Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein deputy Mary Lou McDonald did sneer at me, claims IRA abuse victim Cahill

By Kevin Doyle

IRA abuse victim Mairia Cahill has backed up the Republic of Ireland's Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty's version of a Leinster House confrontation with Sinn Fein's Mary Lou McDonald.

The minister and Ms McDonald have clashed over whether the Dublin TD "sneered" at the former senator following a Dail debate on abuse in 2014.

Ms McDonald has categorically denied the allegation but Ms Cahill has now told the Irish Independent she was in the smoking area on the night in question when the pair met by chance.

"She smirked. I took it exactly how I felt it was intended. I exploded and said 'are you going to tell the truth today'.

"She said I always 'tell the truth'. She was sneering," Ms Cahill said.

In a Hot Press interview Ms Doherty was asked for her view on the deputy leader of Sinn Fein, replying: "The day we had statements on Mairia Cahill (in the Dail), Mairia was in that day with her cousin Eilis O'Hanlon, sitting up in the gallery.

"And afterwards I brought her to the smoking area and Mary Lou happened to be there and sneered at her and slagged her. Only I witnessed it myself, I don't think I would've thought it would've been possible for it to come out of her mouth."

Ms McDonald has categorically refuted the claims, describing the comments as "deeply malicious".

"I do not slag people off. If I have a difference with someone, I have it honestly and respectfully and openly. That event simply did not happen," she said.

Ms Cahill has been an outspoken critic of Sinn Fein since going public about her rape at the hands of an alleged IRA member in 1997, when she was aged just 16.

She was later forced to face her abuser at a Kangaroo court organised by IRA members.

The PSNI did bring a case against the alleged rapist but it subsequently collapsed. Ms McDonald stood firmly by Gerry Adams as he came under intense pressure over his handling of the controversy.

Mr Adams said the IRA has "long since left the scene" so there is "no corporate way of verifying" Ms Cahill's claims about an IRA investigation.

Asked about Ms McDonald denial of a confrontation, Ms Cahill told the Irish Independent: "This might be another case of selective memory for Sinn Fein.

"The one person who has been consistent in both her dealing with me and in her dealing on the abuse claims was Regina Doherty.

"I do think she came to me for no other reasons that she was trying to help and was appalled by what was happening."

Ms Cahill said Sinn Fein "lied through their teeth" after she went public.

She said there was a small group in the smoking area on the evening in November 2014 when Ms McDonald came around the corner carrying a stack of files.

Ms Cahill said the deputy smirked at her and she reacted by asking whether she was going to tell the truth in her Dail contribution.

Ms McDonald replied that she always tells the truth.

"She stayed then with a while with another member of Sinn Fein. I wasn't happy and made it known I wasn't happy about the way I was treated by her."

Ms Cahill added: "At the time the one comment that came back to me over and over was that the main shock for people in the South was how Mary Lou conducted herself during that episode.

"If anyone has damaged her reputation, it's herself.

"She has nobody to blame but herself."

by kevin doyle

Belfast Telegraph

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