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Mairia Cahill refused witness protection

By David Raleigh and Kevin Doyle

Published 15/02/2016

Rape victim Mairia Cahill
Rape victim Mairia Cahill
Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams

IRA abuse victim Mairia Cahill has revealed she rejected the opportunity of going into a witness protection programme as part of her attempts to have the man accused of raping her prosecuted.

The west Belfast woman , who was raped as a 16-year-old by an IRA member, said she rejected a witness protection scheme as she didn't want to have to change her identity and leave the country.

Ms Cahill, now an Irish senator, was responding to Sinn Fein's suggestion that a witness protection style system could be put in place for jurors if the Republic's non-jury Special Criminal Court was abolished.

"I was offered witness protection as a victim in my case and refused it," she said.

Last week, it was reported that the ex-IRA boss who told Sinn Fein representatives what to say on the Cahill sex-abuse scandal had stepped down from his party position. In his memo, Bobby Storey directed all the party's reps, from town councillors to TDs and MEPs: "Party activists should refrain from making any comment on social media sites or in any other way around the issue of the sexual abuse of Mairia Cahill."

Bobby Storey is believed to have quit his position as Sinn Fein's northern chairman last month.

He has been replaced by Martin 'Duckster' Lynch, Gerry Adams's former chauffeur and bodyguard and another ex-IRA member.

Meanwhile, Mr Adams has claimed people should not be worried about the possibility of a former IRA man becoming Irish justice minister following the forthcoming General Election in the Republic.

When asked if the public should be concerned about a former IRA member being appointed as the Republic's defence or justice minister, Mr Adams drew bizarre parallels with former Irish leaders Eamon de Valera and Sean Lemass, who both figured in the Easter Rising and War of Independence.

"No, [not] anymore than they would be concerned about it being Eamon de Valera. Or Frank Aiken, or Sean Lemass. Or Gerry Kelly, or Martin McGuinness in their time in the north," Mr Adams said on RTEs This Week.

Elsewhere, a relative of Detective Garda Jerry McCabe, who was killed by the IRA 20 years ago this June, has called for Sinn Fein to support the arrest and extradition of two men who were part of the six-man IRA gang that carried out the ambush in Adare, Co Limerick, in 1996.

Pat Kearney, a brother-in-law of Mr McCabe, has described as "shameful" Sinn Fein's calls to abolish the Special Criminal Court in Dublin - which tried and convicted four IRA members for the McCabe killing.

But two IRA members are still on the run 20 years later.

"Jerry McCabe was targeted by six men who ambushed him. He was shot dead. Ben O'Sullivan was hit by 11 bullets, and by the grace of God, has survived," Mr Kearney said.

"Four men were apprehended and sentenced. Two men are still on the loose. I don't hear Sinn Fein asking for those two men to be located and extradited back into Ireland to face trial.

"One of them was supposed to be in Spain, the other in South America."

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