Belfast Telegraph

Fury over Mairia Cahill being directed at innocent people: Martin McGuinness

By Niall O'Connor

The IRA figure alleged to have raped Mairia Cahill before confronting her in a kangaroo court has "disappeared into the smoke", according to Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness.

The Deputy First Minister yesterday claimed that people "who were not involved in the sexual abuse" of Ms Cahill are now the subject of too much focus.

"I think that's a mistake," Mr McGuinness said.

The former IRA commander refused to apologise to Ms Cahill for the IRA's handling of her abuse allegation.

While expressing sympathy with the young mother and other abuse victims, Mr McGuinness told the Irish Independent that he did not feel he could say sorry on behalf of an organisation which he says is no longer in existence.

He added that the man alleged to have raped Ms Cahill when she was aged just 16 appears to have vanished. "The IRA is gone. I can't speak on behalf of an organisation that doesn't exist anymore," Mr McGuinness said.

"I suppose the sad thing about the Mairia Cahill case is the alleged abuser has disappeared into the smoke and people are focusing their concentration on people who were not involved in sexual abuse of Mairia Cahill and I think that's a mistake,"

The Sinn Fein representative added that he has "no knowledge whatsoever" of abusers who were moved to the Republic by the IRA.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny confirmed yesterday that the establishment of a cross-border inquiry into IRA sexual abuse and the alleged movement of abusers to the Republic is being considered.

He said a Dail debate held two weeks ago stemmed from Ms Cahill's "courage and conviction".

Mr Kenny proposed a "dual system" with powers to compel witnesses. He said he intends to hold "frank" talks with Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams on the IRA abuse scandal.

Mr Adams claimed this week that a list of alleged offenders was posted into his letter box in west Belfast and that these names have been passed on to the gardai.

Background

Mairia Cahill is the grand-niece of Provisional IRA founder Joe Cahill. The 33-year-old alleges she was raped by a prominent member of the IRA when she was just 16 years old. The Belfast woman went to the police in 2010, however, the case collapsed in 2012 when she withdrew her evidence. However, earlier this month the Public Prosecution Service said it was reviewing the Cahill case. Mairia's case has been discussed in Stormont and the Dail.

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