Gerry Adams says father was a child abuser

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams revealed his late father subjected family members to emotional, physical and sexual abuse.

He said his father was in denial for many years about his actions and eventually died a lonely old man.

In an interview with RTE News, Mr Adams also called on his brother, Liam, to give himself up to the authorities.

Liam Adams is wanted by the PSNI over charges of abuse against his daughter over a period of several years during her childhood.

Gerry Adams urged his brother to go to the PSNI for the sake of his niece Aine, Liam's daughter, who has waived her right to anonymity.

"I was almost 50-years-old and up to that point I thought we were like any other family with a loving father," he said.

"It was a deep shock."

Mr Adams said he had no recollection of being abused. He appealed for his brother to come forward and hand himself over to police.

"Aine (Tyrell, Liam's daughter) needs justice. This has gone on for far too long. And the only way now she can get justice is through the courts," he said.

"And Liam, for her sake especially, for his sake and for the sake of his other children, should do that. He should come forward."

He was asked about knowing of the alleged crimes for the past 22 years but said it went on for too long and it was Liam's fault it went on for too long.

"More important to me, Aine and her mother had to deal with all of this," he added.

"But in the course of trying to deal with it I also discovered my father was an abuser.

"I don't want to distract for one second from Aine's plight. I have felt for some long time we should go public about my father as part of the healing process within my own family and to try and help other families who are in the same predicament."

The family received professional help.

"Those who were abused didn't want to go to the police about it so in a very difficult way with everybody coming at this at different speeds and with everybody coming at it from slightly different perspectives we have with the assistance of professionals, with the assistance of other family members and friends, we have been able to survive it," he added.

He said his father was in denial for a lot of that time.

There were 13 children, 10 survived and three died at birth or shortly after.

"He ended up dying a very lonely man where he should have been surrounded by loving family members," he said.

"I myself for a long time wanted this to be publicised because there is a culture of concealment. But we can only do this when everybody is strong enough to do it.

"And we don't do it for any other reason than a necessary step in the healing process in our own clan. And also other families who are in the same predicament or individuals who just feel this is the end of the world."

He said it was not the end of the world.

"It obviously tests your faith in humanity when an iconic figure like my father engages in the psychological and emotional and physical and sexual abuse of a child, of his child," he added.

"But with attention, with understanding, with resolve, and with love we can find our way through all of this."

He was asked about his father's republican funeral and tricolour on his coffin.

"Personally that was one of the great dilemmas for me because I'm a republican. I'm speaking here as a human being, as a family member," he said.

"I didn't want him buried with the tricolour. I think he besmirched it but it was a dilemma for other members of my family who felt that they didn't want this at that time out in the open."

Had he not been buried as a former republican activist in the 1930s, a former prisoner, that would have drawn attention to the fact that there was something wrong.

"So you have to look after the living as opposed to the dead," he said.

I always also had a view that it was going to come out at some time."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Buyer / Ecommerce Buyer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - CAD Software Solutions Sales

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?