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Mairia Cahill 'lays a few ghosts to rest' and lambasts IRA during festival lecture

By Christopher Woodhouse

Published 03/08/2015

Mairia Cahill was given a standing ovation
Mairia Cahill was given a standing ovation
Mairia Cahill was given a standing ovation

Mairia Cahill has said she "laid to rest a few ghosts" after blasting the IRA investigation into her claims of sex abuse during a lecture at the West Belfast Festival.

The high-profile campaigner, who claims she was abused as a teenager by prominent republican Martin Morris, spoke of her experience in a talk in St Mary's College on the Falls Road on Saturday.

Ms Cahill claims the abuse happened as she was working at the radio station associated with the festival in 1997.

Delivering the Gerry Conlon Summer Memorial Lecture, chaired by SDLP MLA Alex Attwood, Ms Cahill directly addressed the alleged IRA figures who interrogated her over her allegations of abuse.

"I know that those IRA people will hear this. Do you think that you helped?" she said. "You remember, I imagine, the look of fright on my face as you told me you were investigating my abuse.

"You will remember me turn white with fear and remember me sitting monosyllabic at times.

"One of you will remember driving me in the car away from the flat that night and stopping the car sharply so that I could be sick by the side of the road."

She added: "You had absolutely no right to involve yourselves in my life. That, in any normal person's definition, is not help - it's torture."

"Tonight, by being able to read that to you all, I have been able to lay to rest a few ghosts - the ghost of me always associating my abuse with this festival and this time of year."

Instead of letting her report her claims to social services, the IRA conducted their own investigation and forced her to confront her alleged abuser. Three trials into Ms Cahill's allegations have collapsed after she withdrew her evidence and Martin Morris was acquitted of all charges.

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