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04 May 2014
Gerry Adams, Madge McConville and former PIRA chief of staff Joe Cahill
Pat McGeown photographed beside Gerry Adams.
THIS is Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams with two members of the gang that dragged Jean McConville from her screaming children to be brutally beaten, murdered and disappeared.
Madge McConville (no relation to Jean) was the head of the women’s wing of the IRA in the lower Falls Road area at the time the widowed mother of 10 was murdered. She died in May 2009 and was eulogised by Sinn Fein as representing “what republicanism was about and … the embodiment of our history”.
The photograph was taken in January 2000 at a ceremony to mark the re-burial of Belfast IRA man Tom Williams, who was hanged in 1942 for the murder of RUC constable Patrick Murphy. Williams had been buried in the grounds of Crumlin Road Prison in Belfast after his execution. He was disinterred and re-buried in west Belfast, with Adams and Madge McConville as lead mourners.
In the other photo, Adams is alongside Pat McGeown who was also part of the gang that abducted Mrs McConville.
McGeown, who died in October 1996, was a 17-year-old member of the junior wing of the IRA at the time. He subsequently became a Sinn Fein councillor in Belfast.
McGeown and Adams are together with a group of Sinn Fein leaders after the count in the May 1996 elections to the Northern Ireland Peace Forum. Adams and McGeown were close associates and shared the same prison hut in the Long Kesh internment camp outside Belfast in the early Seventies.
Republican sources in west Belfast say it was the 17-year-old McGeown who shot Mrs McConville through the back of the head as she knelt in front of her burial site on Sheeling Beach in Co Louth.
On his death the Sinn Fein newspaper An Phoblacht reported McGeown “was a political prisoner in the infamous Cage 11 along with such notables as Gerry Adams and Brendan Hughes”.
Brendan Hughes was the first IRA man to publicly name Gerry Adams as his “officer commanding”, alleging that he was the one who gave the order for Mrs McConville’s murder and disappearance. Adams continues to deny this.
McGeown was one of the republican hunger strikers in the Maze Prison in 1981 and spent 47 days without food before it was called off. His period of starvation led to ill-health and his early death at the age of 44 from a heart attack. After his death, Sinn Fein launched a community endeavour award in his name and Adams described him as “a modest man with a quiet, but total dedication to equality and raising the standard of life for all the people of the city”.
Madge McConville was given the job of stopping young women fraternising with the British soldiers who were initially welcomed by Catholics after they stopped the invasions by loyalists mobs in the area.
The soldiers held discos in a factory they had commandeered as a barracks. Young Catholic women who were identified as attending the discos were abducted and beaten up. Several were also tied to lamp posts, their heads shaven, and covered in black paint and feathers in the same way French women deemed collaborators with the Nazis were tarred and feathered after the Allied invasion.
A decision was made not to kill any of the young Catholic women, many of whom were driven out of the area, because of their local family connections. But according to local sources, Mrs McConville was sentenced to death because she was a Protestant who had married a Catholic, Arthur, who had died in 1971 leaving her alone to bring up their 10 children. She had no family connections in the Falls area.
Mrs McConville was allegedly targeted because she gave a cup of water to a soldier who had been injured outside her maisonette in the Divis complex in the lower Falls. A gang of up to 20 male and female IRA members abducted and murdered her.
The intention of the IRA leadership was to ensure that there was no relationship between the local community and the soldiers or police. The tarring and featherings and finally the murder of Mrs McConville ensured this.
Michael McConville says he took Sinn Féin president warning of backlash if he disclosed suspects’ identities as a threat
5 May 2014
A son of IRA murder victim Jean McConville has said Gerry Adams warned of a “backlash” if he released the names of those he believed were responsible.
Michael McConville said his family’s fight for justice would go on after the Sinn Féin president was freed, but maintained he could be shot if he disclosed the identities of suspects to police.
Adams, 65, was released from Antrim police station, pending a report being sent to prosecutors, after four days of questioning about the notorious 1972 killing of McConville and other alleged links with the IRA.
McConville told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Gerry Adams says to me, ‘Michael, you are getting a letter of support from the republican people’. He says, ‘if you release the names I hope you are ready for the backlash’.
“I took it as a threat.”
Adams has vehemently rejected allegations made by former republican colleagues that he ordered the mother of 10’s abduction and killing – denials he repeated on Sunday night.
The decision whether to charge him with any offence will be made by the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) at a later date after reviewing evidence presented by police.
McConville alleged the “threat” was made at about the time a report being drawn up by Northern Ireland’s then police ombudsman, Nuala O’Loan, into claims that his mother was an informer was close to being finalised.
The Sinn Féin president had brokered a series of meetings between him and members of the IRA. McConville said he used to tell Adams what had happened in the meetings and warned him that he would release the names of those involved if O’Loan’s report was disputed. At that point he said the backlash was mentioned.
McConville said that “could” have meant a backlash against the peace process but said he took it to mean the “backlash from republican people”.
Adams will refocus on election campaigning on Monday as the political fallout from his release from police custody continues to reverberate around Stormont and beyond.
Sinn Féin is holding a European election rally in Belfast on Monday, with a similar event planned in Dublin on Tuesday, as Adams resumes the canvassing activities he claims his detention was designed to thwart.
The rapturous welcome Adams received in a west Belfast hotel on his first public appearance after his release was in marked contrast to the angry scenes outside the police station as loyalists protested at the decision to free him.
There was disorder in the loyalist Sandy Row area of Belfast, with petrol bombs and stones thrown, though no one was injured.
The former MP for west Belfast and now representative for County Louth in the Irish dail criticised the police’s handling of his arrest but moved to dispel any suggestion that Sinn Féin’s commitment to policing had wavered in the wake of the affair.
Adams’s arrest on Wednesday triggered a bitter political row at Stormont, with Sinn Féin accusing an “anti-peace process rump” within the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) of orchestrating the detention with the aim of damaging the party ahead of European and local government elections later this month.
This was angrily rejected by political rivals, whose fury intensified when senior Sinn Féin figures indicated that their support for the police – a critical plank in the peace process – would be “reviewed” if Adams was charged.
The Democratic Unionist Stormont first minister, Peter Robinson, denounced the remarks as “bullyboy” tactics.
Downing Street confirmed that the prime minister, David Cameron, and the Irish taoiseach, Enda Kenny, spoke on Sunday to discuss the situation surrounding Adams’s arrest.
Adams questioned the timing of his detention and said police had unnecessarily used “coercive” legislation to detain and question him.
Now that Mr Adams is out and about again, you may want to read these interesting articles by Ed Moloney:
Sinn Fein support for police under question as president to be held over the weekend
2 May 2014
A new mural of Gerry Adams is being painted on Belfast’s Falls Road with the slogan ‘Peacemaker, leader, visionary’
PSNI have been granted an extra 48 hours to question Gerry Adams over the murder and abduction of Jean McConville.
Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly has reacted angrily to the news.
He said: “The arrest and continued detention of Gerry Adams is deliberately timed to coincide with the elections in three weeks time.
“This is political policing at its most blatant.
“Sinn Fein will not be intimidated by the action of a small cabal in the PSNI who are opposed to the peace process and political change.”
Sinn Fein support for the police appears under threat as detectives continued to quiz Adams about the murder of the mother-of-10.
Martin McGuinness warned that the party will “reflect” on its support for the PSNI if Gerry Adams is charged with any offences arising out of his arrest on Wednesday by officers investigating the 1972 murder.
The Stormont Deputy First Minister and Sinn Fein veteran said he and colleagues would not be making a “knee-jerk” decision. And he raised the spectre of what would be a huge blow to the peace process in the region as he said it was his understanding police were applying to a judge to extend the period of time they can question Mr Adams at Antrim police station.
Asked if Sinn Fein would withdraw support for policing if Mr Adams is ultimately charged, Mr McGuinness said: “We are very thoughtful and we are very reflective but I think if such a scenario does develop then we will sit down and we will reflect on what will be an even more serious situation than the one we face today.”
With the initial 48-hour deadline looming for officers to either charge or release Mr Adams after his arrest on Wednesday night, the PSNI applied for an extension, the Deputy First Minister confirmed.
Adams, 65, vehemently denies allegations levelled by former republican colleagues that he ordered Mrs McConville’s murder and secret burial in 1972.
Sinn Féin leader says former friend Brendan Hughes was hostile to him over peace process
2 May 2014
Former IRA man Brendan “The Dark” Hughes, in Long Kesh prison with then best friend Gerry Adams. (Photograph: Photopress)
Some 3,600 people died in the Troubles. Many thousands more were maimed, injured and bereaved. Yet the circumstances of the murder of Jean McConville can still leave a cold feeling in the pit of one’s stomach.
She was a 37-year-old woman, a Protestant widow who had been married to a Catholic, and was the mother of 10 children who were left orphaned and desolate.
The campaign to recover her body, which was finally found on Shelling Hill beach in Co Louth in 2003, led to the creation of a North-South commission to locate the bodies of 17 people known to have been “disappeared”. So far 10 bodies have been recovered.
The so-called “Boston tapes”, potentially, are why Gerry Adams is being questioned for involvement in the December 1972 abduction, interrogation, murder and secret burial of McConville.
The Boston College oral history of the Troubles project was the brainchild of journalist and writer Ed Moloney and involved the interviewing of former republican and loyalist paramilitaries based on guarantees their testimonies would not be released until after their deaths.
The early deaths of former senior IRA figure Brendan “the Dark” Hughes and former Progressive Unionist Party leader and ex-UVF man David Ervine, both of whom participated in the project, allowed Moloney publish a book, Voices From the Grave, four years ago.
The book recorded Hughes’s account of how McConville was first lifted by the IRA, allegedly for working as an informer by having a British army transmitter in her flat.
Hughes said she was “let go with a warning” but when another transmitter allegedly was put in her house she was abducted by an IRA gang.
“There was only one man who gave the order for that woman to be executed. That . . . man is now the head of Sinn Féin,” said Hughes.
As this is posthumous evidence there is a heavy question mark over whether it can have much – or any – legal evidential value.
The McConville family and former Northern Ireland police ombudsman Nuala O’Loan rejected the informer allegation against McConville.
Regardless, in his account Hughes said Adams and a senior IRA commander agreed that she should be “executed” but argued over whether her body should be left on the street in west Belfast as a warning to potential informers – as regularly happened – or secretly buried.
Hughes said that Adams won the day, and it was decided she should be secretly buried.
“I think the reason why she [was] disappeared was because she was a woman,” Hughes said.
Adams emphatically denied the allegations, and made the point that Hughes, his former friend and an IRA member, was antagonistic both to him and to how the IRA and Sinn Féin had managed the peace process.
But then Old Bailey bomber, the late Dolours Price, who also gave evidence to the Boston College project, made similar allegations, which Adams again denied.
He also pointed out that she was also antagonistic to him and the peace process.
The result was a huge controversy over the PSNI seeking access to the Boston tapes, which could have proved of evidential value to the police investigation, certainly while Price was alive.
The police pursuit of the tapes caused consternation because handing them over would mean that the pledge given to participants of anonymity and non-disclosure ahead of their deaths would not be honoured.
It also triggered a quarrel between, on one side Moloney and his chief researcher Anthony McIntyre, a historian and former IRA prisoner; and on the other side Boston College over how to resist the legal challenge from the police.
They accused the college of weakness.
The upshot was that the PSNI won the legal battle and tapes of Hughes, Price and about half a dozen others were handed over to the police.
All these tapes, it was stated in the legal proceedings, had content relating to the McConville murder.
In recent weeks a number of people have been arrested in connection with the murder.
Some of them were released pending reports being sent to the Public Prosecution Service, which leaves open the possibility that prosecutions could follow.
In March, Ivor Bell, now aged 77, was charged with aiding and abetting the murder of McConville.
It was this charging that prompted Adams to offer to voluntarily present himself to the PSNI if it wished to ask him questions. Police sources in the North, along with Taoiseach Enda Kenny, First Minister Peter Robinson and British prime minister David Cameron, have rejected a Sinn Féin allegation of “political policing” in the questioning of Adams.
“The case is driven by investigative necessity,” said one police source.
In the meantime, the McConville family wait and watch to find out if they are any closer to achieving justice for their mother.
‘I am no longer afraid’ says Helen McKendry, as Northern Ireland secretary warns of tense moment in peace process
Henry McDonald and Nicholas Watt
Thursday 1 May 2014
Helen McKendry, Jean McConville’s daughter, holding a family portrait. Photograph: Peter Morrison/AP
The eldest daughter of IRA murder victim Jean McConville vowed to “name names” to police, as officers continue to hold Gerry Adams for questioning in connection with her kidnapping into a second day.
Helen McKendry’s outspoken intervention came as the former Northern Ireland secretary Shaun Woodward warned that the arrest of Adams marks one of the most “tense and potentially quite dangerous” moments in the peace process.
Speaking to the Guardian McKendry, who has spent 20 years campaigning to bring her mother’s killers to justice, said: “I spent the first 20 years of my life being afraid of these people, of fearing to speak out, but now I am no longer afraid.”
McKendry, who witnessed her mother being dragged away by the IRA in 1972, said she was prepared to identify the abductors despite a fear or reprisals – in contrast with her brother Michael, who earlier in the day told the BBC he was not prepared to say who was involved.
She said: “If full cooperation into the murder of my mother includes naming those who I saw bursting into our flat, who dragged my mother away from us at gunpoint, and who were directly involved in her disappearance and murder, then yes – I would be prepared to name names. To me that is not informing but doing my duty to my mother.”
McKendry said detectives had told the family that the Police Service of Northern Ireland has obtained as many as 11 tapes – testimonies from former IRA members – from a US academic archive relating to the McConville killing.
The continued detention of the Sinn Féin leader over the kidnapping, killing and secret burial of Jean McConville, a mother of 10, has thrown the delicate political settlement in the province back into crisis.
Woodward became the first senior political figure in London to raise concerns about the impact of the arrest. Labour’s last Northern Ireland secretary told the Guardian: “This is a very serious and tense moment in the history of the peace process and the political process. So long as Northern Ireland continues to avoid having a mechanism to deal fairly with the legacy issues of the pre-1998 Good Friday agreement there will inevitably be these tense and potentially quite dangerous and threatening moments in the peace process and the political process.”
His remarks came after Martin McGuinness said there were elements in the police force – which he and Adams once urged republicans to back – who were determined to hinder Sinn Fein’s advance across the island of Ireland.
Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister said his party had been told by “senior” and “reforming” elements within the PSNI that “there was still a dark side within policing here in the north of Ireland”. He said: “I think we have seen that dark side flex its muscles in the course of the last couple of days.”
Sinn Féin had earlier said that the arrest, weeks before the European parliamentary elections, was politically motivated – a suggestion David Cameron rejected. The prime minister said: “There has been absolutely no political interference in this issue. We have an independent judicial system, both here in England and in Northern Ireland. We have independent policing authorities, independent prosecuting authorities. Those are vital parts of the free country and the free society we enjoy today.”
Matt Baggott, the chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, said the investigation would be “effective, objective and methodical”.
Asked about the investigation, Baggott said: “Effective investigation applies to any unsolved matter and it would be inappropriate for me to comment on any individual investigation other than to say they will be objective and methodical.”
Labour figures associated with the peace process made no criticism of the police who had, they said, followed the law. But Peter Hain, Tony Blair’s last Northern Ireland secretary, said Adams had told him with great passion that he was not responsible for McConville’s death.
Hain said: “Obviously the judicial process has to take its course. Gerry Adams has strongly asserted – as he always did to me when I was secretary of state and he was actually helping track the ‘disappeared’ – that he had nothing to do with this. In fact we actually discussed the Jean McConville atrocity because that is what it was – a terrible crime. He was passionate about it being wrong and he wanted to find out who was responsible – at least that it is what he told me and those of us seeking to address the ‘disappeared’ on behalf of the victims because there are many of them.”
But Peter Robinson, Northern Ireland’s first minister and key partner with McGuinness in the power-sharing executive, said the arrest strengthened Northern Ireland’s political process. “I cannot say whether Mr Adams will be charged or released, whether he will be held for a further period, whether even if charged he might be convicted,” he said. “But what I can say is that it strengthens our political process in Northern Ireland for people to know that no one is above the law – everyone is equal under the law and everyone is equally subject to the law.”
The abduction, fatal shooting and covert burial of McConville, a 37-year-old Protestant who became a Catholic convert, continues to haunt both Adams and the peace process.
In front of her children at their home in the Divis flats complex, the West Belfast woman was dragged away by an IRA gang, driven across the border to the Republic, shot in the head at a remote coastal spot in County Louth, and then buried in secret.
She became the most famous of the “disappeared” – 16 IRA victims shot and buried at secret locations across Ireland during the Troubles.
Former IRA members including Adams’s former friend, the hunger striker Brendan Hughes, have alleged that the future Sinn Féin president gave the order for McConville to be “disappeared” after she was shot as an informer. Her family have always rejected any suggestion that she was a British army agent pointing to Northern Ireland’s former police ombudsman Nuala O’Loan’s investigation,which found no evidence of their mother working as an informer.
Adams has consistently denied claims of involvement in the McConville murder or of being in the IRA. He was arrested on Wednesday evening after handing himself into the PSNI’s serious crimes suite at Antrim Town. Before entering the police station, he repeated that he was “innocent of any part” in the murder.
The Sinn Féin leader spent Wednesday night in custody and could in theory be held until late on Friday under anti-terrorist legislation.
The allegations of a supposed police conspiracy against Sinn Féin and its party leader by McGuinness drew an angry response from the McConville family. The murdered woman’s son-in-law, Seamus McKendry, who co-founded the campaign for the disappeared, described McGuinness’s claims as “totally absurd and a deep insult to the family and the wider community’s intelligence”.
McKendry said: “This is the same PSNI which Martin McGuinness asked everyone including his own supporters to endorse when devolution was restored. He can’t have it both ways. This is just typical spin to deflect from the real story behind all of this, to deflect from the terrible crime inflicted on Jean.”
Ireland’s prime minister, the Taoiseach Enda Kenny, dismissed any notion that the arrest was politically motivated.
“I hope the president of Sinn Féin, Deputy Adams, answers in the best way that he can, the fullest extent that he can, the questions being asked about a live murder investigation by the PSNI,” Kenny said.His ministerial colleague Ruairí Quinn said any suggestion Adams was detained in order to interfere with politics south of the border was “ludicrous”.
The arrest also refocuses attention on Sinn Féin’s past connection to the IRA at a time when the party has been riding high in the opinion polls and seeking to make major gains in the Irish Republic’s European and local government elections. Deputy party leader Mary Lou McDonald insisted that there was a political motive behind the arrest given that the country was only two weeks away from going to the polls.
By SHAWN POGATCHNIK
30 April 2014
DUBLIN — Police in Northern Ireland arrested Sinn Fein party leader Gerry Adams on Wednesday over his alleged involvement in the Irish Republican Army’s 1972 abduction, killing and secret burial of a Belfast widow.
Adams, 65, confirmed his own arrest in a prepared statement and described it as a voluntary, prearranged interview.
Police long had been expected to question Adams about the killing of Jean McConville, a 38-year-old mother of 10 whom the IRA killed with a single gunshot to the head as an alleged spy.
According to all authoritative histories of the Sinn Fein-IRA movement, Adams served as an IRA commander for decades, but he has always denied holding any position in the outlawed group.
“I believe that the killing of Jean McConville and the secret burial of her body was wrong and a grievous injustice to her and her family,” Adams said. “Well publicized, malicious allegations have been made against me. I reject these. While I have never disassociated myself from the IRA and I never will, I am innocent of any part in the abduction, killing or burial of Mrs. McConville.”
Reflecting the embarrassment associated with killing a widowed mother, the IRA did not admit the killing until 1999, when it claimed responsibility for nearly a dozen slayings of long-vanished civilians and offered to try to pinpoint their unmarked graves. McConville’s children had been told she abandoned them, and they were divided into different foster homes.
Her remains were discovered only by accident near a Republic of Ireland beach in 2003. The woman’s skull bore a single bullet mark through the back of the skull, and forensics officer determined she’d been shot once through back of the head with a rifle.
Jean McConville and children
Adams was implicated in the killing by two IRA veterans, who gave taped interviews to researchers for a Boston College history archive on the four-decade Northern Ireland conflict. Belfast police waged a two-year legal fight in the United States to acquire the interviews, parts of which already were published after the 2008 death of one IRA interviewee, Brendan Hughes.
Boston College immediately handed over the Hughes tapes. The college and researchers fought unsuccessfully to avoid handover tapes of the second IRA interviewee, Dolours Price, who died last year.
Both Hughes and Price agreed to be interviewed on condition that their contents were kept confidential until their deaths.
In his interviews Hughes, a reputed 1970s deputy to Adams within the Belfast IRA, said McConville was killed on Adams’ orders. Hughes said Adams oversaw a special IRA unit called “The Unknowns” that was committed to identifying, killing and secretly burying Belfast Catholic civilians suspected of spying on behalf of the police or British Army. An independent investigation by Northern Ireland’s police complaints watchdog in 2006 found no evidence that McConville had been a spy.
Hughes told the researchers he led the IRA team that “arrested” McConville, but her fate was sealed following a policy argument between Adams and the man he succeeded as Belfast commander, Ivor Bell.
He said Bell wanted McConville’s body to be put on public display to intimidate other people from helping the British, but Adams wanted her killing kept mysterious.
“There was only one man who gave the order for that woman to be executed,” Hughes said in the audio recording, which was broadcast on British and Irish television in 2010. “That man is now the head of Sinn Fein. I did not give the order to execute that woman. He did.”
A 2010 book written by the lead researcher, journalist Ed Moloney, “Voices From the Grave,” also quoted Hughes as describing Adams as the IRA’s “Belfast Brigade” commander who oversaw planning of the first car-bomb attacks in London in March 1973.
Adams and Hughes were arrested together in July 1973, when the British Army pounced on an IRA commanders’ meeting in West Belfast. Both were interned without trial. Adams was repeatedly interrogated for suspected involvement in IRA bombings and shootings, but was never convicted of any IRA offense besides a failed prison escape during his mid-1970s internment.
Last month Belfast detectives investigating the McConville killing arrested and charged Bell, now 77, with IRA membership and aiding McConville’s murder.
Price, who was a member of the IRA’s 1973 London car-bombing unit, died last year of a suspected drug overdose. She gave interviews to journalists admitting she had driven McConville across the Irish border, where another IRA member shot McConville once through the back of the head. It remains unclear what precisely she told the Boston College project.
Adams was the longtime British Parliament member for West Belfast, although like all Sinn Fein politicians he refused to take his seat in London, citing the required oath of allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II.
He never held a post in Northern Ireland’s power-sharing government, the central peacemaking institution established in the wake of the Good Friday accord of 1998. He stepped down as West Belfast’s MP in 2011 and won election to the Republic of Ireland parliament, where he represents the same border area, County Louth, where McConville’s body was found.
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams is tonight being questioned by detectives investigating the abduction and killing of Jean McConville.
Mrs McConville, a widow, was dragged away from her children in her home in the Divis flats, west Belfast, by an IRA gang of up to 12 men and women after being accused of passing information to the British Army in the city.
An investigation later carried out by the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman rejected the claims that she was an informer.
She was shot in the back of the head and buried 50 miles from her home. The IRA did not admit her murder until 1999 when information was passed to gardaí.
She became one of the so-called ‘Disappeared’, and it was not until August 2003 that her remains were found on Shelling Hill beach, Co Louth.
Deputy Adams has vehemently rejected the allegations made by former republican colleagues that he had a role in ordering the IRA killing.
No one has ever been charged with the murder. But after years without progress in the criminal investigation there have been a series of arrests in recent weeks.
A veteran republican – 77-year-old Ivor Bell – was charged last month with aiding and abetting the murder.
In the wake of the recent developments in the case, last month Deputy Adams, who has always denied membership of the IRA, said he would be available to meet with detectives if they wished to speak with him.
That meeting is taking place this evening.
Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald said this evening: “Last month Gerry Adams said that he was available to meet the PSNI about the Jean McConville case. That meeting is now taking place.
“Gerry Adams is right to confront this issue. There has been a concerted and malicious effort to link Gerry Adams to this case for some considerable time.
“He has consistently and forthrightly rejected any suggestion that he had any part in what happened to Jean McConville 42 years ago or that he has any information about these dreadful events.
“I believe the timing of this latest decision by the PSNI is politically motivated and designed to damage Gerry Adams and Sinn Féin.
“It is Sinn Féin’s view that legacy issues and dealing with the past, including past conflict events, are best addressed through an independent, international, truth recovery process.
“In the absence of that, we have agreed to and are seeking the implementation of the Haass compromise proposals. These include the right of families to choose whether to pursue legal action or to seek maximum truth recovery.”
In a statement made before meeting the PSNI today, Deputy Adams said: “Last month I said that I was available to meet the PSNI about the Jean McConville case. While I have concerns about the timing, I am voluntarily meeting with the PSNI this evening.
“As a republican leader I have never shirked my responsibility to build the peace. This includes dealing with the difficult issue of victims and their families. Insofar as it is possible I have worked to bring closure to victims and their families who have contacted me. Even though they may not agree, this includes the family of Jean McConville.
“I believe that the killing of Jean McConville and the secret burial of her body was wrong and a grievous injustice to her and her family.
“Well publicised, malicious allegations have been made against me. I reject these.
“While I have never disassociated myself from the IRA and I never will, I am innocent of any part in the abduction, killing or burial of Mrs McConville.
“Sinn Féin has signed up to the Haass proposals for dealing with the past. While I also respect the right of families if they wish to seek legal redress there remains a huge onus on the two governments and the political parties to face up to all these issues and to agree a victim centred process which does this.”
30 April 2014
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has been arrested by Northern Ireland police in connection with the 1972 murder of Jean McConville.
Mrs McConville, a 37-year-old widow and mother of 10, was abducted from her flat in the Divis area of west Belfast and shot by the IRA.
Her body was recovered from a beach in County Louth in 2003.
Police said a 65-year-old man presented himself to Antrim police station on Wednesday evening and was arrested.
In a statement, Sinn Féin said: “Last month Gerry Adams said he was available to meet the PSNI about the Jean McConville case. That meeting is taking place this evening.”
24 March 2014
Sources close to the investigation said it was “far from over” and that detectives want more information on anyone suspected of involvement in the murder, including Mr Adams.
The Sinn Fein president strongly denies any involvement in the Belfast mother of 10’s abduction and death in 1972.
The PSNI is also seeking to question former IRA man turned writer Anthony McIntyre about his Boston College interviews with ex-Provisionals on Ms McConville’s murder.
As the interviewer for the US university’s oral history project, Mr McIntyre’s evidence would be crucial in the case against Bell – and any other alleged former IRA leaders who may in future be charged with involvement.
Belfast Magistrates Court heard on Saturday that Bell was an interviewee in one of the tapes and was known as ‘Man Z’ – something which Bell denies.
The 77-year-old is charged with IRA membership and aiding and abetting in the murder of Jean McConville.
Other alleged former IRA members are expected to be arrested in coming weeks by detectives – who have in their possession tapes of seven republicans, who are all still alive, allegedly discussing the McConville killing.
It is understood the PSNI wants to question Mr McIntyre about Bell’s alleged interview and the conditions in which it took place, in order to corroborate the claims allegedly made on the tape.
Mr McIntyre would also be quizzed as to whether Bell was ‘Man Z’.
However, sources said there were “absolutely no circumstances” in which Mr McIntyre would co-operate with police.
Refusal to do so could result in him facing charges of withholding information – but the sources said he would “go to jail rather than compromise source protection”.
Mr McIntyre is a member of the National Union of Journalists and the issue is to be raised with the union this week.
The ex-IRA man has previously said he has “every sympathy with the McConville family in their search for truth recovery” – but added that “journalists, academics, and researchers need protection if they are to gain the necessary information which offers a valuable insight into the past”.
As the lead researcher for the Belfast project for Boston College between 2001 and 2006, Mr McIntyre conducted over 170 interviews with 26 republicans. They were undertaken on the agreement that they wouldn’t be released until after the interviewee’s death.
Tapes of now-deceased IRA members Dolours Price and Brendan Hughes – who both accused Gerry Adams of ordering Jean McConville’s murder – were handed over to the PSNI by Boston College.
However, a major legal battle followed over the taped interviews of republicans who are still alive.
Ivor Bell appears in court over 1972 murder of Jean McConville, in case which could implicate senior Irish republicans
22 March 2014
Even two decades after the IRA ceasefire, it is a crime from the bloodiest year of the Troubles that continues to haunt senior Irish republicans including Gerry Adams and could yet have fresh ramifications for the peace process.
In a sensational development inside a Belfast court it was alleged that a former IRA negotiator with the British government named fellow republicans involved in the kidnap, killing and secret burial of Jean McConville – one of the most notorious murders of the conflict.
The ex-IRA commander Ivor Bell appeared in Laganside court on Saturday morning where he faced charges of aiding and abetting in the shooting and disappearance of the mother of 10 in 1972.
Ivor Bell (BBC image)
The children and grandchildren of the murdered widow were in court to hear a detective allege that Bell was “Mr Z” on a tape recorded for Boston College in the US as part of the Belfast Project, a series of interviews with former IRA and loyalist paramilitaries.
Speaking outside the court, McConville’s daughter Helen McKendry told The Observer that she hoped the case would lead to others going on trial for her mother’s killing by the IRA.
“I hope this goes all the way up to the top,” she said, “All the way up to Gerry Adams. There are more people who need to be in this court to answer what happened to my mother.”
The McConville family, along with the former IRA Belfast commanding officer Brendan Hughes, have alleged that Adams created a secret unit to hunt down and kill informers in the city during the early part of the Troubles.
Before his death Hughes claimed that Adams gave the order for McConville to be abducted from her home in Divis Flats in west Belfast, taken across the Irish border, killed and buried in secret.
The Sinn Féin president has always denied any involvement in the McConville murder or that he was ever in the IRA.
It was alleged in court that in the recording, Bell implicates himself and other top republicans in the McConville case.
But his defence solicitor, Peter Corrigan, denied Bell had any involvement in the crime and said “the evidence was not credible”.
The recording for the Belfast Project, which the Police Service of Northern Ireland obtained through the US courts, is the centrepiece of the crown’s case against Bell.
His solicitor said Bell denied any involvement in the IRA murder of McConville.
Appealing for bail for his client, Corrigan stressed that Bell has not been a member of the Provisional IRA since 1985 and had no network around him to aid him to flee Northern Ireland. He told the judge that they would accept “any conditions that you see fit to impose on this defendant”.
However, there was light applause from the McConville family in court when the judge, Fiona Bagnall, refused bail.
McConville was the most famous of the “Disappeared” – 16 people whom the IRA accused of being informers and who were shot and buried secretly across Ireland.
The IRA only admitted her murder in 1993 and her body was not discovered until 2003 on a beach in County Louth. No one until today has ever been charged in connection with her murder.
The IRA accused her of passing information to the British army but her family always denied this, claiming she was singled out because she had tended to a wounded soldier outside her flat.
An investigation by the Northern Ireland police ombudsman rejected the allegation she was an informer.
Bell was a senior IRA officer at the time McConville was seized by armed men and women, and torn away from her children in December 1972.
Six months earlier Bell was part of an IRA delegation that secretly met Willie Whitelaw and several British government officials at the late MP Paul Channon’s flat in London.
Bell, allegedly alongside Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, the future deputy first minister of Northern Ireland, met Whitelaw and his team to discuss a ceasefire. However, the truce later broke down amid ongoing violence in Belfast.
Bell was later expelled from the IRA for plotting a coup d’etat against its leadership in the mid-1980s and warned he would be “executed” if he set up a rival republican organisation.
The full trial against the veteran republican will begin on 11 April.
Recording of deceased Belfast IRA commander Brendan Hughes names Sinn Féin president as giving execution order
2 November 2013
Jean McConville, who disappeared from west Belfast in 1972, with three of her 10 children. (Photograph: PA)
A tape recording of a deceased Belfast IRA commander in which Gerry Adams is accused of ordering the murder and secret burial of a widowed mother of 10 in 1972 will be broadcast for the first time this week.
A former IRA hunger striker, Brendan Hughes, alleges the Sinn Féin president was one of the heads of a unit that kidnapped, killed and buried west Belfast woman Jean McConville. Hughes, who died in 2008, is recorded as saying: “There was only one man who gave that order for that woman to be executed – and that man is now the head of Sinn Féin.” Hughes also says that Adams went to the McConville children after their mother was abducted and promised an internal IRA investigation. “That man is the man who gave the order for that woman to be executed. I did not give the order to execute that woman. He did.”
Adams is challenged on the BBC’s Storyville programme over whether he was a senior Provisionals commander in Belfast at the time McConville was abducted, just before Christmas 1972. “That’s not true,” Adams replies, adding that he has not “shirked” his own responsibilities in the conflict. The Sinn Féin leader has always insisted that he was never in the IRA.
In response to the tape, Adams, who is the Sinn Féin member for Louth in the Irish parliament, accuses his former friend of lying. “Brendan is telling lies,” Adams tells the programme. He adds: “I had no act or part to play in the abduction, killing or burial of Jean McConville or any of the others.”
An expert forensic detective tells the joint BBC Northern Ireland-RTE production that the IRA sometimes weighed bodies down with heavy stones to ensure that the corpses would not surface if the bogs they were buried in ever dried up.
Storyville reveals that the first of the “disappeared” to be found back in 1999, north Belfast man Eamon Molloy, had received the last rites from a Catholic priest. The priest saw Molloy tied naked to a bed and asked his captors if any of them had rosary beads that their prisoner could hold when he was to be shot.
Security sources in the Republic told the Observer last week that up to four additional men who were “disappeared” by the IRA have not yet been identified by the organisation set up to find the Troubles’ missing victims. The Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains (ICLVR) has so far found eight of the “disappeared”, including McConville, but seven on their official list are still unaccounted for.
A spokesman for the ICLVR, Geoff Knupfer, said: “At this moment there is no information to suggest there is any addition to the list.” However, security sources insist that at least four IRA victims were buried in secret. The film is to be broadcast on BBC4, BBC Northern Ireland and RTE on Tuesday.
It includes a reading of the late Seamus Heaney’s poem ‘The Bog Queen’, which the Nobel laureate agreed could be used in the programme to remember the plight of the “disappeared”.
**If this interests you, please head on over after reading Ms Breen to ‘The Broken Elbow’, Ed Moloney’s blog where he has Eilis McDermott’s Cross-examination Of Gerry Adams – The Full Text.
6 Oct 2013
Via Nuzhound – 14 Oct 2013
Gerry Adams is a stranger to truth, decency and the milk of human kindness. On every single count he has failed from the moment Aine told him 26 years ago her father had raped her.
As his lies and disturbingly inadequate response to child sex abuse are exposed, he now plays the victim saying he’s subject to a witch-hunt about a private family matter.
What utter nonsense. How is a very senior public representative withholding information from police for nine years in a sex abuse case a private matter?
How is lying about your paedophile brother’s extensive involvement in the political party you lead not of public concern?
How is taking not one concrete step to stop your brother working with children for five years in the heart of your own political constituency not worthy of discussion?
Let’s remember that for the first six weeks Liam Adams was employed in Clonard Youth Centre he stayed in his MP brother’s home because he hadn’t found his own place to live.
How with any justification can Gerry Adams say he’s being unfairly quizzed by the media when last month Conall McDevitt was forced to resign over what was in comparison a minor matter?
How can he expect to escape censure for sipping champagne at the wedding of his child rapist brother when on his beat as an IRA leader women were tarred and feathered for simply dating British soldiers?
Where on earth is Gerry Adams’ moral compass? How can he defend reporting Aine’s mother to social services for having an “unhygienic home and children” – the kids had nits – but not report his brother’s confession to rape?
Nobody blames the Sinn Féin president for his brother’s paedophilia. His response to it is the issue.
“There’s a lot of disinformation being flung about,” Gerry Adams complained to reporters this week. He’s right – and all by him. Lie after lie. From his phony “estrangement” from his brother to his claims to have done everything possible to help Aine who herself says he manipulated and abandoned her.
His arrogance, egoism and emotional autism are exposed in one vignette. After dropping 14-year-old Aine home from confronting Liam in Buncrana about his abuse, she didn’t hear from her Uncle Gerry for years.
Not even a birthday or Christmas card for a child in a single-parent household struggling to cope with this huge trauma.
And then, years on, came a present. Gerry Adams sent his niece his autobiography, ‘Before the Dawn’, in which he thanked “our Liam”, her rapist father, and referred to him positively 11 times.
Care and compassion, just like truth and transparency, are damningly absent in both the past and present of Gerry Adams.
**I’m sure someone in the British government will whisper something to someone, or some money will change hands, and nothing will be done about this the same as nothing is ever done about a lot of things.
Northern Ireland officials will review conduct of Sinn Féin president, who admits he held back information on Liam Adams
Gerry Adams speaks to the media after his brother Liam was convicted of raping and sexually abusing his daughter. (Photograph: Art Widak/Demotix/Corbis)
7 October 2013
The attorney general in Northern Ireland is to review the conduct of the Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams, in withholding information about his convicted paedophile brother, Liam.
The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) confirmed on Monday that the province’s most senior law officer would “be given full access to all materials that he considers necessary” in relation to the behaviour of the former West Belfast MP in the Liam Adams scandal.
The PPS also defended Barra McGrory QC, the director of public prosecutions in Northern Ireland, for deciding not to prosecute the Sinn Féin leader over his admission that he had held back information about Liam Adams’ sexual abuse of his daughter Áine.
A PPS spokesperson said: “While the director has confidence in the evidential decision taken by the PPS prior to his appointment, he has asked the attorney general to independently review the matter.”
Ever since his brother was convicted in last week of raping and sexually abusing his daughter, Gerry Adams has faced criticism of his role in the scandal that has engulfed the most famous republican family in Ireland.
The Sinn Féin leader has come under sustained criticism from political opponents, and even one former IRA hunger striker, for failing to tell the authorities about Áine Adams’ claims of abuse for several years.
Gerry Adams has known about her claims – now verified in court – for 26 years. Since hearing his niece’s testimony about years of rape and abuse, the Sinn Féin chief has been to his brother’s second wedding, was photographed with him canvassing in an Irish general election in Co Louth in 1997, and even secured a job for his brother at a youth centre in his old west Belfast constituency.
The former MP turned TD for Louth in the Irish Republic spoke publicly about Áine Adams’ ordeal only after an Ulster Television programme in 2009 broadcast her story. On the programme Gerry Adams said that when she first told him about the abuse in 1987 he believed her.
Following the programme he went on local television to reveal that his father, Gerry Adams Sr – a one-time IRA icon in Belfast – had sexually abused members of his family. The Sinn Féin president’s revelation about his father came after the latter was given a full republican funeral, during which his most famous son placed an Irish tricolour on his coffin.
Gerry Adams has stated that he did not tell anyone else in Sinn Féin that there were allegations against his brother Liam.
This appears to contradict his party’s constitution, which states: “Where allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault are made, they should be referred directly to an ard chomhairle [a national executive official].”
The former IRA hunger striker Gerry Hodgins has compared the cover-up of Liam Adams’s crimes with the Catholic church sending paedophile priests into other dioceses both in Ireland and abroad rather than allow them to be prosecuted for their crimes.
07 October 2013
A FORMER IRA hunger-striker has called on Gerry Adams to resign from the Bobby Sands Trust for failing to take adequate action to protect children when he discovered his brother was a paedophile.
Gerard Hodgins from west Belfast, who was on the IRA’s 1980 hunger strike in the Maze, said the Liam Adams trial had brought to light “very disturbing information” about the Sinn Fein president’s actions relating to “this sordid episode”.
The Bobby Sands Trust holds the copyright on all Sands’s writings and promotes his memory across the world.
Mr Hodgins, a former Sinn Fein press officer, said Mr Adams’s handling of his brother’s abuse of his own daughter Aine raised serious questions.
“Gerry Adams must resign from the Bobby Sands Trust due to his role in not doing enough for Aine and because he allowed his paedophile brother to continue as both an active member of Sinn Fein and a youth worker.”
Mr Hodgins accused Mr Adams of showing “neither care nor compassion” towards his niece when she told him her father had raped her.
In the harshest criticism the Sinn Fein president has faced from within the republican community over his actions regarding his brother, Mr Hodgins accused him of criminalising the republican movement in both his alleged role in ‘disappearing’ people – which Mr Adams strongly denies – and in his response to child abuse.
Mr Hodgins said: “Gerry Adams began his career emulating South American military dictators who had a habit of disappearing people and ended his career emulating a cardinal of the Catholic Church protecting child abusers.”
Meanwhile, Mr Adams has shown a bizarre lack of sensitivity to his niece Aine by tweeting about his birthday celebrations and printing a poem about triumphantly surviving criticism from opponents.
The Sinn Fein president, whose 65th birthday occurred yesterday, posted on Twitter: “I am delighted 2 become a pensioner. Yeeehaaa! All things considered not bad! x”
The tweet came just four days after his brother Liam was convicted on 10 counts of raping and sexually abusing his daughter.
Mr Adams’s playful sentiments on Twitter are at odds with the grave tone he expressed after his brother’s conviction last week.
The Sinn Fein president tweeted a poem ‘And Still I Rise’ against a backdrop of an Easter lily, the traditional symbol of Irish republicanism.
“You may shoot me with your words/You may cut me with your eyes/You may kill me with your hatefulness/But still, like air, I’ll rise,” states one verse.
Mr Adams posted the poem amid the growing belief on both sides of the Border that he is unfit to hold public office.
He faces criticism over withholding Liam’s confession of abuse from police for nine years, taking inadequate steps to protect children in youth centres where his brother worked, and making untrue statements about Liam’s role in Sinn Fein.
Aine Dahlstrom has accused the Sinn Fein president of not supporting her.
1 October 2013
Liam Adams, Gerry Adams’ paedophile brother and former Sinn Fein community and child worker
Liam Adams – the younger brother of Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams – has been found guilty of a string of child sex abuse charges.
Liam Dominic Adams, 58, from Bernagh Drive in west Belfast, was convicted of raping and sexually assaulting his daughter, Aine, over a six-year period between 1977 and 1983 when she was aged between four and nine.
Bespectacled Adams, who was wearing a grey suit, cream shirt and blue tie, showed no emotion as the guilty verdicts were returned.
Remanding him in custody Judge Corinne Philpott said: “Take him down.”
The jury of nine men and three women had heard more than two weeks of evidence at Belfast Crown Court.
They began deliberating at 11.05am this morning and took almost four hours to reach guilty verdicts with a majority of 11 to one.
Aine Adams has waived her right to anonymity.
There was complete silence as the jury foreman read out guilty verdicts on all of the 10 charges to the packed court.
Adams, who walks with the aid of a stick and used a court hearing aid to follow proceedings, stood between two prison officers in the dock with his hands clasped tightly.
Aine Adams, who was surrounded by family members, wept and clutched her younger sister Sinead for support.
On the other side of the public gallery, Adams’s second wife Bronagh and their daughter Claire, who gave evidence in his defence, also cried.
Adams nodded to them as he was led to the cells.
During the trial Aine Adams gave graphic details of the abuse, which started when she was aged four.
The first time she recalled being raped was while her mother was in hospital giving birth to her younger brother Conor in 1977.
In another incident she was raped by her father at a flat on Belfast’s Antrim Road while her brother was asleep in the bed beside her.
Adams, who was a heavy drinker, also forced his daughter to perform sex acts.
In a statement read out by a police officer outside the court, Ms Adams said she could finally begin to move on after a long and hard road to achieve justice.
“I do not see this verdict as a victory or a celebration as it has taken its toll and has caused hurt, heartache and anguish for all those involved.
“I can now begin my life at 40 and lay to rest the memory of the five-year-old girl who was abused,” she said.
The allegations were first made public when Ms Adams took part in a television documentary in 2009.
A short time later, Gerry Adams revealed his father Gerry Snr, a veteran IRA man, had physically and sexually abused members of his family.
Within days of the sex abuse scandal hitting the headlines, Liam Adams fled to the Republic claiming he could not receive a fair trial in Northern Ireland. He handed himself in to police in Co Sligo but could not be detained because the Garda officers did not have the correct documentation.
He was eventually handed over to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) at the border in November 2011 after losing a lengthy and expensive extradition battle.
The trial opened in April this year but collapsed due to legal reasons and the jury was discharged.
At that time, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams was called as a prosecution witness. He told the court he confronted his brother about the allegations during a meeting in Buncrana, Co Donegal, in 1987 and Liam Adams had denied the abuse.
He then revealed his brother later confessed while they were out walking together in the rain in Dundalk, Co Louth, in 2000.
Gerry Adams was not called as a prosecution witness for the latest trial, which re-opened before a new jury panel last month.
In her statement given outside Laganside court complex, Ms Adams thanked the media for helping her to tell her story.
She said: “I would like to give all my family a special thanks. Without their love, support and understanding I would not be here today.”
She also expressed gratitude to the PSNI’s public protection unit and the Public Prosecution Service.
“I would now ask for some privacy for my family to reflect on recent trying times,” she said.
Adams is due to be sentenced next month.
Vile paedophile behind caring mask
For almost four decades he led a double life.
Liam Adams – a younger brother of Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams – portrayed himself as a caring father, concerned community worker and ardent republican.
But the 58-year-old, who desperately tried to evade justice by going on the run, has now finally been unmasked as a vile predatory paedophile who exploited every opportunity to sneak into his four-year-old daughter’s bedroom and rape her.
Born into a staunchly republican family revered in their west Belfast community as aristocrats of the movement, Liam Adams was one of 10 children.
His father, Gerry snr, had been an IRA stalwart from the 1930s and also subjected members of his family to a torrent of physical, mental and sexual abuse over many years.
He met Sarah (also known as Sally) Corrigan when they were both 16. A short time later, she fell pregnant with their daughter Aine and the couple wed – not out of love but, because they had to.
It was an unhappy union frequently filled with rows and violence. Sometimes the domestic abuse became so bad Sarah had to flee the family home, leaving evil Adams alone to molest their vulnerable young daughter.
The couple shared three different houses across west Belfast – at Westrock Drive; Dunglow Gardens in the Lenadoon estate and New Barnsley area of Ballymurphy but, it was an on-off relationship and they were often apart.
It was the height of the Troubles and Liam Adams, who according to friends was on the fringes of the IRA, would be absent for days at a time. Indeed he was in prison around the time Aine was born.
By the end of 1981 and after four children – Aine, Liam, Conor and Sinead – Liam Adams split from his wife permanently. He was kicked out of the house and moved into a bedsit flat on the Antrim Road in north Belfast.
He took little interest in his children save for a few access visits during which he sexually abused Aine including on one occasion while her younger brother Liam slept in the bed beside them.
Adams was also a heavy drinker. Aine recalled she would always smell alcohol on her father’s breath when he forced himself on her.
He found it difficult to put down roots and his transient lifestyle led him to America, Canada, Donegal, Dublin and Dundalk.
During the early 1980s he struck up a new relationship with his second wife Bronagh – with whom he has two daughters – and who stood by him as harrowing details of child rape were revealed during his two-and-a-half week trial at Belfast Crown Court.
He spent up to four months at Lazarus House, a hostel in New York run by Fr Pat Moloney – a radical priest who is open about his support for the IRA.
Speaking from New York Fr Moloney said: “To me he wasn’t hiding anything. He didn’t conceal who he was. He had Bronagh with him and they were a lovely couple.
“But, he was not in the best of health. I don’t know whether he left Ireland because he was an embarrassment to the ambitions of anybody else in the family but, it did seem that they did want him to take a vacation for what reasons, I never knew.”
While in New York, Adams, who did not work, played on his famous family name and enjoyed minor celebrity status. He would be given free drinks in bars in Brooklyn and be invited to speak at republican fundraising events across the State.
And, when he returned to Ireland he continued to lie to friends and family.
Indeed, such was the level of his deception that he was trusted to work with children for almost 20 years after his daughter first went to police in 1987.
First, he was appointed youth worker at Clonard Monastery in the heart of his brother’s West Belfast constituency, where the former MP attended Mass and was good friends with many of the priests – including Fr Alex Reid, who was a mediator between the IRA and British government during the fledgling peace process.
One former community worker, who met Liam Adams during his time at Clonard, said: “He was pleasant enough. He had a lot of ideas about what to do with the young people. People were impressed by him, I suppose.
“When the allegations emerged it shook the community and the fact that a lot of people had known about it but did nothing was also shocking. People are asking questions that if people knew about it, why did they do nothing.”
Adams stayed at Clonard for about five years but in 2003 moved to Muirhevnamor Community Youth Project in Dundalk – the border town his brother now represents in the Irish parliament – where he worked with young people in their mid-teens.
A year later he returned north having secured a job the Beechmount Community Project, again in the heart of his brother’s former power-base. Adams moved his new family to Andersonstown.
When Aine went public with the allegations in a television documentary aired in 2009, the sex abuse scandal hit the headlines. Adams immediately fled to the Republic and ignored repeated appeals, including from his older brother, to take responsibility for his sickening crimes and hand himself in.
His cowardly attempts to avoid prosecution were only thwarted after a lengthy and expensive extradition battle in Dublin’s Four Courts. Adams was eventually handed over to the Police Service of Northern Ireland at the border in November 2011.
Securing the conviction was a long and complex journey. The protracted legal process was dogged by delays and difficulties which collapsed his first trial in April this year and loomed over the second case like a guillotine ready to drop.
Exposing Adams’ sordid secrets has also had implications far beyond his family circle.
The revelations sent shock waves throughout the republican movement and sparked widespread anger among the Sinn Fein party faithful, particularly in west Belfast and Dundalk.
Gerry Adams faced tough questions about why he did not tell police about his paedophile brother and explain how he was able to work with children for so long.
When he appeared as a prosecution witness during the first trial in April, the Sinn Fein leader shifted uncomfortably in his seat when asked if had tried to “save his own political skin” by not revealing the truth until nine years after he learned his brother was a paedophile.
Gerry Adams told the court he warned a priest, who is now dead, about his brother’s sinister past and the pair became estranged after the allegations emerged.
He also said he moved to expel Liam Adams from Sinn Fein in 1997 after becoming aware he was a potential election candidate in Co Louth.
However, Liam Adams continued to mix with the republican movement and in 2000 involved himself in local party work in Belfast.
Pictures of the Adams brothers smiling together at Liam’s second wedding in 1987 and during an election canvass in Dundalk 10 years later, which were shown during the April case, contradicted claims the pair were not in touch.
Gerry Adams said the 1997 photograph was taken around the same time he found out that his father was an abuser and should be seen in the context of attempting to deal with that revelation as well as trying to make his brother face his responsibilities.
Timeline: Events leading to Liam Adams’ conviction
1977 – Aine Adams, aged four, is indecently assaulted by her father Liam Adams at her home in Westrock Drive, west Belfast.
May 1978 – Aine Adams recalls being raped for the first time while her mother is in hospital giving birth to her younger brother, Conor.
December 1981 – Liam Adams splits from first wife Sarah.
June 1983 – Gerry Adams elected as West Belfast MP and becomes president of Sinn Fein.
December 1985 – Aine Adams discovers Liam Adams has another young daughter with whom he is living in Donegal.
December 1986 – Aine Adams, aged 13, reveals in a letter to her mother that she was repeatedly raped by her father Liam Adams from the age of four.
January 1987 – Aine Adams and her mother report catalogue of child sex abuse to detectives at Grosvenor Road RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary) station.
February 1987 – Aine Adams and her mother retract statements about abuse over attempts to exploit them for intelligence gathering. A detective tells Aine Adams the file will be retained on record.
March 1987 – Gerry Adams confronts his brother Liam at a house in Buncrana, Co Donegal, and threatens to hit him with a hammer. Gerry Adams is driven to Donegal by his cousin, Kevin Hannaway. Aine Adams and her mother are also present.
1990 – Sarah Campbell moves her family to Scotland.
1991 – Aine Adams moves to Scotland.
1997 – Gerry Adams is pictured smiling with his brother during an election canvass in Dundalk, Co Louth.
1997 – Liam Adams is expelled from Sinn Fein after his brother Gerry learns of his intention to stand as an election candidate for Co Louth. He continues to carry out work for the party.
December 1999 – While Christmas shopping, Aine Adams tells her younger sister Sinead she was sexually abused as a child.
December 2002 – Liam Adams confesses abuse against Aine when confronted by Sinead, during a meeting in Twinbrook.
January 2006 – Aine Adams returns to Belfast and goes to PSNI to have case re-opened against her father.
November 2007 – Liam Adams is arrested by the PSNI and questioned about child sex abuse allegations. He denies all allegations.
March 2008 – Aine Adams makes complaint to the Police Ombudsman.
November 2008 – Liam Adams fails to turn up at court in Northern Ireland to face child abuse charges. He fled to the Republic over fears he would not receive a fair trial.
December 2009 – Aine Adams waives her right to anonymity and goes public about the abuse in a television documentary. Gerry Adams urges Liam to hand himself in.
December 2009 – Liam Adams presents himself to Gardai in Sligo but cannot be legally detained because the necessary European arrest warrant has not been issued by the PSNI.
December 2009 – Gerry Adams reveals in a television interview that his father had been abusive.
March 2010 – Liam Adams is arrested at a Dublin police station, under a European arrest warrant which was issued by the Serious Organised Crime Agency.
March 2010 – Liam Adams released on bail of 15,000 euros – half of which was put forward by his daughter Claire Smith after a hearing at Dublin High Court.
February 2011 – Gerry Adams wins seat as Co Louth TD.
July 2011 – Liam Adams launches a legal challenge against his extradition from the Irish Republic. His lawyers argue that he will not receive a fair trial in Northern Ireland because of publicity.
October 2011 – Liam Adams loses fight against extradition. Dublin High Court rules that he should be transferred to Northern Ireland to face child abuse charges.
October 2011 – Liam Adams instructs legal representatives to appeal against the extradition order.
October 2011 – Liam Adams loses bid to appeal against extradition at the Supreme Court in Dublin. He is taken to a jail in Dublin to await transfer to Northern Ireland.
November 2011 – Gardai hand Liam Adams over to PSNI officers at the Irish border.
November 2011 – Liam Adams is to stand trial accused of child sex abuse. A district judge grants a prosecution application for the case to progress to the next stage. Adams is remanded in custody.
December 2011 – Liam Adams is refused bail after appearing at Belfast Crown Court accused of child sex abuse. Belfast Recorder Judge Tom Burgess said he was concerned about a potential flight risk if bail was granted. He is later granted bail.
April 2013 – First trial against Liam Adams opens at Belfast Crown Court. Jury of six men and six women is sworn in.
April 22, 2013 – Gerry Adams takes the stand as a prosecution witness and denies claims he did not tell the authorities about his brother sooner because he was trying to save his political skin.
April 25, 2013 – Trial collapses because of legal issues and jury is discharged. Judge Corrine Philpott orders that a new trial be held in the autumn.
September 9, 2013 – New sex abuse trial against Liam Adams is due to open. Prosecution announced that Gerry Adams will not be called to give evidence in the new case. Proceedings are delayed because of further legal argument.
September 16, 2013 – Sex abuse trial for Liam Adams opens at Belfast Crown Court before Judge Corrine Philpott.
September 26, 2013 – Liam Adams takes the stand to defend himself and strongly denies abusing his daughter.
September 27, 2013 – Defence and prosecution legal teams complete their cases.
October 1, 2013 – Jury of nine men and three women take about four hours to return guilty verdicts in all 10 charges with a majority of 11 to one. Liam Adams is remanded in custody.
28 Jan 2013
Up to 500 republicans from across Ireland attended the funeral of Old Bailey bomber Dolours Price today.
Her sister, Marian, who is in prison accused of dissident republican activity, was not at the service at St Agnes Church in Andersonstown, west Belfast.
Price, 62, was an unrepentant republican hard-liner who fell out with Sinn Féin after the party endorsed the peace process, encouraged the IRA to give up its guns and embraced power-sharing with unionists at Stormont.
No public representatives from the mainstream republican movement were at the ceremony.
In his address, Father Raymond Murray, who had been prison chaplain at Armagh jail, told mourners that Price and her sister were like bosom twins.
He said: “Dolours’ family can relate her nature and her talent, both of which is outside the knowledge and understanding of those who did not know her personally.
“She was clever and witty, full of fun and held people enthralled by her conversation.
“She was very devoted to her parents. Her mother, Chrissie, died on February 1, 1975.
“Their mother never saw Dolours or Marian back in Ireland. They did not get compassionate leave from prison in England to attend her funeral.
“A week afterwards they were repatriated to Ireland but that grief of not seeing her mother meant she never found closure.”
Price’s father, Albert, had also been a prominent IRA member and was interned by the Irish Government at the Curragh Camp during the 1950s.
Black flags were erected on lampposts across Andersonstown today.
There was also a visible police presence in the area.
Price, the former wife of actor Stephen Rea, was convicted and jailed along with her sister for the 1973 car bomb attack on London’s Central Criminal Court in which one man died and more than 200 people were injured.
She spent eight years in jail including several weeks on hunger strike before being released in 1980.
In recent years she clashed with Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams over her allegations that he had been her IRA Officer Commanding during the early 1970s.
Among those who took part in today’s funeral service was Hugh Feeney, who was also jailed in connection with the Old Bailey bombing.
Price consistently claimed that Mr Adams, now a Louth TD, ordered the kidnap and killing of Jean McConville in 1972.
The Catholic mother-of-10 was among dozens of people – later known as the Disappeared – who were abducted, murdered and secretly buried by republican militants during the Troubles.
Mr Adams has always denied being a member of the IRA. He said he was saddened by Price’s death.
Although Ed Moloney maintains that Dolours Price never once mentioned Jean McConville by name in her Boston College taped interviews, as the following link from Slugger O’Toole explains:
‘Dolours Price’s death does offers the opportunity for her taped testimony and interviews with Anthony McIntyre to finally be released and published in book or documentary form in the short to medium term.’
For the article with many relevant links to other sources, please go here:
Gardaí investigate after former IRA veteran, 62, dies at home
24 Jan 2013
Dolours Price, left, with her sister Marion in Belfast in 1972. (Photograph: PA Archive/Press Association Image)
Dolours Price, the IRA Old Bailey bomber who later became a bitter critic of Sinn Féin’s peace strategy, has been found dead at her home in north Dublin.
The Garda Síochána are investigating the circumstances surrounding the sudden death of the former Irish republican icon in her apartment in Malahide, although she had been in general ill health.
Republican sources confirmed to the Guardian that the former IRA veteran, 62, who was once married to the Hollywood actor Stephen Rea, had died at her home.
Price was involved in a car bombing at the Old Bailey in 1973, which injured more than 200 people and may have led to one person’s death of heart failure. The ex-IRA prisoner, who went on hunger strike with her sister Marion in the 1970s and was subjected to force feeding in English prisons, had struggled with alcohol problems later in life.
She became an arch critic of Gerry Adams, claiming the Sinn Féin president had ordered her to have one of the most famous victims of the IRA – Jean McConville – abducted from her west Belfast home, murdered across the border in the Republic and buried in secret in 1972.
Price alleged that she was given the task of driving McConville, a widow, away from her 10 children in the Divis flats complex to her death on the Co Louth coast. McConville became the most famous of the “Disappeared” – IRA victims whom the organisation killed and buried in secret during the Troubles.
Price claimed Adams had set up a secret IRA unit in Belfast to weed out informers both in its ranks and within the nationalist community who were helping the security forces. The Sinn Féin Louth TD, one of the key architects of the Northern Ireland peace process, has consistently denied her allegations.
In an interview with CBS television in the United States last year, Price repeated her claims about Adams and McConville. She said: “I drove away Jean McConville. I don’t know who gave the instructions to execute her. Obviously it was decided between the general headquarters staff and the people in Belfast. Gerry Adams would have been part of that negotiation as to what was to happen to her.
“I had a call one night and Adams was in a house down the Falls Road and she had been arrested by Cumann [the IRA’s female unit] women and held for a couple of days. She got into my car and as far as she was concerned she was being taken away by the Legion of Mary to a place of safety.
“It wasn’t my decision to disappear her, thank God. All I had to do was drive her from Belfast to Dundalk. I even got her fish and chips and cigarettes before I left her.”
Price was unrepentant about her alleged role in the disappearance and death of McConville.
Marion Price, also a fierce critic of the direction the IRA and Sinn Féin took during the peace process, is in Maghaberry prison in Northern Ireland, where she is facing terrorist-related charges.