Adams challenged on sex row ‘exile’


Published: Wednesday 22nd October 2014 by The News Editor

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Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has been challenged by the Irish Government to reveal if IRA rapists and paedophiles were exiled to the Irish Republic.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny demanded the republican leader answer allegations that alleged sexual abusers in the terror group were secretly expelled from Northern Ireland into safe houses in Dublin, Louth and Donegal and other areas.

Amid deepening controversy over the case of Belfast woman Mairia Cahill, who claims Sinn Fein covered up her allegations of rape by a suspected IRA member, Mr Kenny said her story will have serious consequences.

The Taoiseach challenged Mr Adams directly: “Are those people still here? Is this true? Do you know of any activities they are involved in now?

“These are the most serious matters for everybody. Sexual abuse was rampant in many sectors in Irish society, not alone in paramilitary organisations, but you have responsibility for this, but we need to know.”

The Taoiseach issued the demands after an hour long meeting with Ms Cahill in Government Buildings.

“I think the story Mairia Cahill has to tell is not just powerful, it will have serious consequences,” he said.

As her case garnered increased publicity over the last week Ms Cahill claimed she is aware that the IRA moved abusers out of Northern Ireland into Co Louth in the Irish Republic – Mr Adams’ constituency.

Ms Cahill, 33, from west Belfast, a former Sinn Fein member and grand-niece of one of the founders of the Provisional IRA Joe Cahill, has alleged she was raped by a suspected IRA member when she was a teenager in 1997.

In a BBC Spotlight documentary highlighting her story last week and subsequently, she further claimed that the IRA conducted its own inquiry into her allegations, subjecting her to interrogation and forcing her to confront her alleged attacker.

Ms Cahill said the handling of her abuse is finally being acknowledged by Sinn Fein.

“It’s a vindication of me,” she said.

Mr Adams insisted neither he nor Sinn Fein were involved in a cover-up of her allegations and went on to describe people alleged to have been involved in the IRA’s internal investigation into her allegations as “decent”.

In an extraordinary 15 minutes in the Dail parliament, Mr Adams did not address the specific question of exiled abusers.

Mr Kenny claimed Ms Cahill’s story involved the leadership of the Provos and he offered to meet the republicans identified by her in the documentary.

“The most powerful people in the IRA conspired in this and I think it is reprehensible that a young woman of this courage and bravery should be kicked about in the last week,” he said.

The Taoiseach repeated claims that a number of other alleged victims of IRA abuse had contacted Ms Cahill with their stories.

He compared the IRA’s handling of abuse cases and moving suspected abusers to other jurisdictions with past practice in the Catholic Church.

“These very much mirrored in what has happened here with IRA sexual abusers who were members of Sinn Fein,” he said.

Mr Adams repeated his assertions made earlier this week that the IRA sought to deal with some allegations of abuse in some areas when the organisation was approached by families.

“I am acutely conscious that there may be victims who were let down or failed by the IRA’s inability to resolve these cases … I want to apologise to these victims,” he said.

Mr Adams appealed for anyone with allegations to go to the authorities.

“To cover up child abuse is to deny the basic humanity of the victim and to shield the perpetrator, it is an unthinkable act of cruelty. Sinn Fein has not engaged in a cover-up of child abuse,” he said.

Ms Cahill has questioned why the producers of the programme were forced to fight an injunction in the courts before it went to air.

The man she accused of rape was acquitted of criminal charges in court last April after Ms Cahill withdrew from the trial in dispute with the direction the police investigation and the Public Prosecution Service had taken in not calling a witness. Ms Cahill reiterated her allegations of abuse at the time.

Charges were dropped against those allegedly involved in the IRA’s internal inquiry.

In the wake of the controversy surrounding Ms Cahill’s allegations, an independent review of three criminal cases linked to the alleged abuse has been ordered by Northern Ireland’s Director of Public Prosecutions Barra McGrory.

Mr McGrory said the independent review will look at the “prosecutorial systems and processes” in relation to the three interlinked cases involving sex abuse and terrorist-related charges.

Ms Cahill said: “I felt badly let down by the justice system.”

The Irish parliament is to debate the controversy and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald will hold talks with Stormont Justice Minister David Ford over the case.

A parliamentary committee has also signalled it may inquire into Ms Cahill’s case and call her and Mr Adams.

Sinn Fein’s justice spokesman in the Irish parliament Padraig MacLochlainn, a member of the committee, claimed it had repeatedly refused to deal with allegations of corruption and botched policing in a raft of serious cases including murders.

He claims more than 200 cases have been brought to the attention of the Government but no meetings or hearings have been convened.

Mr Adams admitted in a blog earlier this week that the IRA had shot alleged sex abusers, insisting that its members were “singularly ill-equipped to deal with these matters”.

Published: Wednesday 22nd October 2014 by The News Editor

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