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Peter Pan Lyric Theatre

Justice for Áine

By Staff Reporter

Liam Adams has been found guilty of raping and sexually abusing his daughter, Áine.

Adams, 58 and from Bernagh Drive, was found guilty on Tuesday of 10 offences including gross indecency and rape committed between 1977 and 1983.

His daughter áine, now 40, was aged between four and nine when the offences took place.

Áine had waived her right to anonymity throughout the trial and her father, a brother of Sinn Féin President and former West Belfast MP Gerry Adams, consistently denied the charges.  However, a jury of nine men and three women convicted Adams on all charges, following four hours of deliberation, with a majority verdict of eleven to one.

Throughout the trial, details of the abuse were revealed including how Áine had been raped by her father while her mother gave birth in hospital to her brother.  In another incident she was raped by her father at a flat on the Antrim Road while her brother was asleep in the bed beside her.

áine, surrounded by her family, openly wept in court as the verdict was delivered.  On the other side of the public gallery, Liam Adams’ 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.

This was the second trial, the first had collapsed in April for legal reasons.

The allegations were first made public when Ms Adams took part in a television documentary in 2009.  Within days, her father fled across the border claiming he could not receive a fair trial in the North.  He handed himself in to police in Dublin in 2010 after a European Arrest Warrant was issued by the Police Service of Northern Ireland.  He was extradited back to the North in November 2011 after losing a legal battle to remain in the South, where he had been living.

In a statement, read out by a police liaison officer outside Laganside Court, Áine said she could begin her life at 40 and “lay to rest the memory of the five-year-old who was abused”.

“I do not see this verdict as a victory, nor a celebration, as it has taken its toll and has caused hurt, heartache and anguish to all those involved,” she added before going on to thank her family for “their support and understanding”. She also thanked the media for helping her to tell her story “and for the courtesy and respect they have shown throughout the trial”.

Following on the verdict, Gerry Adams, who appeared as a prosecution witness in the first trial but not the second, appealed for privacy.

“This has been a difficult and distressing ordeal for all my family and for my niece Áine,” he said.

“I would ask the media to respect our right to space and privacy. I thank the many people who have sent messages of support and solidarity.”

Liam Adams was remanded in custody and will be sentenced in four weeks time.

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