This statement comes to Slugger from Ms Cahill. It is carried in full.
Over the last number of weeks, there have been several allegations circulating – alleged to have been perpetrated by members of the Republican Movement.
There has been mixed reaction to this within the Republican Community, but particularly those within the Provisional republican movement, and those within Sinn Fein Circles. This reaction ranges from outright disgust, horror, condemnation, to the very damaging “turn a blind eye and say nothing” approach. There are obviously people understandably angry as a result – not least the victims. There is a lot of hurt within this community also, hurt which has been compounded by recent contradictions, mistruths, outright denials and certain media spin, which has the potential to deflect away from the real issue – the alleged cover up of paedophilia within certain quarters. Whatever that hurt, there are also families hurting too, people who are trying to come to terms with their lives right across this island, and trying to deal with the fact that members of these families were abused.
There are also parents, rightly angry and worried about their children. People are now backtracking through the years, wondering if their children have come into contact with perpetrators – and they are also rightly questioning if they trust the people they know now. This is a massive issue, and it is a disgrace that alleged child abusers have had free reign to have access to other children. Collectively, we now know more about the issue of sex offenders and reoffending rates. It is likely that perpetrators do not rehabilitate by just simply moving on somewhere else. We know as republicans of a number of cases being discussed at present – is this just the tip of the iceberg? How many more children have been put at risk as a result of mishandling, and in some cases planned facilitation of moving people around the country?
I also want to make it clear, paedophilia is not restricted to members of the Republican Movement. Unfortunately, paedophiles ingratiate themselves in all walks of life. In some instances they are our relatives, friends, priests, professionals, community and youth workers, lawyers, teachers, doctors – the list is endless. No one is blaming the republican movement for members of that movement who inflicted sexual abuse on others.
The blame, however is rightly centred around how the republican movement dealt with the issue, in several cases. It is clear from these cases that not once did the people involved either in so called investigating or in listening, directly report to any of the authorities. They also retraumatised victims of sexual abuse by either their chosen action, or inaction. It is also abundantly clear, for anyone who wishes to take the blinkers off, that paedophiles have been able to move around the country and further afield. In some cases they continued to masquerade as republicans, which in turn afforded them protection, or at the very least a degree of trust, which then also in turn made it easier for them to do what they did, unchecked. That is disgraceful, and brings a deep sense of shame on anyone who continues to support the republican ideology. The fault for this lies squarely with those in positions of power who espoused themselves as the epitome of republicanism, individuals who were looked up to by some, and who now feel tarnished by that association.
There are people out there now who have knowledge in different parts of Ireland on similar allegations of sexual abuse. Are you one of them? There are also people who have heard things on the grapevine about similar alleged cover-ups. Again, does this apply to you?
By not speaking out, you allow yourself to become complicit in the same alleged collective cover-up. I am appealing directly to all republicans from all persuasions to tell what you know. No perpetrator should be allowed to continue to abuse. No movement should give them succour by shielding them. And no republican should sit on the fence on this issue, waiting on other victims to come forward in the hope that the full story should start to emerge.
Be proactive. Do not continue with the legacy of silence. Out all the cases of child and adult sexual abuse. Highlight any suspicion, or knowledge of cover ups. Do this through whatever channel is comfortable for you. An email has been set up, by myself to deal with this issue. If this is an avenue you feel comfortable with using, use it.
I also want to directly appeal to those still within Sinn Fein. I am aware that some of you refuse to believe that this happened at all. People will make up their own minds on the issue. However, as a human, there has to be a shadow of doubt in your mind. Ask the hard questions, and demand an answer. If you are not happy, demand again. No one can afford to put politics over the safety of children. As a human being, you cannot afford to stay silent on this issue. Do the right thing.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org [Please note that this email address is now obsolete]
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