Áine Tyrell: said she never once demanded that Gerry Adams protect her anonymity

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams is lying when he says he couldn't tell party colleagues that his brother Liam was a suspected paedophile because his niece had demanded he protect her anonymity, Áine Tyrell has said.

In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Tribune, Tyrell was scathing of both the Sinn Féin president and the PSNI over their handling of her case. She said: "I didn't know Liam was in Sinn Féin but had Gerry bothered to tell me, I would have waived my anonymity without hesitation.

"I'd have accompanied Gerry to meet his colleagues in Sinn Féin, to talk to the ard comhairle about what Liam had done so they could expel him from the party. But Gerry never gave me that option."

Tyrell said she never once demanded that Adams protect her anonymity and that she had unsuccessfully asked him many times to address the issue of Liam working with youth projects in west Belfast.

"I said I was very concerned that Liam was seeking jobs working with children. Gerry told me that was Liam's way of trying to make up to the community for what he'd done to me."

Tyrell said she had heard her father was a youth worker in west Belfast but didn't know where. At one stage she was so desperate she thought of handing out leaflets in the street warning parents. Gerry Adams said he spoke to Clonard youth centre about his brother but Áine said when she later spoke to Clonard they had no record of that.

Tyrell criticised the PSNI: "Given the length of time involved in bringing Liam to justice, I heavily suspect political involvement in the case." Liam Adams is currently wanted in the north on charges relating to the repeated rape of Áine from the age of four.

He walked into Sligo garda station on Monday 21 December last year but was released hours later because a PSNI European arrest warrant wasn't ready. Tyrell said: "On Monday, when I didn't know Liam was in Sligo garda station, the PSNI had told me this warrant was in place.

"When I spoke to a police officer on Tuesday, they didn't even know Liam had been in Sligo and had been able to walk free. I had to tell the officer that information. I was horrified the warrant hadn't been ready and he was back on the streets."

Tyrell said the PSNI didn't seek to interview her until eight months after she asked them to re-open the case. She revealed that when her father didn't turn up for his first court appearance, police refused her request to release a photofit of him to the media saying "it would look like a witch-hunt".

Tyrell's uncle, ex-IRA prisoner Bob Corrigan, called on Gerry Adams to step down from politics. "He should resign all three positions he holds – Sinn Féin president, Belfast West MP, and Assembly member. He has failed in his responsibilities as both a public representative and as an uncle. I don't say this lightly. I'm a former republican prisoner who spent 10 years in Long Kesh."

Tyrell expressed anger that "Mary Lou McDonald and other Sinn Féin politicians" constantly referred to her when quizzed on the party's failings by the media. She questioned the sincerity of their sympathy and added: "I want them to stop using my name."