THE brave daughter of IRA rape fiend Liam Adams has welcomed his 16 year sentence for a litany of sex crimes against her.
But Aine Dalstrom added: “It is still too little, too late.”
Liam Adams, a brother of Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams, was jailed at Belfast Crown Court today for 16 years for raping and sexually abusing Aine.
However, his sentence is subject to an automatic 50 per cent remission.
He will only be freed if jailhouse Parole Commissioners believe he is ready to be returned to society.
Adams, 58, from Bernagh Drive, Belfast, was convicted of ten offences in October, including rape and gross indecency, against his daughter, Áine, who waived her right to anonymity.
Aine Dalstrom (nee Adams) left court with family and friends but did not speak to waiting press reporters.
Instead, she later issued a statement about the sentence through her solicitors.
The statement said: “She has asked us to indicate her absolute relief that this nightmare seems at last to be coming to an end.
“This case has been ongoing with the police since 1986, and more recently has involved extradition proceedings in Dublin and two lengthy trials at Laganside Crown Court.
“This has put herself and her family and friends under the most enormous strain.
“She welcomes the jury’s findings of guilt, the sentence as imposed by the learned judge and has asked us to emphasise that all she ever sought was an acknowledgement of the many wrongs done against her.”
Deputy Belfast Recorder Judge Corinne Philpott QC described the abuse as the “greatest imaginable breach of trust”.
She said the evidence clearly established that Adams “used this child for his own sexual gratification, whenever he had the opportunity”, particularly when he was angry or drunk.
The abuse was committed over a six-year period between 1977 and 1983 when his daughter was aged between four and nine.
Former IRA man Adams consistently denied the charges throughout a two-week trial.
However, a jury of nine men and three women at the second trial convicted Adams on all charges, following four hours of deliberation, with a majority verdict of eleven to one.
The first trial collapsed in April for legal reasons.
Adams is eligible for automatic 50% remission because that was the sentencing guideline that applied at the time of the offences.
He will spend a further two years on probation after his sentence finishes.
The judge said Adams’ indecent assault, gross indecency and rape of his daughter at the age of five when her mother was in hospital giving birth to her baby brother Connor in May 1978 was “the most serious aspect of his offending”.
She said this was “because of her age at the time and the circumstances of when the abuse took place and its nature and degree”.
She said that after raping his daughter, Adams then carried her crying, in a blanket, to her grandparents who lived nearby.
The judge said that “even as a young child” during the five years of abuse, Áine understood, “that what was happening to her was wrong, but that she did not understand why her father was doing it to her”.
The judge said she regarded the aggravating features in the case to include, Áine’s young age, the great breach of trust involved, the nature and extent of the indignities to which she was subjected and the effect it has had on her.
There were “three matters of mitigation” in Adams’ favour, she said – his ill-health, the lack of any relevant or significant criminal record, and that no other allegations of sex abuse had been made against him in the last 20 years.
As part of Adams’ sentence, he was placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life, and banned from working with children and vulnerable adults.
It will be 2021 at the earliest before his released when he will be aged 66.
He is presently housed in a secure wing for fear he will be attacked by other inmates in Maghaberry prison.