Piece by piece, the Sinn Fein mountain of lies is starting to crumble, says alleged rape victim
The IRA tried to hide up to 30 cases of sex abuse by moving the paramilitary perpetrators to other parts of Ireland, it has been claimed.
Mairia Cahill said the republican movement was involved in a cover-up of the sexual abuse she claims to have suffered at the hands of an IRA member.
Ms Cahill told a BBC programme that republicans had responded to her allegations of rape by interrogating her and imposing a code of silence to protect the republican movement.
She also claimed the IRA brought her face to face with the man she accused in 1997 of sexually abusing her as a teenager. Her alleged abuser denied the allegations, and was later acquitted in court.
But now Ms Cahill has warned that there are many other cases – and claims the IRA has placed children around Ireland in danger.
The Belfast woman is to hand over a dossier she has compiled to First Minister Peter Robinson today. She said: "I will show Peter Robinson evidence that Sinn Fein and the IRA internally investigated sexual abuse perpetrated by republicans, moved these people around the country, and in doing so put children at risk."
She believes there are at least 30 victims on the island who had their cases hushed up by the Provisionals.
"Piece by piece, the Sinn Fein mountain of lies is crumbling," she wrote on Twitter yesterday.
Since appearing on the BBC Spotlight programme, Ms Cahill has conducted several media interviews and believes the pressure on Sinn Fein to come clean is increasing.
"Sinn Fein should take responsibility for this whole affair. They have provided the political cover for the IRA for years. It's time for them to stop and think, and admit the whole sorry, shameful episode, and the hurt they have caused to me and my family by denying it," she wrote.
Speaking to Sunday Life, she said she had reported up to 30 republicans she suspected of child abuse to the authorities. One case reportedly involves the brother of a Sinn Fein politician.
She said Sinn Fein should "cleanse itself" by telling the truth about the abuse.
"There are other victims out there listening to all this and being retraumatised because of Sinn Fein's refusal to admit what has happened. If they will admit what has happened, if they will cleanse themselves, maybe people can get on with their lives," wrote Ms Cahill, a grand-niece of Provisional IRA founder Joe Cahill.
"Right now Sinn Fein is putting victims through hell." Ms Cahill claims the IRA investigated cases of sexual abuse in Belfast, Londonderry and Dublin and said she believed each abuser could have more than one victim. She said she passed on the information to the relevant authorities.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that Sinn Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald made contact via Twitter with Ms Cahill on Friday.
It is understood she asked for further details to "get in touch", but Ms Cahill said she saw "no point" in pursuing the matter on this basis. Elsewhere, Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin claimed a culture of "omerta" existed within Sinn Fein.
In a clear reference to the party's historic links with the Provos, he said this was stopping members from speaking out against "darker elements" from its past.
Addressing the annual Fianna Fail Wolfe Tone Commemoration in Bodenstown, Co Kildare, he claimed so-called "modern faces" within Sinn Fein were "happy to collude" in this approach. He said it was all part of a strategy to undermine Ms Cahill.
And West Belfast SDLP MLA Alex Attwood said: "The continued strength and resilience of Mairia Cahill requires a singular response – all should stand with her and with all others abused by terror groups.
"The continued denial and code of silence from people across the republican movement is as appalling as it is typical."