Belfast Telegraph

Eastwood makes appeal to Sinn Fein - 'Tell us if child abusers and rapists are living in our communities'

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has issued a direct appeal to the republican movement to let the public know if any other child abusers or rapists are freely living and working in Northern Ireland.

Mr Eastwood was speaking after a Police Ombudsman Report revealed that IRA abuse victim Mairia Cahill had been let down by the justice system.

In 2010, Ms Cahill, originally from west Belfast, told police she had been sexually abused from 1997 to 1998, when she was aged 16, and was later subjected to an IRA ‘investigation’. Two other women said they had been abused as children by the same man.

Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire found that the RUC had information about the alleged abuse 10 years before Ms Cahill’s report — but did not act.

Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald has apologised to Ms Cahill following the report but Ms Cahill dismissed the apology as "woefully inadequate".

She called on Sinn Fein to admit that she had been telling the truth about her case from the beginning.

Speaking following the revelations Mr Eastwood said that other cases of abuse may have been covered up by the IRA.

“When we look at the Mairia Cahill case, the Liam Adams case and the Paudie McGahon case, it is clear that the IRA had a policy of protecting abusers and relocating them to different areas across Ireland," the Foyle MLA said.

"It is now time for Sinn Fein to tell the public and the police if they are aware of any other abusers living in our communities."

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