Analysis

Thursday 21 August 2014

'There was no tension or animosity' between Liam and Gerry

Suzanne Breen

Published 28/11/2013 | 22:14

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Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams
Liam Adams was jailed for 16 years

THEY were the closest of brothers and the best of friends. Despite what he claims now, there was always a strong personal and political bond between Gerry Adams and his paedophile brother.

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The Sinn Fein president claims that after his niece Aine told him that her father had sexually abused her in 1987, he was estranged from his brother for the next 15 years.

This wasn't true. The pair remained in regular, friendly contact.

Gerry Adams attended his brother's wedding, took him canvassing for Sinn Fein in Dundalk,and Liam was the most senior party official in Co Louth, where he pushed his brother's moderate policies and battled to take control from republican hardliners.

Party members say he was known as "Gerry's man in Dundalk" and regarded as the Sinn Fein president's "eyes and ears" there.

In 1996, Mr Adams attended his brother's wedding at the Castlebellingham Hotel. Wearing a green ribbon for IRA prisoners, he was photographed smiling with his arm around Liam.

When Liam was employed as a youth worker in Dundalk, Sinn Fein members say his big brother regularly stayed in his home when he visited the town. As the chairman of the Louth comhairle ceantair, Liam Adams liaised directly with the party leadership, showing how much he was trusted.

In November 1997, he was given the honour of chairing the Edentubber martyrs' commemoration just outside Dundalk to honour five IRA members killed in the Border Campaign.

Earlier that year, Gerry Adams openly canvassed with his paedophile brother in the June Dail election campaign. The Adams brothers were photographed laughing and joking and greeting voters on the streets of Dundalk.

Sinn Fein election agent Fra Browne recalls: "The Adams brothers got on great together. There was no animosity or tension between them. Liam was very much part of the Sinn Fein team for years. If Gerry claims otherwise he is attempting to rewrite history. Liam was always saying, 'I'll see Gerry about that'."

Gerry Adams did not tell Mr Browne, or any other party members in Dundalk, that Liam was a paedophile.

The level of affection between the brothers could be seen in the number of books and pamphlets that Mr Adams affectionately inscribed to his brother which were shown to the court during Liam's first trial.

"To Liam, Bronagh and your family. From Gerry xoxox", was signed in his 2001 book 'An Irish Journal'.

In his 1996 autobiography 'Before the Dawn', out of his nine brothers and sisters, Mr Adams singled out Liam for special thanks.

In 1998, when Liam started a new job working with children in Clonard Youth Centre in west Belfast, he lived in Gerry's house for six weeks.

Questioned about this in court, Mr Adams replied: "Was he living with me? I have no recollection of him living with me for six weeks."

The Sinn Fein president has faced accusations that the only reason he eventually made a statement to police about his paedophile brother was to "save his own political skin".

Aine Dahlstrom has fought for justice for over a quarter of a century.

Along with her mother Sally, she reported her father's abuse to the RUC in 1987 as a 14-year-old but withdrew the complaint after police tried to recruit them as informers, she told the court.

In 2006, she returned to the police as an adult and asked for the case to be reopened.

Liam Adams was extradited from the Republic in 2011.

Last month, a jury convicted him of raping and abusing Aine by an 11-1 majority verdict.

Yesterday's sentencing hearing was another step towards closure in the prolonged saga that Ms Dahlstrom has had to endure for more than 25 years.

Irish Independent

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