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16th-Oct-2014 08:02 pm - Adams accused of ‘despicable behaviour’ over abuse claims
Maíria Cahill says apology is owed over how Sinn Féin and IRA handled abuse allegations

Stephen Collins
Irish Times
16 October 2014

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin joined a victim of sexual abuse today in accusing Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams of “despicable behaviour” in denying her account of how she was treated by the republican movement.

Belfast woman Maíria Cahill met Mr Martin at Leinster House today in the wake of the BBC Spotlight programme which detailed how she was raped in 1997 while a teenager and later and later interrogated by the IRA about her case.

Maria Cahill speaking at Leinster House today with Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin. (Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins)

Both later spoke to the media after Mr Adams had gone on RTE’s “News at One” to deny Ms Cahill’s claim that he forced her to confront her alleged rapist, a senior republican.

In response Ms Cahill said: “I am appalled. Gerry knows the truth. He knows I know the truth. I have been forced into the position where I have had to waive my anonymity because of his previous denials on that issue and I think that is reprehensible.”

She commended the Spotlight programme for making the documentary about her case.

“I also think that Gerry not only owes the victims across the board an apology for how the IRA and Sinn Féin handled this issue. He also owes Micheál Martin a public apology because he called it a ‘new low’ after he raised this issue in 2012.

“And his party colleague Pearse Doherty came out and said those claims were unfounded and untrue. And I think at this point Sinn Féin needs to come out and say that the IRA internally investigated sex abuse cases that Sinn Féin members were involved in some cases in that.”

Ms Cahill said that very prominent senior figures in Sinn Féin including Gerry Adams who was an MP at the time learned of her allegations. “Gerry had a duty to report that to the police and he did not do so.”

She said there were other women and men who had been treated in the same way. “I have met with victims in similar situations and I also have met with former senior Provisional members of the IRA who confirmed that they internally investigated cases of abuse. I think at this point it is completely ludicrous of Sinn Féin to keep denying the issue.”

She also pointed to the fact that Mary Lou McDonald had previously called on anybody within the Catholic Church who had been found to have covered up abuse to be arrested and prosecuted and face the full rigours of the law.

Gerry Adams and Mary Lou McDonald (Photo: Independent.ie)

“I am challenging Mary Lou McDonald to come out again and call on those members within Sinn Féin currently, and I don’t think there is any doubt about this, who have been found to have covered up cases of child sexual abuse to be arrested, prosecuted and face the full rigours of the law. Nobody should be above the law on this issue.”

Ms Cahill said it was important that she had live witnesses who can corroborate it. “Gerry has chosen two dead people and I think that is absolutely reprehensible given his close relationship with those two people. That he has told lies about them and he has lied about me and he clearly has trouble with some aspects of his memory and it is not just on this issue but on other issues in the past just like he denies his membership of the IRA which I also know not to be true.
16th-Oct-2014 11:40 am - Cahill allegations of rape may result in others emerging

Analysis: BBC programme puts focus on Sinn Féin response to allegations about IRA man

Gerry Moriarty
Irish Times
16 October 2014

The BBC Spotlight programme about Maíria Cahill cast a double focus – on her as the alleged victim of an IRA rape and “interrogation”; and on the IRA, Sinn Féin and Gerry Adams in how they addressed the issue of alleged sexual abuse by republicans.

As is often the case in these matters, it is down to whom people believe. Again as in such matters there were many claims and counterclaims.

Sinn Féin head Gerry Adams, once again embroiled in a sexual abuse cover-up (Photo: Alan Betson)

What cannot be denied is that Ms Cahill made a strong and articulate case. She alleged that, aged 16, she was subjected to rape and sexual abuse by an IRA member that went on for about a year.

When this came to the attention of the IRA, Ms Cahill claimed that in effect she suffered a double form of abuse at the hands of an IRA “kangaroo court”, testing whether she or her alleged assailant was telling the truth. That inquiry could not make up its mind who to believe.

Ms Cahill comes from what was called republican “royalty” because she is a grandniece of Joe Cahill, founder of the Provisional IRA, a friend of Adams and an important figure in bringing the troops from “war” to ceasefire. So, senior republicans were picked to test her allegations.

For years, Ms Cahill carried the weight of that alleged experience, resulting in recourse to alcohol and two failed suicide attempts. She said it was only in 2009, when she saw the UTV programme on the proven sexual abuse by Liam Adams of his daughter Áine, that she decided to take the case to the police.

Acquitted

Her alleged abuser was charged, as were those allegedly involved in the IRA inquiry into her claims. Ms Cahill said that, in the end, she was not capable of giving evidence in court, with the result that all those implicated were acquitted. The counterclaim by the defendants was that her evidence would not stand up in court.

Ms Cahill said she was unhappy it took so long – four years – for the Police Service of Northern Ireland and prosecution to bring the case to trial. The police ombudsman is investigating how police handled the case.

Legally, that’s where matters lie. But this is a story that may develop. Ms Cahill said last night she had been contacted by women who allegedly suffered abuse by IRA members, numbering in “double figures”. They too, it is claimed, were told to keep quiet. Some may now go public as Ms Cahill did, exposing more poison from the past.
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