ANALYSIS: What did Gerry Adams know about multiple instances of child abuse?

Lunchtime's Paddy McDonnell examines the evidence

ANALYSIS: What did Gerry Adams know about multiple instances of child abuse?

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams | Photocall file photo

Gerry Adams has refuted claims that Sinn Féin “is holding back information” in relation to cases of sexual abuse. Mr Adams also rejected allegations that the party has investigated cases of sexual abuse.

In a statement released last night, the Sinn Féin president said the party “strongly refutes a claim that was made in the Dáil today and in some sections of the media, that the party has investigated cases of sexual abuse."

He has also stated in the past that he handed over all information to the Gardaí.

What have Gerry Adams and Sinn Fein said about abuse in the past?

This is what Gerry Adams said in the Dail debate on the Mairia Cahill abuse case last November:

This is what Gerry Adams urged, for anybody with information to bring it forward.

What happened in the case of Paudie McGahon?

Paudie McGahon and another victim were brought to a kangaroo court where he was told not to tell anybody about what had happened.  Given the choice to have his abuser killed, to do what he wanted in a room with him, or to have him sent from the country, Paudie and the other victim chose the third option.

Then in 2009 Paudie saw his abuser back in Louth, only ten miles away from his home.   Given the man abused Paudie and another minor, there would have been concerns he could offend again.

When does Gerry Adams claim he found out about what happened Paudie?

Gerry Adams says he was briefed by Arthur Morgan in 2009. 

However, there is another instance of Gerry Adams being aware of an abuser who stayed in Louth.

Gerry Adams was elected as Sinn Fein TD for Louth in 2011, but when he was a politician in West Belfast, his brother Liam Adams, a former Sinn Fein member, admitted he had abused his daughter, and Gerry’s neice, Aine.

This is at least the second time that we suspect Gerry Adams was aware of an alleged paedophile in Louth.

We have studied evidence given by Gerry Asams which says that in 2000, when Liam and himself were walking around in the rain in Dundalk, Liam confessed to interfering with his daughter.  Gerry says ‘I asked what did he mean.’  Gerry says Liam admitted ‘he sexually molested, assaulted her’.   

Is there evidence to suggest Liam Adams had been working with young people?

He worked across four youth clubs for up to six years, from 1998 through to 2004.  He worked in Clonard Monastry Youth Club in Belfast, The House and Cox’s Demesne Community Centre in Dundalk, and The Blackie Centre in Beechmount, Belfast.  So he worked with minors for at least four years after Liam made his admission to Gerry Adams.

In court, Gerry says he "raised the issue about him working with young people in Dundalk and he, you might need to advise me on this as well, your honour, he told me that he was working with young people...I think they were in their mid to late teens".

Why did Liam Adams stop working in in youth clubs?

This is a bone of contention.  Gerry Adams claims he persuaded Liam to leave The Blackie because, to quote Gerry,  "Aine was increasingly disappointed and agitated at the failure of our process.  I think the telling point with Liam was when I said to him ‘Aine is really disturbed that you were working in Clonard and really disturbed now that you are working in the Blackie and you need to just back away with it’".  He said "I had pleaded with him in my own way, but this was, I thought, the tipping point in his decision to leave".

Was Gerry aware that Liam worked with young people in Dundalk?

Gerry Adams was asked by the Dundalk Democrat in 2013 whether he was aware that Liam worked with young people in Dundalk after his confession in 2000. 

Gerry Adams responded "yes, I was".  So Gerry Adams was aware in 2000 that the man who abused his neice was working with minors in Dundalk, and didn’t tell Gardai in the Republic of Ireland.

Do we have any record of Gerry Adams telling Gardai about Liam Adams, working with minors in the Republic?

No, but in 2007 Gerry Adams became aware of allegations of rape and oral sex against Liam.   He was previously aware of allegations of sexual interference as we know.  Gerry said he would support Aine Adams if she chose to go to the police.

Following contact between the PSNI and Gerry Adams’ solicitor, Gerry made a statement to the police but failed to mention the 2000 admission by Liam that he abused Aine.

However, two years and four months after his initial statement to the PSNI, and when a programme was being made with allegations from Aine Adams, Gerry asked his solicitor to make contact with the PSNI.  Gerry was interviewed by the PSNI and then mentioned Liam’s 2000 admission.   

During cross examination Gerry was accused by Eilish Mc McDermott of withholding the 2000 admission.  She said "I suggested to you that the reason that you went to the police on the 21st October 2009 was because you knew that the question of your withholding information was going to become the subject of public debate?"  To which Gerry responded: "I didn’t know that and the issue of me engaging with the police, I engaged with the police after Aine engaged with the police."

So what might Gerry Adams have known?

He knew his brother, former Sinn Fein member Liam was working with youths in Dundalk after he had admitted to abusing his daughter, Gerry’s niece Aine.  

In 2009 he also became aware of a man who abused two minors in Louth. Gerry Adams says he got a dossier of about 30 names of alleged IRA abusers posted to a letterbox in his home in November 2014, after the Mairia Cahill case, which Gerry Adams was aware of, and brought these names to the Gardai.  

Gerry Adams said in a statement last night "I refute the claim that Sinn Fein is holding back information.  There is no rationale or logic to this.  I want all of these issues dealt with.  If individuals have information they should bring it forward."

Bryan Dobson asked Gerry Adams why he didn’t tell Gardai about the man who was alleged to have abused Paudie McGahon: 

What was the Sinn Féin policy in 2002?

And finally, we looked into what Sinn Fein policy was in 2002, when Paudie McGahon went to Sinn Fein’s Louth County Councillor Pearse McGeough about his abuser.

In 2002, the Gardai were not notified of the abuse of Paudie McGahon and another victim who was abused as a minor, and there followed an IRA kangaroo court where Paudie McGahon and that other victim was told not to tell anybody about what happened him.

I’ve been studying Sinn Fein’s 2002 election manifesto which Gerry Adams launched in May of that year. Under the heading ‘Rights to Children’ it reads "All those involved in such abuse must be charged, prosecuted.  Those who were involved in the covering up of or deliberate neglect of children in their care must also be made accountable for this fundamental denial of an individual’s right to safety and well-being, both physical and mental."

Neither Pearse McGeough in 2002, nor Arthur Morgan or Gerry Adams in 2009 went to the Gardai about the two boys who were abused in Louth. 

The question here is why were the Gardai not alerted about various abusers in the Republic, to prevent further abuse taking place. According to a 2007 paper by Ryan and Richard Hall, the reported recidivism rate for paedophiles is between 10 and 50%, but they believe that number to be higher in reality.