Sinn Fein leader denounces ‘witch hunt’ over paedophile brother

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams claimed he has become the victim of a witch hunt over allegations that he covered up his brother’s sex abuse.

The Irish MP who is facing mounting criticism over his handling of the controversial case, has accused political opponents and the media of attempting to bring him down. “I have committed no offence,” he said.

Earlier this month Adams’s younger brother Liam was convicted of raping and sexually assaulting his daughter Aine over a six-year period from 1977 to 1983 when she was aged between four and nine.

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Questions were raised after it emerged during the two-week trial at Belfast Crown Court that the republican stalwart had known about the abuse but had not told police for nine years. His niece went public with the allegations in a television documentary in 2009.

There was also criticism that Liam Adams was allowed to work with children in west Belfast and Dundalk, Co Louth.

The former West Belfast MP said that police and social services had known about his abuser brother since 1987 but failed to act.

He also claimed he had tried to facilitate a meeting between his niece and brother because Aine had wanted an acknowledgement of guilt from her father.

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This week the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman confirmed his office had launched a formal investigation into whether or not detectives properly examined if Mr Adams hid the crimes. The region’s Public Prosecution Service and Attorney General are also looking at the case alongside the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Mr Adams said: “Four law agencies in the north are now investigating or reviewing aspects of this case, mostly in respect of my evidence. This is unprecedented. I have learned of all of these developments in the media. My rights, if I have any, are unclear.

“I think in the interests of fairness that those sections of the media and those politicians who have been involved in a quite despicable campaign in recent days should allow these agencies to complete their work.”

In April, Mr Adams appeared as a prosecution witness against his brother. At that time it was revealed that Liam Adams had confessed during a walk in the rain in Dundalk in 2000.

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“I co-operated fully with the PSNI,” said Mr Adams. “I made statements in support of Aine. I co-operated fully with the Public Prosecution Service and with the prosecution lawyers. I gave evidence in court against my brother and in support of Aine.

“I reject unconditionally the charge that I committed any offence. I did my best and continue to do my best to deal with this issue.”