Maíria Cahill says apology is owed over how Sinn Féin and IRA handled abuse allegations
Stephen CollinsIrish Times
16 October 2014Fianna 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.