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Meeting with SF leader over sex abuse claim a waste of time: Cahill


Mairia Cahill

Mairia Cahill

Mairia Cahill

Mairia Cahill believes she was shown no respect by Mary Lou McDonald after finally meeting the Sinn Fein leader face-to-face to discuss a Police Ombudsman report into her alleged abuse by an IRA man.

After the hour-long meeting in Dublin's Leinster House, Ms Cahill branded it "a waste of time".

"We started the meeting with a handshake, but there wasn't one at the end," Ms Cahill told the Belfast Telegraph last night.

Earlier this year, a Police Ombudsman's report revealed how RUC intelligence had found out that Ms Cahill's alleged abuser, Martin Morris, had been suspended from Sinn Fein because he was "suspected of abusing certain children".

Mr Morris, who denied all wrongdoing, was acquitted of rape and IRA membership when the case against him collapsed in 2014 after Ms Cahill withdrew her evidence.

Ms Cahill, aged 16 at the time of the abuse, also said she was subjected to an IRA interrogation about her claims and has accused Sinn Fein of engaging in a cover-up.

"As far I'm concerned Mary Lou McDonald has now abdicated her responsibility," Ms Cahill said.

Ms McDonald previously insisted Sinn Fein had co-operated with the police investigation into Ms Cahill's case and said it was "unfair" of Ms Cahill to "cast a slur" that the party covered up abuse.

She recently "unreservedly apologised" to Ms Cahill and said she "deeply regrets" that Sinn Fein did not have mandatory reporting procedures in place at the time of Ms Cahill's ordeal.

But she also said she had "no regrets" over her handling of Ms Cahill's case.

Ms Cahill, now an SDLP councillor, said: "It was distressing to listen to the nonsense from Ms McDonald. I told her to her face she was talking 'bulls***'.

"Ms McDonald said she believed I was raped because two other victims had come forward. She would not comment on whether the IRA investigated the rapes, but if she believes the first part about other victims, they also said there were IRA investigations. If you believe one, you surely must believe the other?

"If there is one positive for me, this has made me more determined to get the truth out there.

"Come the end of this she will look stupid. She would not admit there was a 'cover-up' of the abuse by her party

"Ms McDonald clearly hadn't read the Ombudsman's report. Her grasp of detail was poor and an apology that isn't really an apology doesn't do anything for me. It's a serious lack of judgment on her behalf.

"This is far from over."

In a statement after the meeting, Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald said she had "a lengthy and candid conversation" with Ms Cahill.

"I listened carefully to what she had to say and I reiterated my unreserved apology and deep regret that procedures for the mandatory reporting of abuse allegations were not in place at the time of Mairia's disclosure.

"I acknowledged the hurt and pain that Mairia has been through and I stressed to her that robust procedures for the handling of abuse allegations are now in place within Sinn Fein.

"I reiterated that allegations of a criminal nature must be dealt with by the statutory authorities with responsibility for doing so.

"I want to wish Mairia the very best for the future."

Belfast Telegraph