Belfast Telegraph

Mairia Cahill: I've had to move home four times and now fear for my safety

By Claire Williamson

Mairia Cahill - who claims the republican movement was involved in a sexual abuse cover-up - says she fears for her safety following an "online campaign of vilification".

Mairia made political waves when she revealed that republicans had responded to her allegations of rape by an IRA member by interrogating her and imposing a code of silence to protect the movement.

Her alleged abuser has consistently denied her claims, and he was acquitted by a court when she withdrew her evidence.

Ms Cahill, who is the grand-niece of former IRA leader Joe Cahill, told the Belfast Telegraph that she had been the victim of online attacks and had been forced to flee to the Republic, where she is living at a secret address.

She told the Belfast Telegraph: "There has been a sustained campaign of online abuse and a few persistent offenders so we have gone to the Garda station already. The gardai are coming back to me. I dread bumping into one of those individuals who are spreading hatred about me on the internet.

"Yes I do fear for my safety; my personal security is a major concern at present."

Ms Cahill added: "The online abuse is accusing me of everything from being an MI6 agent to having a year-long affair with an alleged rapist to trying to smear Gerry Adams. It is all very upsetting."

The Belfast woman now claims that the man she alleges abused her is following her on social media.

She said: "I have no way of knowing if that actually is him or not, but the effect has been devastating.

"I assume it is him because the account has been up since 2012. I am getting to the point where I am afraid to lift the phone.

"There is an online campaign of vilification, I don't see any other way of describing it. It is a way to undermine me.

"Since I raised this issue I was forced to move house on four occasions on foot of PSNI threat assessments.

"I am now staying in the south and I don't know what the future holds."

This week Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams was at the centre of a sexual abuse cover-up storm as Ms Cahill, who claimed the IRA forced her to confront her alleged rapist, said she told Mr Adams about the allegations during a meeting with him.

Mr Adams said he had co-operated with the PSNI in the course of its investigation.

As pressure mounted on the Sinn Fein leader to respond further, Mr Adams released another statement on Thursday when he stated he was "personally horrified" at remarks attributed to him by Ms Cahill.

In the past week Ms Cahill met with political leaders in Northern Ireland and the Republic following the revelations on BBC NI Spotlight.

The case was then discussed in an extraordinary session of the Dail this week - where Mr Adams apologised to sex abuse victims "let down" by the IRA during the Troubles.

Belfast Telegraph

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