Belfast Telegraph

Gardai protect family after claims made public

By Paul Williams

The man at the centre of fresh allegations of IRA child abuse and his family are to receive Garda protection following his decision to go public.

Paudie McGahon had been warned that his life would be in danger if he spoke out about being sexually assaulted as a teenager. However, the 40-year-old says he has no regrets about breaking his silence.

"My decision to come out like this took many years of agonising but in the end I could not take the injustice of how Sinn Fein tried to cover it up," Mr McGahon said. "I wanted to encourage the other victims of republican child sex abuse to come forward and expose the lies that have been told.

"I am glad that I exposed this and we have received a lot of support from politicians and members of the public in the past 24 hours. I have prepared myself for a backlash and denials from Sinn Fein," he added.

Mr McGahon and a number of other witnesses have already made statements to gardai in relation to the sexual assault and an IRA kangaroo court which was he alleges was organised by a Sinn Fein member in 2002.

Gardai have been monitoring Mr McGahon's family home in Co Louth.

He moved his wife and young children out before his interview was published yesterday.

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, who is one of Mr McGahon's TDs in the Dail, said: "I have previously acknowledged that the actions of republicans in the past in dealing with allegations of sexual abuse were inadequate and inappropriate.

But Mr McGahon reacted angrily to the comments of the Sinn Fein president.

"He is using weasel words to try and distance Sinn Fein from this but I will not be going away," he said.

Mr Adams said later: "Paudie McGahon clearly feels badly let down. Nothing that I may say will change this but it is a matter of deep regret to me.

"I hope that justice is served and support delivered to Mr McGahon."

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