Belfast Telegraph

Other cases 'dealt with internally'

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams was aware of at least two other cases of sexual abuse dealt with internally by republicans, a senior Irish politician has claimed.

Micheal Martin, leader of Fianna Fail, the main opposition party in the Irish Republic, made the allegation as he revealed two victims contacted him with concerns over investigations into their cases.

Sinn Fein said the claims were disgraceful and totally untrue.

A spokesman for the Fianna Fail party said Mr Martin had written to authorities in Northern Ireland over the allegations and ongoing investigations.

Mr Martin claimed the two cases were dealt with internally by the provisional republican movement and not reported to the police, and that Mr Adams was aware of them.

They have since been investigated by police.

"From information we have picked up, and we have talked to other people, this may have been a broader trend in the republican movement," he said.

"Just like the (Catholic) church, that the republican movement saw the institution of the republican movement as more important than individual victims."

Mr Martin added: "In the cases we have become aware of, he (Gerry Adams) would have been aware of as well... and an attempt was made to deal with those internally."

It is understood the two people contacted the party leader individually and claimed there may have been a wider network of people in the republican movement involved in abuse.

Mr Martin declined to elaborate on the two cases of abuse but they are not thought to be child abuse.

It is understood they are being dealt with in the courts.

Sinn Fein Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has said remarks made by the Fianna Fail leader in the wake of the sentencing of Liam Adams were disgraceful and totally untrue.

She defended her party president over his handling of allegations against his brother and hit out at claims of a wider cover-up.

"The question needs to be asked of Deputy Martin as to when he received this information and has he passed it on to gardai?" she said.

"That is the only appropriate course of action for any responsible citizen.

"Or is the reality that Deputy Martin will seek to use any issue, no matter how difficult for those directly involved, to try and score cheap political points?"

A spokesman for Fianna Fail said authorities in Northern Ireland were aware of the two cases.

Last month, Democratic Unionist MP Gregory Campbell alleged that senior republicans were involved in a secret committee that dealt with almost 100 allegations of child abuse against members of Sinn Fein and the IRA.

He used parliamentary privilege in Westminster to claim it was set up in 2000 and prominent republican figures were involved.

The allegation was dismissed out of hand by Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

Elsewhere, Mr Martin attacked Sinn Fein over its hard-hitting criticism of the series of abuse scandals that have been uncovered in the Catholic church.

"Standing back from it and from the politics of it all, I think if we have condemned the church, and Sinn Fein have condemned the church over the years, on the basis that people moved priests from one parish to another yet did not do anything effective to protect vulnerable people in the new parish, I think there are questions to be answered," he said.

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