Mairia Cahill: I hope report into my IRA rape ordeal will prompt others to speak out
A Belfast woman who accused the IRA of covering up her rape has said she is hopeful a report into the matter will encourage other victims to come forward.
A review of how the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) handled three cases linked to an alleged rape and IRA cover-up will be published after the election, it emerged last night.
Sir Keir Starmer has already submitted his report to Northern Ireland's Director of Public Prosecutions, Barra McGrory QC.
In a statement the PPS said: "The director is committed to publishing the report at the earliest point.
"The publication date will be finalised with Sir Keir following the general election."
Sir Keir was asked to investigate three connected cases involving sex abuse and terrorist-related charges following claims by Belfast woman Mairia Cahill.
Ms Cahill told the Belfast Telegraph last night that she hoped the report would help other victims. "I await the publication of it and hope that it is beneficial for other victims coming through the criminal justice process," she said.
Ms Cahill (33), a grand-niece of prominent republican Joe Cahill, said as a teenager in 1997 she was raped by an IRA member.
She claimed republican paramilitaries conducted their own inquiry and subjected her to interrogation before forcing her to confront her alleged attacker.
The man she accused of rape was acquitted after Ms Cahill withdrew her evidence. Charges against four others allegedly involved in the IRA's internal investigation were also dropped.
Ms Cahill also claims that the police and PPS failed to properly investigate her allegations and was highly critical of the four-year time frame to get to court.
Sir Keir, who was head of the Crown Prosecution Service in England and Wales, was asked to look at whether the PPS was at fault.
He vowed to conduct a robust review and rejected any notion it would be a box-ticking exercise.
The Cahill controversy has shone a light on how the IRA dealt with alleged sex abusers during a time when co-operation with the police in republican communities in Northern Ireland was extremely limited.
Claims the IRA moved some abusers south of the border have proved highly inflammatory in the Dail, where attention has centred on the response of Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams. Mr McGrory QC said he had commissioned the review so that, if needed, lessons could be learned.