Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams actively canvassed for the party in the general election of 1997 with his suspected paedophile brother Liam – in a period he claims they were estranged.
Today we publish photographs showing Gerry and Liam Adams canvassing side-by-side for Sinn Féin in Dundalk at a date when Gerry Adams insists his brother had been expelled from the party.
Liam Adams, who is wanted by the PSNI on charges that he repeatedly raped his daughter Aine from the age of four, is seen canvassing in a shopping centre and Dundalk streets and laughing with his brother Gerry, just days before the 6 June 1997 Dáil election.
A Co Louth republican said: "I'm horrified that, 10 years after Gerry Adams was told his brother was a child rapist, he accompanied him through the streets of Dundalk, meeting women and children. We are all shocked Liam Adams was allowed to be in Sinn Féin so long. We are disgusted at Gerry Adams's cover-up."
Last week, the Sunday Tribune reported that Liam Adams had put himself forward as a nominee for the Sinn Féin 1997 Dáil candidacy in Louth. At a selection convention, he saw he didn't garner enough support and publicly withdrew. The candidacy was secured by hardline republican, Owenie Hanratty.
Commenting on this newspaper's report, Gerry Adams said: "When I heard Liam was in Sinn Féin, and when I heard somebody was putting it about that perhaps he would be a candidate, I moved immediately both to stop that and get him dumped out of Sinn Féin ... I moved very, very quickly."
But far from being "dumped", Liam Adams remained fully active in the party with his brother's endorsement months later. By accompanying Liam Adams on the canvass for Hanratty, the Sinn Féin president effectively promoted his brother in the eyes of the local party and community.
Gerry Adams happily posed with Liam – along with Owenie Hanratty and Hanratty's wife Marie and election agent Fra Browne – for the Dundalk Argus newspaper. The photo-graph, taken days earlier, appeared in the paper on 6 June 1997. Bar Gerry Adams, no-one else in the photograph knew Liam Adams was a suspected paedophile.
During the canvass, Liam Adams proudly sported a Sinn Féin badge. The Sunday Tribune has been told Gerry Adams regularly visited his brother's home in Muirhevnamor and stayed overnight at a time when he claimed to he was "estranged" from him.
Liam Adams handed himself into Sligo gardaí last week, but wasn't arrested because the PSNI hadn't prepared an extradition warrant. He has denied raping Aine.
Sinn Féin claims that Liam Adams played a short, minor role in the party are strongly challenged by many republicans. One said: "Liam was active in Sinn Féin in Dundalk for at least seven years. He was synonymous with the party's name here. He was seen as an asset to Sinn Féin and the community.
"He breathed new life into the Muirhevnamor cumann. He set up many community schemes. He was the Dundalk face of Gerry Adams. He was always referring to his brother saying 'Our fellow says this ...' and 'Our fellow's in the know on that'."
The source said Liam Adams's loyalty was "first and foremost to Gerry rather than to the republican movement" which sometimes caused clashes with local republicans: "He constantly promoted the Belfast leadership's position which didn't go down well. But he was a nice guy who was well-liked.
"After one heated meeting on the Mitchell principles (of peace and non-violence), he went for a pint afterwards with those he'd rowed with." The source said Liam Adams attended hundreds of Sinn Féin meetings, nearly all of which were minuted. He said Liam Adams left Dundalk "still a member of Sinn Féin" in August 1998.
Bizarrely, Liam Adams is quoted in the Irish Independent in July 1998 as a "youth community leader" in Dundalk talking about a "very well organised" paedophile ring which may have links in Donegal. Liam Adams previously lived in Donegal.
Another source said Liam Adams set up homework clubs for children.