Over the weekend, the scandal broke out relating to Gerry Adams and his family. Adam’s niece was sexually abused by Adam’s brother Liam Adams. Gerry Adams was told of the abuse by his niece in 1987. He says that he believed her and confronted his brother. Subsequently, Liam Adams has been allowed to continue as an activist within Sinn Fein. In particular, he was a youth project worker. At one time, he sought the nomination for a seat in the Dáil.
Presumably, Liam Adams would have had access to young people in the course of his appointment as youth project worker. It is very unlikely that Liam Adams could have pursued his party activities without the knowledge of his brother.
Regardless of the actual truth of Gerry Adams’ complicity in his brother’s political activities, Northern Ireland politicians will now be trying to work out what the political fallout will be.
Gerry Adams is unlikely to survive the scandal. For all the admiration held within the Republican movement by his followers, once it becomes accepted that Sinn Fein is in danger of the political equivalent of Armageddon, he will be persuaded to step down as President at the earliest opportunity.
There is no obvious successor to Gerry Adams at the moment. Mary Lou McDonald, it appears, was being groomed for that role. She lost her MEP seat at the last Euro election. It may be that the succession is not Sinn Fein’s immediate problem.
The scandal is bound to affect the dynamic between Sinn Fein and the DUP over policing and Justice. Sinn Fein will now certainly not want to face an assembly election. The DUP will know that. Peter Robinson may now feel that he can afford to call Martin McGuiness’s bluff. A fudged compromise that will allow the Executive to continue without Peter Robinson giving ground is now likely.
The BBC has published a chronology on what is known so far. As the facts of the story crystalise, the questions appear. The most difficult questions for Adams relate to the period between 1997 and 2003. When his brother became a youth worker in West Belfast in 1998, Adams says that he informed the authorities at Clonard (presumably social services) who say they have no record. Adams may also be asked what the authorities said in response to the disclosure. One would imagine that such a disclosure would be unlikely to be forgotten, given the prominence of this family. Adams may also be asked why he did not query the actions of the authorities after knowing that his brother continued in employment as a youth worker.
Filed under: DUP, Gerry Adams, Peter Robinson, Police and Justice, Power Sharing, Sinn Fein Tagged: | DUP, Gerry Adams, Martin McGuiness, Northern ireland, Peter Robinson, Police and Justice, Power Sharing, Sinn Fein