Belfast Telegraph

'IRA man raped me in my own home and Sinn Fein helped cover it up'

A Belfast republican allegedly abused teenage Paudie McGahon then threatened him

By Paul Williams

A man who alleges that he was raped as a teenager by a member of the IRA, and that Sinn Fein helped to cover up the abuse, has decided to go public with his story - despite being warned that his life could be in danger.

Paudie McGahon (40) claims he was attacked by a well-known IRA volunteer in his family home in Co Louth in the early 1990s, when it was being used as a safe house for on-the-run terrorists.

The alleged abuser - a member of a prominent Belfast republican family - warned his 17-year-old victim that he would be murdered if he ever spoke of the incident.

Mr McGahon says that in 2002 he was subjected to an IRA Kangaroo court which was arranged after he told a Sinn Fein county councillor about the attack.

"I was raped in my own home by a member of the Republican movement when I was a child and then they tried to cover it up," he said.

"The man who attacked me had been hiding in our home and, when he was finished, he said, 'Listen to me, if you ever open your mouth about this to anybody, you'll be found on a border road'."

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

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

Last night, Mr McGahon confirmed that he and a number of other witnesses - including another alleged victim - have given gardai statements naming their attacker and those allegedly responsible for organising the kangaroo court.

"The cover-up was from the top to the bottom of the organisation and involved both Sinn Fein and the IRA," he claimed.

Mr McGahon said he decided to go public with his allegations following the revelations by Belfast woman Mairia Cahill which mirrored what he had experienced.

"When I read the details of the Kangaroo court Mairia Cahill faced, I couldn't believe how similar they were to my own experience," he said. He has recorded an interview for tonight's BBC Spotlight programme which first broadcast Ms Cahill's disturbing claims of being raped and the subsequent cover-up.

In the interview with reporter Jennifer O'Leary he claims:

  • a Louth Sinn Fein councillor invited him and another victim before a Kangaroo court in 2002,
  • the 'hearing' was chaired by a prominent Belfast Sinn Fein figure, and
  • deliberate efforts were made by Sinn Fein representatives to "discourage" him from reporting it to the gardai, even though it was claimed they offered to bring him to the police.

Following the 'Kangaroo court' in 2002, he alleged that another senior IRA member in Louth warned that if he went to the media or the gardai, he would be "found dead on a back road".

Mr McGahon grew up in a staunchly republican home which was regularly raided by the Garda Special Branch because it was known as a safe house.

Mr McGahon will be shown on television tonight, saying that he was told the IRA member had admitted sexually abusing a number of other boys and was in "custody".

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