Video: Mairia Cahill meets First Minister Peter Robinson - and vows to help the secret sex abuse victims of the Troubles
The woman at the centre of an IRA sex abuse cover-up controversy has discussed the issue with First Minister Peter Robinson.
Mairia Cahill urged Mr Robinson "to put in place an emergency response or to make available counselling for those victims who are contacting me in absolute turmoil".
Ms Cahill called upon "the ordinary decent members of Sinn Fein to stand up and be counted" over this issue. And she urged victims not to suffer in silence.
The First Minister said victims like Ms Cahill must be "given the proper support to have their crimes fully investigated".
In a statement, he said: "No one could fail to be moved by what happened to Mairia. She has not only suffered sexual abuse but was then repeatedly interrogated by the PIRA. Almost treated as a criminal rather than an innocent victim.
"It is incredibly courageous for someone in Mairia’s position to step forward so publicly. No one should underestimate how difficult it is to speak about these issues. Since making her statement to the media she has been contacted by others who have suffered a similar nightmare.
"I want to create the circumstances where no one feels afraid to come forward and speak about the wrongs that have been committed towards them.
"Just as we have facilitated investigations into other abuses in this country so too must victims such as Mairia be given the proper support to have their crimes fully investigated.’
Ms Cahill, 33, has alleged she was raped by a suspected IRA member when she was a teenager in 1997.
In a BBC Spotlight documentary highlighting her story last week, she further claimed that the IRA conducted its own inquiry into her account, subjecting her to interrogation and forcing her to confront her alleged attacker.
The man she accused of rape was later acquitted of the charges in court.
But the case has once more shone a light on how Sinn Fein and IRA dealt with allegations of sexual abuse during the Northern Ireland Troubles
Credit: Belfast Telegraph