Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has insisted that party members in Dundalk knew nothing of the allegations that his brother Liam had been accused of sex abuse against his daughter.
Writing on his personal blog, Mr Adams also admitted he has regrets about how he has dealt with aspects of the case which continues to throw up questions about his judgment and leadership of the party.
Still facing questions over the family crisis, having revealed his father subjected family members to emotional, physical and sexual abuse over many years, the West Belfast MP also said it appeared the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) are still several weeks away from obtaining a European warrant under which his younger brother could be arrested.
But Mr Adams has insisted he has no further questions to answer after he intervened to prevent Liam becoming a Sinn Fein candidate in an election in the Republic.
He said until he heard Liam was put forward, he did not know his brother was a member of Sinn Fein. This week he added: “I want to make it clear that republicans in Dundalk and senior party colleagues were not aware of the allegations against Liam Adams. The simple fact is in my opinion he should not have been a member of Sinn Fein.
“I have also acknowledged on a number of occasions publicly that I have regrets about how I dealt with aspects of this issue. I say this with hindsight and in the context of today’s standards.
“However, it is important to state that this was first and foremost a private family matter in which all of us were reeling from the revelations around our father.”
How did the head of Sinn Fein not know his brother was a party member?
While he knew Liam was in Dundalk Mr Adams insists he did not know he was a Sinn Fein member until he heard Liam was going forward as a candidate in 1997, which he then moved to prevent. He later left the party.
What about the pictures printed in a Dundalk newspaper of Martin McGuinness and Liam?
Mr Adams says in an unused part of his interview with UTV that he made clear he was in contact with Liam occasionally during this period and though he believed his niece Aine, Liam was denying the allegations. Mr Adams says republicans in Dundalk weren’t aware of the claims against his brother.
Was Gerry Adams largely motivated by wanting to cover up family secrets?
Mr Adams says he was told by those with experience in helping victims of that, unless the victim is a minor, it is not for anyone else to presume to take decisions for a victim or to publicly identify a victim.
Could he have been more pro-active in resolving the dispute?
Both Aine and Liam were out of the country for significant lengths of time during the years. When Aine came back to live in Ireland he says he offered to go to the police and go public and would support her “in whatever action she might decide. Aine told me she wanted Liam to admit what he had done”. This was the start of a very long and difficult process, Mr Adams said.
Is there anything Mr Adams would have done differently in retrospect?
He wrote on his blog yesterday: “....it is important to state that for me this was first and foremost a private family matter in which all of us were reeling from the revelations around our father and some of us were trying to provide support and closure for those abused by him and for Aine. I did my best.
Source: The Belfast Telegraph