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IRA sex attacker could have fled Ireland, says abuse victim

The Belfast IRA member suspected of sexually abusing Paudie McGahon and other children while hiding in Provo safe houses is being protected from the gardai by republicans, his victim believes.

Gardai investigating the allegations by Mr McGahon and a second man want to arrest the former terrorist, but have not yet been able to locate him.

It is understood that the north Belfast IRA man went to ground in March shortly after Mr McGahon went public with his claims about the abuse and of a subsequent cover-up by Sinn Fein.

The abuser was unemployed and had been living in the Republic for several years, with addresses in Louth and Dublin.

It is understood that gardai have not ruled out the possibility that the IRA member may have left Ireland using a false passport.

Mr McGahon this weekend said he believed that his attacker was still being protected by the republican movement, despite claims by Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams that the abuser would be handed over to the authorities.

"He is being financially supported by these people. If he has left the country with a false passport that would require a lot of planning and money as well," he said.

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The father-of-three from Ardee, Co Louth, also revealed he had been the victim of verbal abuse and sexually explicit insults by a number of known Sinn Fein supporters since he first went public with his allegations. Gardai interviewed one man after he hurled abuse and threats at Mr McGahon on the street on St Patrick's Day.

The victim was also warned that republicans were "trying to dig dirt" about his private life in an effort to discredit him.

The abuse victim's revelations earlier this year seriously damaged Sinn Fein amid a raft of accusations that the party has covered up dozens of child sex abuse cases involving IRA members during the Troubles.

Mr McGahon revealed how he and a second abuse victim were subjected to a kangaroo court in his family house in Co Louth after the men brought their allegations to Sinn Fein councillor Pearse McGeough.

Gardai launched a major investigation into Mr McGahon's claims and are understood to be making progress in the case.

It is understood that a number of properties have been visited by investigators, including the former McGahon family home where the IRA man was in hiding when the rapes took place in the early 1990s.

Sources also revealed that several people have been interviewed, including members of the McGahon family and close friends of the two men.

Sinn Fein councillor Mr McGeough has also given gardai a statement. Gardai have been providing protection to Mr McGahon since his decision to go public.


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