Sinn FÉin president Gerry Adams has disclosed that his suspected paedophile brother Liam was a treasurer for the party in west Belfast and was a "joint signatory" on the Lower Andersonstown cumann cheque book.
The revelation came in response to 25 questions posed to Gerry Adams by the Sunday Tribune. The Sinn Féin president also revealed that Liam had been a party member in Donegal in the mid-1980s and while he hadn't been a member of (Dublin) Sinn Féin, he had attended "republican events" in the city.
Gerry Adams answered some of our questions with varying degrees of detail, and declined to answer other questions. He said Liam had been a member of Dundalk Sinn Féin "for a period in the 1990s" but didn't specify how long. He said Liam had been a Sinn Féin member in West Belfast "for a number of years". Asked if Liam attended ard fheisanna as a delegate and if so when, Adams replied: "We don't know. Party records only go back to 1997. He was not a delegate after that date."
Asked if Liam spoke at ard fheiseanna and if so when and on what subjects, Adams replied: "We do not keep records of each individual contributions at ard fheiseanna".
Gerry Adams denied that he had broken Sinn Féin's constitution by not informing the ard chomhairle of the sexual-abuse allegations against his brother. "This is not in the constitution nor is it accurate," he said.
However, the Sunday Tribune has a copy of the Sinn Féin constitution at the time Liam Adams was active in the party and Gerry Adams was aware of allegations his brother had repeatedly raped his daughter. The constitution states: "Where allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault are made, they should be referred directly to an ard chomhairle."
Gerry Adams told the Sunday Tribune he became aware of Liam's involvement in the party "in 1997 when I heard he was thinking of putting his name forward as a candidate". Adams said he "blocked that and moved to get [Liam] to withdraw from the party".
Facts already in the public domain completely contradict that account. The Dundalk Democrat and Argus newspapers both reported Liam Adams' interest in the Sinn Féin nomination in October 1996.
The selection convention, chaired by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, was held in the Imperial Hotel later that month. There is no suggestion that Ó Caoláin knew about Liam Adams alleged abuse of his daughter. Adams was not "blocked" by his brother from the nomination. He withdrew his name at the convention because he saw from the make-up of the crowd he couldn't win.
At the convention, the nomination was secured by local veteran republican, Owenie Hanratty. So by 1997, Hanratty was already the Sinn Féin candidate.
The Sunday Tribune asked Gerry Adams if it was appropriate that he went canvassing with Liam in the June 1997 Dáil election campaign, 10 years after he believed his brother to be a paedophile.
He didn't answer the question about the appropriateness of his own behaviour.
Instead, he replied he "did not think it was appropriate" for Liam to have been canvassing "and I told him so afterwards". We asked who had nominated and seconded Liam Adams for chairman of the Louth comhairle ceantair. Gerry Adams replied: "We have no record containing that information."
He said Liam was the chairman for two-and-a-half months. He revealed Liam had held the position of secretary for a month and was nominated as education officer but didn't take up that position.
According to Sinn Féin's constitution, the comhairle ceantair liaise with Sinn Féin head office. We asked Gerry Adams with whom Liam liaised. "We have no record of any contact between Liam Adams and the party's head office," he replied.
Asked if Liam was ever in Leinster House as a guest of a Sinn Féin politician, Gerry Adams said the party had "no record of any such visit".
Asked why he attended Liam's second wedding in Dundalk, where he was photographed smiling and wearing a Saoirse ribbon, and also why he attended the christening of Liam's child, Gerry Adams replied: "For me not to have participated in significant family events for him would have raised questions and risked breaking the confidences I had given. It would also have hurt other members of the family."
We asked Gerry Adams to produce his correspondence to youth projects where Liam had worked, warning them of his brother, or to name those he had spoken to in the projects.
Regarding Clonard youth centre where Liam was based five years, Gerry Adams said he "tried to get [Liam] to leave and when he wouldn't. I ensured the authorities in Clonard were made aware of the allegation." He didn't produce any correspondence or name those he had spoken to.
Gerry Adams also said his approach to dealing with his suspected paedophile brother was "guided by professional advice". We asked him who had provided the professional advice. He declined to answer.
Adams said that the PSNI had written to him as a witness in the case of his niece and explicitly advised him to refrain from speaking to the media about the case as it could possibly prejudice any future trial. He said he had shown the questions submitted to him to his solicitor Seamus Collins of PJ McGrory & Co who agreed with the PSNI advice.