Gerry Adams dodges the real issues with his cryptic responses over IRA abuse claims
Maeve Sheehan looks at the Sinn Fein chief’s confusing doublespeak over IRA allegations, cynically ‘believing’ their accounts of rape, but casting doubt on their reports of the kangaroo courts that followed
Last October 14, 2014, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams suggested he didn't believe that Mairia Cahill was subjected to a "kangaroo court," but left himself an "out" when he said: "The allegation of an IRA investigation was subject to a police investigation and court case. Charges were brought against four people and all four were acquitted. However, if there was an IRA investigation, as Mairia has alleged, then that was totally wrong."
On October 19, he admitted there were such "IRA investigations": "The IRA on occasion shot alleged sex offenders or expelled them. While this may have been expedient at the time it was not appropriate. Victims were left without the necessary social service support and abusers without supervision. It ultimately failed victims and the community alike. That is a matter of profound regret for me, and many other republicans."
On October 22, he parked this admission, and returned to discrediting Mairia Cahill's account of a "kangaroo court":
"The Taoiseach has heard Mairia Cahill's story. All those from Sinn Fein who have met Mairia Cahill accept and acknowledge she was abused and traumatised. She then put a particular version of what occurred. These are not nameless, anonymous people. These are decent people."
Cut to March 11, 2015, the morning after Paudie McGahon's BBC Spotlight programme and Mr Adams tried to take the same tack as he did with Mairia Cahill, when speaking on Morning Ireland.
"I believe he was raped, yes."
Asked if he believed Paudie McGahon was subjected to an internal inquiry, he said: "I don't know."
Mr Adams would later put out a statement "encouraging" victims of abuse to come forward, promising that they would have the "full support of Sinn Fein".
On RTE's Six One News on Wednesday night, Bryan Dobson put it to him that he knew the identity of Paudie McGahon's abuser "at that stage" - referring to 2009 when the then Sinn Fein TD, Arthur Morgan, first told him about the case.
"Yes, well... I'm aware of the identity of the alleged abuser. I have been working with the gardai on some of these outstanding cases..."
The next day, Mr Adams put out a statement on Sinn Fein's website to suggest that he didn't know the abuser's identity in 2009:
"Last November, I asked anyone with information regarding abuse to bring that forward and I offered to pass that on to the relevant authorities. I received a number of names anonymously. While I was unaware of the name of Paudie McGahon's alleged abuser it now turns out his name was on that list."
His reply echoed the disparity in what he told a radio interviewer on January 28, and what he told the Dail on March 3, about the identity of the murderers of Paul Quinn, who was beaten to death in Monaghan. Asked by LMFM were the culprits in the IRA, he replied:
"First of all, I don't know. That's the truth of it. I'm not going to speculate. No names have been suggested to me."
On March 3, he appeared to know exactly who they were when he spoke at Leaders Questions in the Dail:
"Those involved are a small number of criminals who are responsible over the years for the killing of volunteer Keith Rogers, the beating to death of Paul Quinn, the murder of Garda Adrian Donohoe and the wounding of Michael Bellew recently. They have also threatened the lives of Conor Murphy MP and another republican family, the Carraghers."
Back to RTE's Six One News last Wednesday, and Mr Adams struggled to explain to Bryan Dobson why he didn't go to gardai with what Arthur Morgan had told him in 2009:
"Because Mr McGahon was an adult, was obviously a person who understandably was deeply traumatised, didn't want to do that."
In the next breath, he suggested it is his duty to go to the gardai. When Mr Dobson noted that Mr Adams gave gardai the list of names put through his letterbox in November, he said:
"Yes, and I will continue to do that as an elected representative and a citizen."
So why didn't he do this in 2009, Mr Dobson asked.
"I didn't deal with this case directly, I was simply briefed. I was advised that he didn't want to go to the gardai..."
Mr Dobson asked if he had a duty to go to his "extensive contacts" and find out where the perpetrator is.
Mr Adams didn't answer directly but later said:
"It is not Sinn Fein's responsibility to investigate historical abuse cases. It is An Garda Siochana's job."
But in the statement posted on Sinn Fein's website on Thursday, he denied that his party was "holding back".
"I also refute the claim that Sinn Fein is holding back information. There is no rationale or logic to this.
"I want all of these issues dealt with. If individuals have information they should bring it forward."
Adams accused of failing to report child abuse, not once, not twice but three times... that we know of
In 1987, Gerry Adams' niece Aine, accompanied by her mother, met Gerry Adams in Buncrana, Co Donegal, to tell him that she had been abused by her father, Liam. However, Gerry Adams didn't tell social services or the gardai about the accusations against his brother. He admitted that his brother made a "partial confession" to him about the abuse in 2000. Aine reported the abuse to police in 2006 but Adams still didn't tell the police about his brother's admission. He finally reported his brother's confession of abuse to the police in 2009, one month before UTV was due to interview him for a documentary about the abuse suffered by Aine Adams. When the Irish Post asked him if he regretted not coming forward sooner, he replied: "No I don't. The police had copious statements from Aine, detailed statements from Aine, plus whatever evidence was given... This was an adult dealing with this issue in a particular way... Until Aine went back to the PSNI, this was a family matter."
In 2000, Mairia Cahill told of several meetings she had with Gerry Adams. She told him she was abused by an IRA member when she was 16 and was later subjected to a kangaroo court. She said she told Adams about the abuse. Adams claimed she didn't want to go to the police, and he did not report the abuse either. This was the sum of what he did: "When I learned of the allegation that Mairia was the victim of rape I asked her granduncle Joe Cahill, a senior and widely respected republican, to advise her to go to the RUC. He did this but Mairia did not want to do so at that time." Mairia reported the abuse to the PSNI in 2010.
In 2002, Paudie McGahon told his local Sinn Fein representative how he was raped by an IRA man. The IRA held a kangaroo court, and his abuser was "expelled". When the abuser returned to the area in 2008, Paudie went to Arthur Morgan, his local Sinn Fein TD, twice. Morgan wrote Paudie a letter, advising him to go to the gardai and offering to go with him. In 2009, Morgan told Gerry Adams about McGahon's allegations. Neither Adams nor Morgan reported these allegations to the gardai at the time. Adams only did so in recent months when, under scrutiny for his actions on child abuse, he gave a list of alleged IRA abusers which had been dropped through his letterbox in Belfast to gardai. He has claimed in recent days that he has since learned that the name of Paudie's abuser was included on that list.