FF leader accuses SF and Gerry Adams of child sex abuse cover-up
FIANNA Fail leader Micheal Martin says a series of cases of abuse were covered up by the Republican movement of Sinn Fein and the IRA.
He was speaking in the wake of the sentencing of Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams's brother, Liam Adams, to 16 years for the abuse of his daughter.
Mr Martin said other cases were dealt with "internally" by the Provisional movement. He said Mr Adams, Sinn Fein and the Republican movement had questions to answer.
"This may have been a broader trend within the Republican movement," he said.
Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein became embroiled in bitter exchanges last night over Mr Adams's level of action on abuse allegations.
Sinn Fein deputy leader Mary-Lou McDonald said Mr Martin's remarks were "disgraceful and totally untrue".
Gerry Adams' niece, Aine Dahlstrom, welcomed the 16-year jail sentence handed down to her sex abuser father, but insisted it was still too little, too late.
Liam Adams, the younger brother of the Republican leader, was told by a judge he had committed the greatest breach of trust imaginable when he raped and sexually abused his daughter when she was a child.
But the 58-year-old, from west Belfast, showed no visible sign of remorse as Judge Corinne Philpott passed sentence in Belfast Crown Court, shaking his head occasionally during the hearing and then smiling and laughing as he was led from the dock.
The former youth worker was found guilty last month of a string of vile sexual assaults on his daughter when she was aged between four and nine in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
The abuse was committed between 1977 and 1981. In later years he went on to work in a number of youth centres in the North and the Republic of Ireland.
As his crimes were perpetrated at a time when offenders in the North were still eligible for 50pc remission on jail terms -- a policy that has since been reformed -- Adams is set to be released after he spends eight years behind bars.
After the sentence was passed, Mrs Dahlstrom, in a statement released through her solicitor, expressed her "absolute relief that this nightmare seems at last to be coming to an end".
"She welcomes the jury's findings of guilt, the sentence as imposed by the learned judge and has asked us to emphasise that all she ever sought was an acknowledgement of the many wrongs done against her.
"It is still much too little, too late."
Following the sentencing, Mr Martin compared the Republican movement to the Catholic Church in the way cases of abuse were covered up and not reported to the authorities.
The Fianna Fail leader said Gerry Adams still has questions to answer about the failure to report the abuse by his brother.
Mr Martin said the length of time it took to report Liam Adams to the authorities was "far too long". He said the fact Liam Adams was allowed to work in a variety of centres involving young people was "not tenable and not acceptable".
"I would also say that from information that we have picked up and we have talked to other people, that this may have been a broader trend within the Republican movement.
"Just like the church, the Republican movement say the institution of the Republican movement is more important than individual victims," he said.
Ms McDonald said Mr Martin was trying to use a traumatic case to try and score political points.