Sinn Fein MP Francie Molloy apologises for tweet about 'rubbish' IRA abuse claims
Sinn Fein MP Francie Molloy has apologised for any offence caused by his social media post following a programme about the alleged rape of a man by a senior IRA member - which he called "rubbish".
Paudie McGahon (40) claims he was attacked by a well-known IRA volunteer in his family home in Co Louth in the early 1990s, when it was being used as a safe house for on-the-run terrorists.
The alleged abuser - a member of a prominent Belfast republican family - warned his 17-year-old victim that he would be murdered if he ever spoke of the incident.
Mr McGahon says that in 2002 he was subjected to an IRA Kangaroo court arranged after he told a Sinn Fein county councillor about the attack.
Following the BBC spotlight programme on Tuesday night, Sinn Fein MP for Mid-Ulster Francie Molloy took to Twitter.
He said: "Another load of rubbish on spotlight tonight. Joint Indo bluesh...production."
The tweet is understood to refer to the right-wing militant Blueshirt movement - officially known the Army Comrades Association - which modelled itself on European fascist groups. The security organisation would later merge with other groups that supported the Anglo-Irish Treaty to give birth to Fine Gael. Fine Gael members are still occasionally referred to as Blueshirts.
The tweet was sent as the Irish Independent published and the BBC broadcast Mr McGahon's allegations.
It came as Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams told RTE radio on Wednesday morning that he believed the claims featured in the BBC programme.
Mr Molloy's tweet was immediately met with backlash from social media users. He later deleted it.
In a statement he said: "I apologise for any offence my post caused to Paudie McGahon or any victim of abuse.
“I hope that justice is served and the appropriate support delivered to Mr McGahon.
“Sinn Féin’s priority is to support victims of abuse whether that abuse is historical or contemporary and we will support victims in their efforts to get truth and justice.
“There is a currently a Garda investigation into these allegations.
“These matters are best dealt with in the justice system rather than trial by television and it is my hope that justice will be done.”
Meanwhile, Mr Adams did not clarify whether he believed Mr McGahon was subjected to an IRA "kangaroo court".
Mr Adams said he only found out about the incident in 2009 when he was told by Sinn Féin Louth TD Arthur Morgan.
He said: "I believe he was raped. I believe that the person that he alleged has raped him should be subject to due process. I believe that Paudie should be supported and obviously needs justice, wants justice and Sinn Fein's very, very clear intention would be to support him in that. So anybody who has any information whatsoever on this or any other allegation should bring it forward."
"In this particular case the person who Paudie alleges raped him should come forward and give himself up", he added.
Belfast Telegraph Digital