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Mairia Cahill accuses Roy Greenslade of demonising her over IRA rape claim


Journalist and commentator Roy Greenslade

Journalist and commentator Roy Greenslade

Journalist and commentator Roy Greenslade

A Belfast woman who alleged she had been raped as a teenager by an IRA man has questioned why she was demonised by former Fleet Street editor Roy Greenslade, who has admitted being a secret sympathiser of the terror group during the Troubles.

Mairia Cahill said that Mr Greenslade "chose the angle he did is not surprising, but it is disgusting".

In a recent article, Mr Greenslade, a former Daily Mirror editor, said he had "come out of hiding" to explain why he believes the IRA bombing campaigns of the 1970s to 1990s were justified.

His comments triggered anger from relatives of victims of the IRA, prompting Mr Greenslade to resign as honorary visiting professor of journalism at City University of London yesterday.

Boris Johnson also slammed the remarks. The PM's official spokesman said: "All I can say is the simple fact that the PM outright condemns his comments, as I have said specifically those about the killing of civilians."

Ms Cahill recalled in The Spectator that aged 16, she was "repeatedly raped and sexually abused by an IRA man". She complained to police in 2010, but the case was dropped four years later after she withdrew her support for the prosecution.

She wrote that "after I waived my lifetime right to anonymity, Roy Greenslade decided to attempt to throw a cloak of caution around my credibility".

Ms Cahill wrote: "In a Guardian article, headlined 'BBC Programme on IRA rape allegations flawed by lack of political balance', Greenslade questioned why the programme did not disclose my brief membership of a political dissident group - 13 years after I was abused.

"'Critics suggest that Spotlight's presenter and producer were too willing to accept Cahill's story and did not point to countervailing evidence,' he wrote. 'That is not to say that she was not raped. Nor does it negate her view that the IRA handled her complaint clumsily and insensitively.'

"After attacking the 'lack of balance' in the BBC NI piece, he then took it upon himself to list my political history - some of it inaccurate - which he viewed as highly relevant when discussing my brutal experience of abuse, and of the IRA and Sinn Fein's treatment of me as a result."

She said it was strange "that he did not disclose in the same piece, his own secret long-held support for the IRA".

"I appeared on countless live TV and radio programmes, and answered all questions put to me, which is more than any of the IRA members involved in my case did. Women's Aid, the Rape Crisis centre, and countless editorials provided public support. Greenslade chose instead to bemoan the media treatment of Gerry Adams."

Belfast Telegraph

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