January 15th 10
It has been a busy, surprising, eventful week in the political process.
Peter Robinson has gone – temporarily – from the Office of OFMDFM. He has availed of the rule that allows a Minister to take time off from his or her duties to attend to personal matters. Consequently, we now have a new First Minister, Arlene Foster – temporarily. This Blog wishes her well.
The Robinsons must have the space and the privacy in which to deal with their personal and family matters.
At the same time there is an urgent need to resolve those outstanding issues that have brought the process to crisis.
So, the Shinners and the DUP have been talking to each other and to the other parties. These discussions are ongoing and everyone knows the issues, especially the need for a date on the transfer of Powers on Policing and Justice.
This Blog is convinced that it is the will of the people that an agreement to resolve all of these matters is reached. With political will it can be done. Other big issues have come and gone and looking back many would wonder why they were ‘big issues’ in the first place! Remember when an Irish Taoiseach or government Minister couldn’t come north without street protests from Unionists or when talking to Sinn Féin was rejected on the basis that would it would be like speaking to the Devil?
The current difficulties are no different. No - that’s not quite right. In the past people might have been divided on the issue of the day but on Transfer of Powers all of the straw polls suggest an overwhelming community support for a resolution of this now.
So, the discussions continue. Least said at this time the better but this time too there has to be product – progress is mandatory.
A Personal Note
This Blog wants to thank everyone who has contacted me by whatever means they have used to offer their support and prayers and best wishes. They are all appreciated, especially when there are some who see the personal family tragedy of the wider Adams family as an opportunity to have a go at me.
As a political activist I’m fair game but the lies, misrepresentations, and at times hugely offensive language is very hurtful to our large family circle.
Much of it is also dangerous and not in the interests of the victim in light of a pending court case for extradition which is likely to see media reportage used as a rationale by a defence which will argue that Liam Adams cannot expect a fair trial in the north.
Anyway, Sinn Féin undertook an internal review to ascertain the relationship Liam Adams had with the party. It took a few weeks as the Sinn Féin Cathaoirleach Declan Kearney talked to party colleagues, and reviewed all of the available party documentation. The conclusion of that review was published this morning.
I just heard one of the journalists who has been running with this story saying that this work was only published because of her endeavours. This is bunkum. The Irish News was told of the report on Tuesday and carried a report on Thursday morning in which it said that Sinn Fein was preparing the report. The questions from the journalist only arrived in late on Thursday night!!!
I was given a copy of this report yesterday and was stunned to discover that Liam Adams had become a member of Sinn Féin in lower Andersonstown in west Belfast even after he had left the party in Louth.
Liam knew the basis upon which he had been pressed to leave Sinn Féin in Louth. His decision to ignore this, and re-involve himself in Sinn Féin in Belfast was reprehensible and deplorable. It should not have happened. Had I known that he was in Sinn Féin in Belfast I would have acted to have him leave the party.
Sinn Féin did not know of the allegations against Liam Adams and did nothing wrong. There was no cover-up. I sincerely regret that my colleagues have been the target of unfair and unjustifiable criticism by political opponents.
As for the allegation that I covered up. This is untrue. The statutory bodies, including the RUC, were told about this allegation in 1987. Three years ago, after my niece went to the PSNI, I made a statement to the PSNI in support of her and against my brother.
In parallel with this, my approach to dealing with family matters was guided by professional advice. And also by the experience the family had acquired in coping with my father’s abuse of family members.
The professional advice was to support the victims, protect the victims’ right to anonymity, while that was their wish, and to help bring closure and empower victims and their relatives.
I sought to do that at all times.