Belfast Telegraph

IRA abuse claims: There are many more sex victims like Paudie, Mairia Cahill tells Sinn Fein

By Deborah McAleese

A rape victim who has strongly challenged Sinn Fein over how it handled her allegations against a prominent republican has spoken of her upset after a second alleged victim broke his silence.

Mairia Cahill said she was challenging Sinn Fein to reveal how many IRA rape cases were covered up after the second victim came forward.

Ms Cahill, whose explosive allegations of sexual abuse by an IRA member and Sinn Fein cover-up sent shockwaves through the republican movement, claimed the party could not continue to deny how far it went to protect abusers.

"I am highly distressed that another victim has had to go through this. There are many more victims and Sinn Fein need to admit it. They have refused to answer specific questions in my case and they have refused to answer specific questions in the second case," Ms Cahill said.

The second alleged sex abuse victim, Paudie McGahon, claimed he was raped by a member of the IRA in the early 1990s when he was 17.

Mr McGahon, from Co Louth, told BBC Spotlight he was subjected to an IRA "kangaroo court" in 2002 after a Sinn Fein representative was told of the allegations. His revelations mirror what Ms Cahill claimed had happened to her.

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said that the party will support victims in their efforts to get truth and justice.

"We believe that all victims of abuse should be supported to access the justice system and social services and that the most appropriate bod ies to deal with these allegations are the gardai and social services," he said.

Mr Adams added that he has "previously acknowledged that the actions of republicans in the past in dealing with allegations of sexual abuse were inadequate and inappropriate".

He said that Mr McGahon "clearly feels badly let down" and that it is a "matter of deep regret to me".

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

A major Garda investigation was launched last year after the unemployed father-of-three reported the rape and alleged subsequent cover-up.

Detectives are investigating two potential criminal offences - sexual assault and an attempt to pervert the course of justice.

Mr McGahon has claimed a Sinn Fein councillor invited him and another victim before a kangaroo court in 2002.

He said the 'hearing' was chaired by prominent Belfast Sinn Fein figure Padraic Wilson, who has denied the allegation.

In a statement released through his solicitor Mr Wilson said: "I do not know nor have I ever met Mr McGahon. I have had no dealings whatsoever with the man he alleges raped him.

"As a victim of alleged abuse Mr McGahon has every right to have his allegations pursued through due process. But I refute entirely the allegations that he has made against me."

He also said that through his legal representative he previously offered to voluntarily attend for questioning "to clear up this matter" and his position remains the same.

Profile

West Belfast woman Mairia Cahill, the grand-niece of top IRA man Joe Cahill, claimed she was sexually abused as a teenager by an IRA member and that the republican movement covered it up. Ms Cahill said she was attacked and raped by an activist from the age of 16 for a period of 12 months in 1997. Rather than allow her to tell the police, she claimed she was instead summoned to an IRA internal inquiry.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph