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The Adams family abuse controversy is a political controversy which came to light in late 2009.[1] During 2009-10 there has been a significant amount of controversy concerning allegations of child abuse in the family of Gerry Adams, a senior Northern Ireland politician and leader of Sinn Féin.

UTV Insight Special

In December 2009, a UTV programme alleged that Liam Adams, Gerry's brother, had sexually abused his daughter, Áine Tyrell, for a period spanning about a decade. In response to the programme, Gerry urged his brother to turn himself in to the police[2][3] and he also alleged that his deceased father, Gerry Adams, Sr., had subjected family members to emotional, physical and sexual abuse.[4][5] The Police Service of Northern Ireland has issued a European Arrest Warrant for Liam Adams’ arrest.[6]

Irish police involvement

For a time, Liam appeared to be on the run in the Republic of Ireland, but in December 2009 he presented himself at a Garda Síochána police station in Sligo. They were not able to arrest him as they did not have the necessary European Arrest Warrant. Liam did not wish to hand himself into police in Northern Ireland citing unfairness.[7]

On the 3 March 2010, the High Court in Dublin endorsed the European arrest warrant which was issued in Liam Adams' name by the Serious Organised Crime Agency. The following day, 4 March, Liam Adams handed himself over to the authorities in the Republic. When he was arrested he said, "I just want to say I'm not guilty." The Police Service of Northern Ireland are seeking his extradition.[8] Later that day it was reported that Liam had been released on bail of 15,000 Euros until Wednesday 10 March and that he had commented that he was going to resist extradition. The High Court further adjourned extradition proceedings against Mr Adams to allow his lawyers to file their objections to the extradition request.[9][10][11] The case is ongoing, at a brief hearing on July 21 Liam applied for legal aid to help fight the extradition.[12]


On 17 January, the BBC claimed that there were reports Liam was a member of a Sinn Féin branch in Belfast .[13] Ian Paisley, Jr. has called for an enquiry into whether Gerry Adams had broken Northern Ireland Assembly rules in the way he dealt with the issue.[14]

Further claims were made in January that Gerry Adams had been informed of physical and sexual abuse carried out by another unnamed Sinn Féin representative on an anonymous victim, but had failed to act.[15] A Sinn Féin spokesperson denied allegations of a cover-up, and stated that an unnamed SF representative had been suspended without prejudice pending police investigations into alleged child abuse.[16]

However as of November 2010 nothing further has happened about Paisley's call for an enquiry, or the police investigation.


  1. "Majority want Robinson resignation - survey". RTÉ. 13 February 2010. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
  2. "Adams' brother sought over alleged abuse". RTÉ. 18 December 2009. Archived from the original on 11 September 2012. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
  3. McDonald, Henry (18 December 2009). "Gerry Adams urges brother to face child sex charges". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
  4. "Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams reveals family abuse history". The BBC. 20 December 2009. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
  5. Adams reveals family history of abuse. RTÉ News and Current Affairs. Sunday, 20th December 2009. Audio interview also available from that page.
  6. "European arrest warrant sent for Liam Adams". The Irish Times. 5 February 2010. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
  7. "Liam Adams 'will not return to NI'". The Irish Times. 24 December 2009. Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  8. "Gerry Adams' brother Liam hands himself in to police". The BBC. 4 March 2010. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
  9. "Adams's extradition case adjourned". The Irish Times. may 20, 2010. Retrieved May 23, 2010.
  10. "Gerry Adams' brother Liam released on 15,000 euros bail". The BBC. 4 March 2010. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
  11. "Brother of Sinn Fein leader surrenders to police". 4 March 2010. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
  12. "Liam Adams bids for legal aid to fund media transcripts". The BBC. July 21, 2010. Retrieved July 25, 2010.
  13. "Gerry Adams "unaware" brother Liam rejoined Sinn Fein". The BBC. 16 January 2010. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
  14. "Paisley jnr queries Adams's conduct". The Irish Times. 15 January 2009. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
  15. "'Adams was told about what X had done to me'". The Sunday Tribune. 17 January 2010. Retrieved 16 March 2010.
  16. "Adams 'failed to take action against alleged abusers". Ireland On-line. 17 January 2010. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
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