Alleged abuser is a Newtownabbey Borough Councillor…

Despite the attempted legal action on Saturday the Irish News names one of the two accused abusers (amended as per Ulick’s comment below) as Breige Meehan, a sitting councillor on Newtownabbey Borough Council. Sinn Fein claim that she was already suspended, but that they simply hadn’t informed the victim or the victim’s family. Once, again, I remind people to be very careful since Sinn Fein are warning there may be legal actions taken in respect of any false accusation regarding the party’s behaviour in this and the other case highlighted by yesterday’s Sunday Tribune.

  • “The victim made a statement to the PSNI almost two years ago and a police file has been forwarded to the Public Prosecution Service.”

    What action, if any, did the PPS take?

  • Ulick

    I may have missed it Mick and it may be pedantic, but I don’t think the Tribune alleges there are two SF activists, but only one (Breige Meehan).

    I’ve Googled the second name and he doesn’t seem to pop up anywhere connected with SF though there is someone with the same name on RSF websites.

  • Mark McGregor


    You are correct no one has claimed the 2nd accused is/was a SF activist. However the name does appear in An Phoblacht as recently as 2000.

  • Mark,

    “with the same name on RSF websites”

    With SF struggling to come up with credible answers are there also difficulties for dissidents in these disclosures?

  • I read the article, and I was distressed to read: “When the others had gone to bed….”

    Others? there were others in that house? Who were these ‘others’ did they not see the bruises so visible at school. Did they not hear the cries?

  • Mark McGregor

    I’m afraid Ulick is searching using a full first name when he should be using the diminutive. As a result he seems to be getting hits for the wrong person.

  • Ulick

    I see that now Mark. Found his reference in AP/RN but nothing after 2000.

  • John Joe

    Never mind the PPS – there is reference to Social Services attributing abuse to her in 1984 – how far did they pursue the matter, given that they had a 24 year headstart on the PPS?

  • Mark McGregor


    2000 could turn out to be a major issue given it is claimed the victim reported the abuse in 98/99 and the substance of the article in An Phoblacht in 2000.

  • Johnjoe

    The lady states that she told social services the bruises were the result of accidents. The good news is those records exist and back up her case.

    I suspect there may have been a reluctance to pursue claims against known republicans, which is no excuse at all, given that even the neighbours had complained, but I would not be surprised that fear of reprisal occupied a lot of minds.

  • heamaisbharney

    a second story in today’s Irish News claims that there was a reluctance to pursue claims against republicans especially by other republican families. In this case a Belfast family who had moved to Dublin let IRA men on the run stay there and abuse resulted.This family allowed the IRA to deal with it after they eventually found out. Dismissal seems to have been the only punishment which entails a great deal of hand washing.

  • jtwo

    Mick, at the risk of being accused of being an SF hack there is now a major problem for you and anyone else running this story.

    An complainant of sexual assault is entitled to anonymity – by law.

    They can waive that right in writing, but is the Tribune story makes clear the victim here decided not to do so (in law, it doesn’t matter how she arrived at that decision.)

    Reading the Irish News (or this blog) in conjunction with the Tribune leaves us with a obvious jigsaw identification of the victim.

    The law is basically this:

    1. Once an allegation has been made no personal details or picture can be published in his or her lifetime if it is likely to identify the complainant as a victim.

    2. After a person has been accused of a rape offence no matter likely to lead to the victim being identified as a complainant must be published during the victim’s lifetime.

    The anonymity for the victim remains in force even if the allegation is later withdrawn or the accused is later tried for a lesser offence than rape.

    Section 12 of the Editors’ Code of Practice, which underpins the work of the Press Complaints Commission, also states that the press may not identify victims of sexual assault.

  • heamaisbharney

    Thank you, I will look up the the Irish News as soon as I finish this.

    I know I keep on saying it, but sex crimes should never have been beyond the law. Social Services, once involved, should have bloody well done their jobs.

    If all this fighting and hurting has not been for the future, which means the children, what on earth was it about. As for the family in Dublin I can think of no worse betrayal.

  • jtwo

    Seriously unless someone can produce a waiver from the victim this thread is a bang-to-rights breach.

  • Albert

    The story has disappeared from the BBC NI website.

  • KateMcC

    Serious questions need to be asked about the PSNI and PPS’s role in such cases also. It would appear that a culture of impunity was nurtured, not only by the fear of physical reprisals from the IRA and such but by other powerful organisations. If you look at whose fingerprints are on these cases, political party, PSNI, PPS, church is it any wonder the abusers strut about confidently in the public eye.
    Withholding information about a crime is a crime, if the police were to do their job properly more than just the suspects would be questioned.
    The police rarely cast their net wide enough in cases involving paramilitaries or ‘useful players in the process’.
    Sinn Fein called for society “to expose the wrong done to those children and ensure that every step is taken to pursue the perpetrators and those who failed or purposely refused to carry out their duties to protect children and to investigate and prosecute criminals” in light of Murphy and Ryan reports, let see if Sinn Fein do so. I doubt it very much!

  • al

    “Alex Maskey has been a big inspiration. He was the first Sinn Féin Councillor in Belfast, so he knows what I’m going through and he has been very, very supportive.”

    “He just left me sitting there,” says Meehan. “I was not offered tea or anything else. But it doesn’t annoy me in the slightest.”

    Good mates with Alex then. Wonder what he knows?

  • Alan

    There must be other legislation.

    This does not cover NI – see article 8.

  • jtwo

    Alan if you’re saying complainants aren’t entitled to anonymity in NI you’re very wrong.

    GB sexually offences are incorporated into NI law through an Order, the most recent being this one

  • Cynic2

    The BBC Story hasn’t been pulled. It’s still there but not on front page

  • John Joe

    Pippakin, it actually states that Social Services attributed abuse to the accused (X) in a report in 1984 (from the story linked above):
    “…a social services placement committee report of 6 January 1984 states “it does appear that the injuries can be attributed to X…” ”
    Presumably (today) they would not accept a child’s explanation of injuries (which they clearly do not believe) and just let it pass without an investigation. Surely this was policy in 1984 as well? Has anyone bothered to go and ask Social Services for a statement on this?

  • iluvni

    I see “the biggest show in the country” ran a mile from the biggest story in the country today.

  • OscarTheGrouch

    When describing how badly Ms Meehan was treated in council meetings An Phoblacht uses the phrase:

    “The abuse she has had to endure is disgusting” – I was using that phrase earlier in regards to child abuse – clearly I need new terminology.

  • Johnjoe

    British social services have enormous powers when they choose to use them. It is possible they felt ‘it looked as if x did it, but can we prove it if the child says not’, I still think self preservation may have played a large part.

    I have looked up two cases to try to see where the law may have gone wrong. Soham was a big case the police let someone who had been accused of abuse work with children. This lead to changes in record keeping and the exchange of information on child abusers. The judgement of social workers and others in the case of baby P was an absolute disgrace and lead to the sacking of the director of child protection in that area.

    In each case the law and the institutions which are meant to protect children failed, there have been many others.

  • Jimmy_Sands

    Oddly enough at the time of the alleged abuse her husband was in prison for, inter alia, torturing another teenager. Timing is everything I suppose.

  • KateMcC

    Reading Ms Meehan’s description of the rough and tumble of political life in sectarian NI is enough to have you go for your hankies.
    It must have been a horrendous ordeal for the sensitive little soul who had to seek comfort in the bosom of Alex Maskey.
    Ruth Dudley Edwards article is an apt description of the nationalist populace, and it is in stark contrast to Mairtin O’Muilleoir’s explanation as to why Catholics tend not to demand accountability over such issues (he contends nationalists like to ‘give people the benefit of the doubt’, translated into Irish ‘turn a blind eye’).
    An attitude that has been conducive to the overall British strategy and agenda, inclusive of the ‘Provos’.

  • Paddy

    Maskey was a relative on one of The Disappeared. Trooped along to the funeral too.

  • Slartibuckfast

    So when was she suspended and when did the police investigation begin?

  • If S/F dont move quickly to ‘out’ any sadists and paedophiles in their midst, they may find themselves extremely lonely at the next elections.

    At the moment there appear to be four cases demanding answers, but each day brings the potential for further exposure. At least if they hand up the alledged perpetrators of these cases, the public attention will be on them, and possibly not on searching for more abusers.

    For the good of the party and the movement. Is that not a favourite S/F saying when they throw someone to the dogs.

  • KateMcC

    Not sure when exactly police took action but was very recent and on back of Tribune article, although they will cry ‘process’. Why did it take two years?
    If SF move quickly to ‘out’ sadists, paedophiles and murderers within their midst they may find themselves with less bodies to do its donkey work at election time.
    The public should be demanding a full inquiry into the whole affair, such as took place over the Baby P case and others in England.
    Thankfully no child was killed but abuse took place and those in authorities failed to act, a child could quite easily be killed with such a poor system in place.
    Sinn Fein’s definition of throwing someone to the dogs is getting them out of the way for a while and then re-instating them.
    Does anyone know if Social Services are reviewing cases, is the Child Commissioner asking questions?
    The public depend on the media, statutory bodies etc. to be their voice on such issues, unfortunately there is an unhealthy silence around this whole saga.

  • Alan


    No I was saying that the legislation you quoted did not cover NI. And neither does the second one, which is a draft order (which is why it is detailed under Statutory Instrument / Draft).

    When looking for NI legislation on OPSI, you look in the Northern Ireland drop down

    One example of anonymity in such cases is here

    However, there may be relevant later enactments.

  • Mr Crowley

    The Irish News reports that Briege Meehan announced plans to protest a proposed visit by Micheal Jackson to a children’s hospice on account of allegations of child abuse. It would remind you of Liam Adams’ Donegal – Dundalk 100% paedo revelations. Talk about hiding in plain sight.

  • KateMcC

    Totally agree with you there should be a full public enquiry into the whole sad mess.

    I read that social service workers would be local to the area of abuse, that is ludicrous in the situation back then. In any event a social worker should always be at least one step removed from any case involving abuse of children. No one wants to bump into the person who removed their children in the local supermarket! as for the additional problems people faced in Belfast, the mind boggles.

    At the moment as far as I can see the only ones asking the questions are sites like this one and one or two brave journalist of papers like the Tribune.

  • Breige Meehan attended the first three monthly council meetings in 2009 and doesn’t appear after that. Apologies were sometimes submitted, sometimes not.

  • sluggisht

    Breige Meehan attended the first three monthly council meetings in 2009 and doesn’t appear after that. Apologies were sometimes submitted, sometimes not.

    So much for Sinn Fein’s assertions they don’t cover up for child abusers.

  • On reflection I think a full public investigation might well be in S/F best interest.

    The men or women who may have been, either abusing or covering up, abuse, must be getting on now. Fresh faces and clean records, lead by Martin McGuinness, might be good for the party.

  • sluggisht

    Assuming Martin McGuinness has a clean record.

  • KateMcC

    Can you really see that happening?. They would all flee to Donegal, which seems to have become a dumping ground for those accused of crimes.
    If I lived in Donegal I’d be pretty annoyed at this, seems it got a double helping of paedophiles being moved about.
    What would the ‘Provo’ miscreants have done without the border?

  • sluggisht

    Please is it not bad enough. Lets just hope that nothing he has done bears even the remotest connection to child abuse or sexual assaults.

  • sluggisht

    Pippakin, you can hope but … better to be a realist. Derry is no better than Belfast … and closer to Donegal. Just because McGuinness is smart enough to keep his head down and mouth shut at the moment does not mean he’s clean. Don’t mistake silence for innocence.

  • sluggisht

    If a rapist from Belfast was shifted to Donegal, who in the movement would be facilitating this? Think about it. The rot is throughout the whole corrupt organisation.

  • KateMcC

    I think, now everyone knows the kind of charges these ‘heroes’ were running from. The people of Donegal may well have their backs up and demand a wall be built around Belfast and, please do not go to the trouble and expense of a door.

    Would lack of a border would have made much difference? These people were apparently protected by the S/F leaders of the time, their alleged crimes were hidden. and presumably that includes from Dundalk S/F. We have seen that some paedophiles were just shunted from one parish to another. One was the church, one a revolutionary party with strong church connections.

  • KateMcC

    Agree, the organisation is corrupt at its core. The Adams affair is proof of this, just as parents lay down the moral values and standards they expect their children to live and act by, so do the leaders of organisations set the standards they expect their underlings to adhere to.
    The Adams family as the head of the ‘provisional movement’ were the bearers of the standards applied throughout both organisations, Sinn Fein and the IRA.
    Sometimes I think this place was nothing but a training ground for British counter-insurgency strategies.

  • Sluggisht

    No, you are saying S/F was full of paedophiles and sexual sadists.

    A great many of the activists were in prison, (they must be fuming at this) more were on the run and keeping a low profile. All that seems to have been left were the thugs and abusers, who no doubt enjoyed the power the terrible system at the time almost inevitably lead to.

    Even Gerry Adams may have felt he had little option but to cover up such crimes. People are saying the Brits would have used information like this to bribe and corrupt, but this sort of thing if proven, could have destroyed the movement, we see how damaging it is now. Imagine the father in prison, sitting there, possibly on the blanket, worrying whether his child is being assaulted.

    I have no time for Gerry Adams or particularly for S/F but if they are honest and tell us the truth, providing the two big men were not physically involved in abuse the situation can be retrieved.

    And I am someone who has not supported the Adams family or S/F since the death of Jean McConville, which, oddly enough, I though could only have been done by someone who did not like children.

  • sluggisht


    I am not saying that. Child abuse exists in Derry as it does in Belfast. It makes sense that there will be child abuse cases that come to light related to SF in Derry unless you think that Belfast is the only place that children are abused. So it is logical to expect that other cases in other locations will emerge. In addition to that, even if you are correct and the only place SF is connected to child abuse is in Belfast, the cases that have been made public show that the rapists were moved to Donegal, Dundalk, and Dublin. Do you think it was only Belfast people involved in this underground railroad of republican rapists?

    Martin McGuinness holds just as much responsibilty as twin head of the movement as does Adams. Given his proximity to the Donegal dumping grounds, and his position of leadership within the republican movement, he’s just another Bishop moving priests.

  • sluggisht

    Also if you think that cases of abuse were covered up to stop prisoners worrying about their children, can I interest you in a selection of bridges … ?

  • iluvni

    How can the talks on ‘policing and justice’ continue with both parties up to their necks in sleaze, allegations of financial impropriety and cover ups of child abuse?.

    It appears adlp and Alliance will take any deal going though, but surely Sir Reg and UCUNF wouldnt be crazy enough to sign up?

  • sluggisht

    No, I am not suggesting Belfast is the only place who had child abusers, rather, I hope, that they may have been dealt with differently elsewhere.

    I do not think any abuse was covered up to keep prisoners unaware of a problem, simply that prisoners were one of the issues the leadership had to worry about in relation to child abuse.

    At the moment Martin McGuinness is doing well with the Assembly. If he can maintain that position and keep out of this scandal, the prospects look good for him.

    AS for Gerry Adams, he is mired already in his brothers charges. I have doubts of his ability to ward off other allegations, but if he can, and do so convincingly, he will survive. Not of course that that looks likely at the moment.

    All I am really saying is that Sinn Fein was a movement lead by one man, who certainly grabbed attention, but it was and is composed of many people, not all were abusers or would have helped an abuser cross the road, never mind get out of the state.

  • Cynic2

    So who are the SF / PIRA Bishops who controlled all this? Old Steaknife must have had great fun on the internal enquiries into these ones. My hwo they must have laughed at the bar of the Armalite and Ballot Box.

  • Cynic2

    Yeah, how they must have laughed. I wonder if they are laughing now.

  • tacapall

    My hwo they must have laughed at the bar of the Armalite and Ballot Box.
    Posted by Cynic2 on Jan 18, 2010 @ 05:05 PM

    I just dont get this, laughed about what ? Are you stupid enough to think there was internal enquiries.

  • Paddy

    I was thinking what Martin Meehan would have thought of all this if he was in his lethal prime. Was decommissioning in part an insurance policy against the hard men hitting back at the abusers? Will there be retaliation now that the guns are silent? What was Denis D’s dark secret and what will be revealed in Ed Moloney’s new book.

    There can be no doubt that MI5 and friends had Gerry and friends over a barrel over this.