Gerry Adams' niece accuses him of covering up sex abuse scandal. Pictured Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams and his brother LiamGoogle Images

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has told a court his brother, Liam, admitted sexually abusing his daughter.

Liam Adams is charged with 10 counts of sexually abusing his daughter Aine. Now 40, she has waived her right to anonymity, which she is entitled to in law, and chosen to go public. Her father denies all the charges.

At the trial in Belfast, Gerry Adams in four hours of evidence said that he had several walks with his brother. During one of them, Liam acknowledged he had abused Aine, but said that it had only happened once.

The Sinn Fein president said that Liam made the alleged admission during a long walk in the rain in Dundalk, Co. Louth, in 2000.

“We had a number of conversations,” Gerry Adams said. “During the course of that he acknowledged that he had sexually abused Aine. He said it only happened the once.

“To the best of my recollection the terms that he used were that he had molested her or that he had interfered with her, that he had sexually assaulted her.”  

Adams said he first confronted his brother about the alleged abuse during a meeting in Buncrana, Co. Donegal, in 1987. At time Liam denied the allegations.

At one stage Ciaran Murphy, counsel for the prosecution, asked Gerry Adams to outline the language his brother used when he made the alleged admission.

He said, “To the best of my recollection the terms that he used were that he had molested her or that he had interfered with her, that he had sexually assaulted her.”

Adams denied that he had threatened to hit his brother with a hammer if the allegations were true.

Under cross examination, Adams said that initially he knew nothing of his niece’s specific claims of rape against her father and that this remained the situation “for 20 years.”

Adams was asked by defense counsel Eilis McDermott why he had not told detectives about his brother’s alleged admission until a month before a television program relating to the child abuse claims was to be aired.

She said, “I am suggesting that the reason you made this statement was to save your political skin.”

Adams replied, “If I had been interested in saving my political skin I would not have got involved with the process at the beginning. I tried to fulfill my responsibility as an uncle to a young woman I am very fond of. This is above politics, and saving my political skin had no consideration in any of these matters.”

Liam Adams, 57, from Bearnagh Drive, Belfast, denies 10 charges of sexual abuse, including rape, indecent assault and gross indecency, against his daughter between 1977 and 1983 when she was aged between four and nine.

The trial continues.