Monday 16 December 2019

Key issue is whether voters still believe Adams

Fionnan Sheahan has appointed Group Political Editor
Fionnan Sheahan has appointed Group Political Editor

Fionnan Sheahan

GERRY Adams's interaction with the PSNI about past crimes continues to raise more questions than answers.

The Sinn Fein president claimed in recent weeks that his arrest in the investigation into the murder of Jean McConville was politically motivated.

Leaping unreservedly to its leader's defence, the Sinn Fein machine even cast doubt over its continued support of the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

But now the Police Ombudsman in Northern Ireland is investigating a complaint that Mr Adams was briefed by police about details of the case against his paedophile brother before the trial. The complaint was made within the past few weeks. If upheld, it will likely form part of Liam Adams's appeal against his conviction.

In a separate complaint made after the case, the Police Ombudsman is investigating if detectives properly examined whether Gerry Adams covered up the crimes by not telling police that Liam Adams had confessed to child sex abuse.

Liam Adams was found guilty last year of a string of attacks on his daughter, Aine Dahlstrom, when she was aged between four and nine in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Gerry Adams had to explain why he did not alert the authorities to the abuse allegations when he initially learned of them – nine years before he talked to the police.

And the investigation also resulted in suggestions that as far back as 1987 the Sinn Fein president was aware of the abuse allegation against his brother.

Once again, Gerry Adams is ducking for cover on questions.

Sinn Fein characterise any criticism of their leader's lack of candour as being politically motivated. But it expects the public to accept Gerry Adams's word that he acted in his family's best interests when he has proven to be far from credible on life and death issues.

Sinn Fein has the audacity to call for a truth and reconciliation commission, when its own leader fails to display any desire to engage with such concepts.

Gerry Adams has no intention of truthfully answering the following key questions:

* Were you a member of the IRA?

* Were you involved in the abduction and murder of Belfast mother-of-10 Jean McConville?

* Why did you wait for nine years to report to the police that your niece was sexually assaulted by your brother?

And, yes, this is a political matter. Gerry Adams and his party go before the electorate seeking a mandate on the basis of the commitments they make to the voters.

His Sinn Fein colleagues continually back him as a leader of integrity, upholding their party's principles.

As long as the voters cannot be realistically expected to believe Gerry Adams utterances on his past, they cannot have faith in his party's pledges for the future.

Irish Independent

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