Sunday 25 March 2018

The Gerry Adams controversies

Mairia Cahill. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Mairia Cahill. Photo: Gerry Mooney Newsdesk Newsdesk

For decades, Gerry Adams was at the centre of The Troubles in Northern Ireland, carrying coffins of IRA bombers and defending what he saw as a war.

After moving to Louth in 2011 to run for the Dáil, he sought to become a more respectable face for the party, but time and again he landed himself in controversy. Kevin Doyle recalls five such occasions:

Allegation of withholding information in rape case

In 2000, Adams found out that his brother Liam had abused his niece Áine over six years but it wasn't until 2007 that the Sinn Féin president engaged with police.

Two years ago, Liam Adams was jailed for 16 years for rape and abuse. The DPP in Northern Ireland carried out a review as to whether Mr Adams should be charged with withholding information, but eventually decided that he should not be prosecuted.

Arrest in relation to murder

In April last year, Gerry Adams was arrested by detectives investigating the murder of mother-of-10 Jean McConville. The widow was abducted, shot dead and buried at a Co Louth beach in 1972. Mr Adams was questioned for four days before being released without charge. Sinn Féin made accusations of political policing.

'Hold the editor at gunpoint' joke

At a dinner in New York in November 2014, the Louth TD joked about a gun being placed to the head of the editor of the Irish Independent in the 1920s.

The comments sparked outrage in media circles, especially as two journalists from the Independent group were previously murdered for their work.

Mairia Cahill

When Mairia Cahill (inset) told her story of rape and being subjected to an IRA kangaroo court to BBC's 'Spotlight' programme in October 2014, Sinn Féin set out to discredit her. Gerry Adams denied any kangaroo court was held. Later he claimed the abuse was carried about by her uncle, saying "most abuse happens in families". Ms Cahill pointed out that her alleged abuser, Martin Morris, was not a blood relative.


Earlier this year a report by the PSNI and MI5 concluded that the structures of the PIRA remain in existence and that the Army Council oversees Sinn Féin with an overarching strategy. Members of the PIRA have been directed to support Sinn Féin, including electioneering. Adams called the report "a serious piece of mischief-making".

Irish Independent

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