The arrest of IRA Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams for questioning in the 1972 murder of a widow is a new twist in the career of a political figure praised by American politicians for his role in the Northern Ireland Peace Process during the 1990s. The Peace Process was championed by then-President Bill Clinton, and American efforts were directed by former Senator George Mitchell.
Both Protestant and Catholic factions in Northern Ireland were represented at the talks. Most controversial, however, was the involvement of Gerry Adams, who served as the head of Sinn Fein, the political arm of the IRA. Great Britain was adamantly opposed to his involvement, arguing that he was indirectly connected to the IRA, a terrorist organization.
Yet the Clinton administration pushed for Adams’s involvement. When Clinton granted the Sinn Fein leader a visa to enter the United States in 1994, then-British Prime Minister John Major was “incandescent with rage” and snubbed Clinton for weeks, refusing to take his calls.
An agreement in 1998 brought a Nobel Peace Prize which was awarded to political leaders from both sides. The Nobel Committee singled out politicians David Trimble and John Hume for their efforts. However, when former President Bill Clinton congratulated the winners, he also also added that without Gerry Adams the deal would not have been secured, implying that Adams should have been granted the prize, too.
More recently, Adams’s violent past and apparent involvement in terrorist acts have come to the surface. It was ex-IRA Belfast commander Brendan Hughes who implicated Adams in the murder of widow Jean McConville, whom IRA terrorists accused as a unionist informant. According to Hughes, it was Adams who gave the execution order to kill the Irish mother of ten children. Adams was also accused of arranging for the secret burial of the mother in 1972.
Adams has repeatedly denied that he was ever in the IRA, claiming his actions were only political in nature, but there are numerous reports from IRA officials who contradict his denials.
Gerry Adams has also been accused of covering up pedophile allegations against his brother Liam Adams. Liam was Sinn Fein’s senior official in Louth and was charged with repeatedly raping a four-year-old girl. Gerry Adams and Sinn Fein claimed that they had expelled Liam from the party over the charges, but recent media reports in Belfast demonstrate that was simply not the case. Indeed, Gerry continued to campaign on behalf of his brother, and photographs of them smiling together were published. The Belfast Telegraph called it “a cover up that rivals anything the Catholic Church could conduct.”