Mairia Cahill hits back over dissident republican group link
Mairia Cahill has said her previous political affiliations to a dissident republican group are irrelevant to her allegations that the IRA covered up sexual abuse within its ranks.
Ms Cahill, who claims she was raped as a teenager by a suspected IRA member and was later interrogated by the Provos, who covered up what happened, has admitted past involvement with the Republican Network for Unity group.
She insisted she was opposed to violence.
Republican Network for Unity is a strident opponent of Sinn Fein, but it has previously claimed it is not a formal political wing for the paramilitary group ONH.
"I believe that this story has been deliberately circulated by people whose only desire is to draw attention away from the fact that, when IRA/SF learned that I had been raped by a senior republican volunteer, they forced me into a brutal investigation against my will before engaging in a systematic cover-up to silence me and members of my family," said Ms Cahill.
"Simply. I was abused. An illegal internal investigation was conducted into that abuse. I was forced to attend a confrontation by the IRA as a traumatised 18-year-old in a room with my rapist," she added.
The 33-year-old has said she is now homeless and in debt after leaving Northern Ireland following an "ongoing organised internet smear campaign".
At the weekend Gerry Adams said that Ms Cahill had made serious allegations that had been "seized upon in the most cynical, calculated and opportunistic way by our political opponents".
Senior figures including Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin and Northern Ireland's DUP First Minister Peter Robinson have all been critical of Sinn Fein, and in particular Mr Adams.