IT has emerged Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams believed his brother to be a serious child sex abuser for over 20 years before informing either the gardaí or Northern Irish police.
In an Ulster television Insight documentary, screened last night, Mr Adams admitted that in early 1987 he became aware of allegations that his brother Liam had repeatedly sexually abused his own daughter since she was four years old.
However despite stating that from “the very beginning” he believed his niece Áine Tyrell’s claims to have been sexually abused by her father, the Sinn Féin president failed to inform gardaí or instigate any other justice proceedings.
In the documentary, Mr Adams said he was now willing to bear “witness in support of Áine and against Liam”. He also called on his brother, who is believed to have been “on the run” in the Republic since a warrant for his arrest was issued by the PSNI in November 2008, to give himself up.
Liam Adams, who is in his late 50s, faces 29 charges.
The programme alleged that as late as 2007 Áine Tyrell, who left Northern Ireland as a teenager in the 1980s to live in Scotland, had encountered attempts by prominent Belfast priest Fr Aidan Troy to “mediate” on behalf of her father rather than allow him face criminal prosecution.
Last night Fr Troy issued a statement denying claims he had attempted to persuade Ms Tyrell, aged 36, from proceeding with a case.
Ms Tyrell said she had first informed her family about the abuse in the mid-1980s. When Gerry Adams was informed of the allegations he organised a meeting between the victim, her mother and his brother Liam.
Ms Tyrell decided not to pursue the prosecution at that time but when she discovered her father had started working with children in community groups she decided to reactivate her case.
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