Mary Lou McDonald rejects church abuse parallel
Sinn Fein deputy defends Adams's handling of abuse claims
SINN Fein's deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald and the party's Dublin MEP Lynn Boylan have rejected comparisons between the Catholic Church and the party over its handling of the Liam Adams sex abuse scandal.
Speaking in Dublin yesterday to the Sunday Independent, Ms McDonald and Ms Boylan defended their leader Gerry Adams's handling of the abuse claims.
Mr Adams was severely criticised for not informing authorities for several years despite knowing about the claims involving his brother Liam and his niece Aine.
Ms McDonald said comparisons between the party and the Catholic Church were "malicious".
"I don't accept them at all, at all. In the Catholic Church what you saw was an orchestrated campaign of cover-up and concealment. A form of bullying of very young victims," she said.
"That is not the case here. The case of Gerry's brother Liam was catastrophic for that family, for Aine in particular. He has now faced trial. Gerry was a witness in that trial against his brother. Liam Adams is now in prison."
She added: "I think it is wrong, far-fetched at best, malicious at worst, to suggest there are parallels between Sinn Fein and the Catholic Church. Gerry at every stage did the best that he could in the context of that scenario."
When asked for her views, Ms Boylan said she agreed with Ms McDonald's comments.
"I think what Mary Lou has said has summed it up. It is a tragedy for the family and I am happy that Aine finally has gotten the justice she deserves," Ms Boylan said.
Asked for her assessment as to the impact of Gerry Adams's arrest and detention by the PSNI on the Sinn Fein vote, Ms McDonald conceded the event was "not good" for the party.
"It's not good for us or anyone that a party leader is arrested and detained in the teeth of an election campaign," she said.
However, Ms McDonald reiterated her belief that a small element within the security services in the North acted in a way that posed a threat to the peace process.
"It's certainly not good for us that any element in the security services are acting in a way that could bring danger to the peace process," Ms McDonald told the Sunday Independent.