Adams that her father was working with young people in Belfast.

Aine Tyrell claimed the West Belfast MP said he could not tell colleagues his brother was a suspected paedophile to protect her anonymity.

However she she would have waived her right to anonymity "without hesitation".

Liam Adams
Liam Adams is wanted by the PSNI over sex abuse claims

She told the newspaper that she raised concerns with Gerry Adams frequently from late 2003 to late 2005.

"I said I was very concerned that Liam was seeking jobs working with children," she said.

"Gerry told me that was Liam's way of trying to make up to the community for what he done to me. I kept telling Gerry to get Liam out of the youth groups."

Acknowledge

She added that the Sinn Fein president told her he had to "tread carefully" to protect her anonymity.

She said that she would have waived her right "without hesitation" and met both Sinn Fein leaders and the youth groups in question had she been given details of her father's activities.

Speaking on Monday, Gerry Adams said that he stood by his accounts of what he did when he found out his brother was working with children.

He said that he told the authorities at a youth project in Clonard, where Liam Adams worked part-time between 1998 and 2003, about the allegations against his brother.

The authorities at Clonard have said they have no record of any complaint against Liam Adams.

I told Aine that if she wanted to go public on this, I would stand on a platform with her
Gerry Adams

Mr Adams added that when he found out his brother was working in a similar project in Beechmount between 2004 and 2006, he told him that he should leave.

He also stressed that he had always tried to help his niece.

He said: "I am very disappointed that Aine appears to believe I did not act in a good way with her best interests at heart.

"I told Aine that if she wanted to go public on this that I would stand on a platform with her. These matters were reported to the social service and the old RUC at the time. They were put in to the proper agencies to deal with.

"When the issue came up again many years later, I said I would go to the police with her, that I would go to the media with her, and Aine told me that she wanted her father to acknowledge the hurt done to her."

There have also been question marks over how Liam Adams was allowed to remain a member of Sinn Fein when its president knew of the allegations against him.

Inappropriate

Gerry Adams was photographed smiling with his brother during an election canvass in Dundalk in 1997, a decade after he became aware of the accusations.

Mr Adams said on Monday that he told his brother that it was inappropriate for him to be on an election canvass with him.

He said the photograph was taken around the same time that he found out that his own father was an abuser and should be seen in the context of attempting to deal with that revelation as well as trying to make his brother face his responsibilities.

He said that he moved to have Liam Adams expelled from Sinn Fein around that time. However Sinn Fein have subsequently admitted that he held a number of positions in west Belfast after 2000.

Gerry Adams has said that had he known about the move he would have acted to have his brother leave the party for the second time.

Mr Adams has accused the Sunday Tribune of smearing him and his party and of not offering him the chance to give his account of what happened.

The newspaper has said it would pursue any political party with equal vigour.



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