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Republic's politicians playing politics over Mairia Cahill

IN the wake of the Mairia Cahill affair, Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin called for a cross-border commission to be established to examine how Sinn Fein and the IRA dealt with abuse cases during the Troubles. Mr Martin said allegations of a cover-up demand a wider response.

This suggestion from Micheal Martin may well be worth exploring if it was to include the movement back and forth across the border of the abused Bethany Home and Westbank Orphanage children. Indeed, former residents of these institutions have been calling for a north-south inquiry for some years.

Both the Irish Government's and Micheal Martin's seeming indifference to the call from Bethany and Westbank abuse victims could be reversed, alongside Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers' refusal to include the notorious Kincora Boys' Home in Belfast in the northern abuse inquiry.

Theresa Villiers has announced that allegations of paedophilia at Kincora will not be covered by the historic child abuse inquiry - in spite of calls from Amnesty International.

It has long been alleged that well-known figures in the British Establishment, including senior politicians, were involved in the abuse of vulnerable boys living in the infamous facility in east Belfast in the 1970s.

The alacrity with which politicians have jumped on Mairia Cahill's story, while ignoring other examples of abuse, leaves us with the impression that Cahill's experience is being played out for its full political value.

Fianna Fail and Fine Gael seem to have forgotten something about the electorate: we may be sometimes gullible, but we are not stupid.

TOM COOPER

Dublin

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