We were failed miserably by system, claim alleged victims of rape and IRA cover-ups
Two alleged victims of rape and IRA cover-ups have said they were "failed miserably" by the criminal justice system.
Breaking their silence following publication of a damning report into how Northern Ireland's Public Prosecution Service handled their allegations, the women claimed its findings vindicated their decision to withdraw their evidence.
Last week Sir Keir Starmer, a former Director of Public Prosecutions for England and Wales, revealed the findings of his review into three linked cases.
Mairia Cahill, whose great-uncle Joe was a founder of the Provisional IRA, claims she was raped by a senior member of the organisation as a teenager.
Sir Keir's report into how the PPS handled the cases identified a series of failings.
It concluded that the prosecution service had taken too long to reach decisions, describing the delays as "unacceptable".
Director of Public Prosecutions, Barra McGrory has apologised for the failings.
Although Mairia Cahill has waived her right to anonymity, the other two alleged victims cannot be identified. In a joint statement issued through their solicitors Joe Mulholland and Co, the women described how the case has had a "devastating effect" on their personal and private lives.
They said: "There is no doubt that we were failed miserably by the criminal justice system - this report explicitly concludes what we have always maintained."
According to the women, questions remain unanswered. They claimed that repeated requests for access to the communications the Public Prosecution Service received from external parties during the course of their case was refused.
"If Barra McGrory was genuinely sorry for the continuous flaws of the PPS during his stewardship then his openness and transparency would be greatly welcomed as opposed to the obstruction we continue to encounter," the statement continued.
Sir Keir's report "vindicates our decision to withdraw our support for the case", the women stated.
"Be under no illusion, it was a huge thing for us to come forward.
"For us this case was not about politics or membership of any organisation, but the historic and repeated abuse of us when we were children."