Sein Fein leader Gerry Adams in Ireland: My father sexually abused children in his own family
21st December 2009
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has revealed his father sexually abused children in his family.
The admission came in a radio broadcast yesterday, just hours after it emerged his younger brother Liam is wanted for child sex offences.
Adams said he had known of his father's crimes for more than a decade.
Six years ago the Sinn Fein president ensured that Gerry Adams senior was accorded a republican hero's funeral after his death aged 77.
Adams told how his father, who had 13 children, engaged in 'the psychological and emotional and physical and sexual abuse of a child, of his child'.
Last night it was claimed Adams senior had been nicknamed 'The Dirty Wee Man' and 'The Babysitter'.
The IRA endorsed punishment beatings and 'knee- cappings' of petty criminals and sex offenders, yet questions are being asked about why members of the Adams family were apparently let off the hook.
One critic, speaking anonymously, said last night: 'Adams's father got a full, republican funeral.
The fact this was allowed to happen shows they were all protecting him, right up until the end - and protecting Gerry's career in the movement and his position of power as an MP, nothing else.'
The extraordinary turn of events began when it was revealed Adams's brother Liam, in his 50s, had been accused by his daughter Aine Tyrell, 36, of sexually abusing her from the age of four.
She first made the allegations in 1987 when she was 14 and has now waived her anonymity to make them in public - and to complain Adams has not given her the support she deserves in seeking justice.
Adams claimed he had believed his niece's allegations from the beginning and said he had not seen his brother for 15 years until a series of meetings between 2002 and 2007.
He has now urged Liam, who disappeared after failing to attend a Belfast court hearing more than a year ago, to come forward and meet police about 23 charges of abuse.
Adams said: 'In the late 1990s we discovered that our father had been sexually, emotionally and physically abusing members of our family. This abuse happened over many years. This discovery and the abuse which preceded it have had a devastating impact on our entire family.
'We are still struggling to come to terms with what happened. Our family have debated for some time whether we should publicise our father's abusive behaviour.'
Gerry Adams senior was in the vanguard of the republican movement and in 1942, at the age of 16, shot a Belfast policeman before being shot himself and jailed for eight years.
He later helped his son gain prominence in the movement.