An international warrant needed to arrest a brother of Gerry Adams who is wanted on sex abuse charges could take six weeks to obtain, it was revealed today.
Liam Adams handed himself in to gardaí on Monday evening but officers were unable to detain him because authorities in the North had not applied for the correct warrant.
The younger brother of the Sinn Féin president is facing 23 charges of raping and molesting his daughter, Aine Tyrell, in the North in the 1970s and 1980s.
He walked into a Garda station in Co Sligo days after the republican leader issued a public appeal urging him to face up to the allegations levelled against him.
But Police Service of Northern Ireland sources said it would be late January "at the earliest" before they could obtain a European Arrest Warrant which would enable gardaí to take Adams into custody and hand him over.
"The situation won't change in the near future unless he hands himself in to police in Northern Ireland," the source added.
The police have been hunting for Adams since last November when he failed to turn up for a court appearance in Belfast. However, it has now emerged that the warrant issued for his arrest then only covered the UK.
Adams, who is in his 50s, is understood to have spoken for a number of hours with senior Garda detectives about his alleged crimes on Monday before leaving the station.
He apparently stayed at a guest house in Sligo that night, but gave no permanent address.
As well as urging his brother to come forward, Gerry Adams has also revealed that his father, Gerry Adams Senior, abused family members before his death.
The allegations surrounding Liam Adams emerged on Friday when his daughter, now 36, waived her right to anonymity and went public with her claims in a documentary on Ulster Television.
In a follow-up TV interview for RTÉ on Sunday, Gerry Adams then disclosed his father's dark past for the first time, claiming Mr Adams Snr "emotionally, physically and sexually abused" a number of his siblings over many years.
The west Belfast MP also admitted he could have done more to stop his brother working with children in the years after he found out about his niece's allegations.
But the Sinn Féin leader said the police and social services also had questions to answer on how Liam Adams was able to get a job as a youth worker, despite both agencies being aware that Ms Tyrell had made claims that he raped and molested her.
Liam Adams worked in the Clonard Youth Centre in Belfast from 1998 to 2003.
During this period he also worked in the Muirhevnamor Community Youth Project in Dundalk, Co Louth. He was then involved with another youth project in west Belfast from 2004 to 2006.
All three organisations said they were not aware of the claims against him.
He obtained the positions before vetting checks for people working with children in Northern Ireland became compulsory (the law changed in 2005) and it is understood he was not subjected to any such procedure.