Sins of the father

SINN FÉIN president Gerry Adams has revealed how his own father “sexually, emotionally and physically” abused family members.

Mr Adams made the dramatic revelation in the course of an appeal to his brother, Liam, to hand himself over to police. Liam Adams is wanted by the Police Service of Northern Ireland in relation to the alleged rape of his daughter, Áine, more than 20 years ago.

Gerry Adams yesterday rejected suggestions he could and should have done more to inform authorities about possible risks posed by his brother, who was an active Sinn Féin member in Dundalk in the 1990s.

The Sinn Féin leader said he learned of his father’s abusive history after details of the alleged abuse of Áine emerged in 1987. “In the course of dealing with the issue, Áine and the injustice done to her, a family member told me that they had been abused,” Mr Adams told RTÉ news yesterday.

“I immediately brought my siblings together and we tried to deal with that as a collective. Then I went and spoke to myfather about it, I confronted him about it, right up until his death, shortly before his death, I talked to him about this.

“He was in denial for quite a lot of that time, it’s difficult to describe precisely how he was. This was a man who had a very, very large family – ten survived, three died at birth or shortly after birth. He ended up dying a lonely man, where he should have been surrounded by loving family members.”

He said the abuse perpetrated by his father was historic and that there was no danger to others when details of the abuse emerged.

He said his siblings did not want to go to thepolice about it, but sought professional help.

In a separate statement issued by the family, Mr Adams said that in the late 1990s the family discovered that their father had been “sexually, emotionally and physically abusing” members of the family.

The statement, which reached out to other families in a similar situation, did not make any reference to Liam Adams. Mr Adams said his niece, Áine Tyrell, needed justice and appealed for his brother to come forward.


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