#CahillScandal: Are we validating rape as normal pyschosexual behaviour?

Ed Moloney correctly notes that what Mairia Cahill outlined on Tuesday night’s Spotlight was (and remains) a scandal. If you doubt it, ask yourself why up to 13 individuals tried and failed at the High Court to have their names removed from the programme?

The picture painted by Cahill is of Sinn Fein corporately acting on the orders of the IRA: that much fabled and little talked about Movement to cover up multiple rape.  Moloney also suggests the possibility that the PSNI colluded with former Provisionals to ensure her case was unprosecutable.

Now there was a time when Irish republicans were very alive to the idea of a whitewash, and not slow to tell the world about them. Their eery silence on the Cahill case suggests that the party’s inelegant Peace Process™ mash with the British state has become mission critical to the political survival of the party.

And yet, as Moloney points out the behaviour of the Irish media is strangely reticent. If you weren’t on Twitter or following online comment, you’d be hard put to say anything had happened at all. Moloney wonders how appropriate this is in the case of a man who clearly has his eyes on high office in the Irish state:

One would think that the embroiling of a major political leader in the Republic, for the second time in four years, in a sexual abuse scandal involving a minor and allegations of a cover up might be of interest to the island’s premier media outlets. All the more so since the opinion polls suggest that Mr Adams may well be leading his party into government within a year or so and that he himself may become Tanaiste in that government.

Jen O’Leary’s documentary was one of the most cleanly delivered pieces of television journalism we’ve seen in Northern Ireland in many years. It survived an aggressive, and no doubt expensive challenge, to cut its damaging payload (the naming of the actual Sinn Fein and IRA teams working in concert with each other).

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 23.38.39And yet even the BBC struggled to deal with its outworking. Although Noel Thompson admirably picked up the ball for Talkback, the BBC NI News website ignored it until nearly 5pm, and then entertained us with this delightly unbalanced offering

Notice how on Ms Cahill is reduced to ‘woman’ whilst the lead headline appears to unequivocally endorse Mr Adams’s version. The rest makes use of those bland verbal false limbs Orwell observed in how propaganda seeks to remove moral agency from grave actions. Mairia’s picture remains nameless until you get to Gareth Gordon’s story when it finally pops up, seemingly unbidden.

Last night, you could see it. But today, it’s vanished once again from the front page. It’s certainly an interesting use of the licence payer’s fee, and perhaps something the regulator might want to hear about?

That said, I’m generally not a fan of conspiracy theories. They usually entail an invitation to engage in some form of collective madness, whilst attention is diverted away from the actual passage of events.

Still, this is the second woman who has accused Gerry Adams of some pretty unsavory personal behaviour (which he denies in both cases). They say that in war a sniper only ever gets away with two shots, because the third  precisely trigs his exact location. Adams has taken two shots at the credibility of two claimants against his party of sexual abuse.

In pure judicial terms, Ms Cahill’s accusations have no weight. But in moral terms what she claims Adams said to her ought to give the rest of us some pause for thought about what we may be in the process of validating as normal pyschosexual behaviour.

Maybe its just too shocking for us (and the media at large) to process rationally and functionally. But if we don’t do it soon, we may all come to regret the long term repercussion.

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  • Neil

    Back to the dogs in the street. They know lots of stuff. They know Gerry was in the IRA, and they know that some pretty unsavoury activities were carried out. The problem for the anti shinner brigade, and it’s quite a whopper of a problem, is that the judiciary had a crack at this and everyone walked. So you either go down the conspiracy road and assume the judicial system has been corrupted in this case, or you accept that innocent til proven guilty applies. I can imagine no other circumstance where someone would be acquitted in court and then be the subject of media reports that they were in fact guilty all along.

    On the flip side of that is the fact that there’s a credibility gap between Ms Cahill and Gerry A. Her story was very believable, down to the smaller details. You’re right in that there’s an obvious scandal – a developing MO, but the problem for the media is the fact that these are basically unsubstantiated claims for which the accused have stood trial and been acquitted. There’s only so much mileage anyone can squeeze out of something like that without getting on the wrong side of the judiciary themselves.

  • Michael Henry

    Baloney Moloney who hid in America whilst he made coin out of the boston tapes comes up with another theory –

    May God be with those that whispers are the only evidence- because Slugger will try again and again to sink you-( and Fáil and fail )-

    Maybe Moloney has a tape about this issue that he paid idiots to talk into and told them their names would not be known till they died-

    Again and again- The So called Cahill Scandal can be sorted out if Journalists ask Mairia to tell her irrefutable evidence which she admits she has- unless Journalists have been bought off and are to afraid to ask the truth-

  • Brian Walker


    There is alas nothing new about the poor quality of the
    BBCNI News website. For all I know Newsline and Radio Ulster and full of great
    stories and analysis but this is not reflected on the website which is, drab
    sparse ad colourless, written in the style,of local newspaper subs of the 1950s
    ( and this may defame he old local papers).
    The BBC will probably plead shortage of space, funding etc although there is
    plenty of white space in the layout. As a former news reporter and editor of
    Spotlight in the long ago, I’m irritated by the poverty and dullness of News on line but mightily impressed with Spotlight.

  • mickfealty

    Charming Neil…

    “the dogs in the street…”

    And you wonder why SF has such low ratings amongst women?

  • $33309652

    “…The picture painted by Cahill is of Sinn Fein corporately acting on the orders of the IRA: that much fabled and little talked about Movement to cover up multiple rape….”

    Welll well Mick.

    Very Mawkish statement.

    For over 40 years We have had to stomach Unionist duality to violence.

    British State /Unionist violence= good. Irish Nationalist violence=Bad.

    And NOw with the fact that UK police forces ignore 1-in-9 Rape complaints ..And NOT a Word about THIS FACT on British /Unionist Slugger .

    We NOW have the Unionist duality to rape.

    if I dsidn’t think Unionists were awful Pretend moralists who are two faced. I’d be shocked.

    And Oh here’s the source for my statistic



    BTW It seems Slugger has an English section.http://sluggerotoole.com/region/england/

    Strange this story got “mislaid”

    #Due to this websites current “concern” for rape victims”

    Oh I am sorry. Some Rape victims are more “news worthy” than others. Gosh.

    Carry on Mick. Let the unionist charge begin.

  • chrisjones2

    Ah the authentic voice of SF speaks again

    When they are not lying juvenile delinquents they are drunks or off their head or ‘opponents of the peace process’ TM

    Must have been some Movement you were part of Michael. No wonder so many became touts

  • Neil

    What spurious link are you attempting to make Mick? I’m simply saying, in local parlance, that people ‘know’ Gerry was in the IRA the same way they ‘know’ that Ms Cahill is telling the truth, that the meeting with Gerry happened in exactly the way she said it did. That is to say that it remains unproven yet they know it anyway. What that has to do with SF’s ratings amongst women – or in what ways my opinions reflect on SF as a non voting non party member, I have no idea.

  • Michael Henry

    ” so many became touts ”

    Aye Touts killed 1000 Brits and blew London and Manchester to Kingdom come- touts got rid of the 1920 government of Ireland act and the Brits are taking their barracks down / moving out whilst idiots want to talk about touts- and chrisjones2 is another one who does not wonder why Mairia won’t spill her beans and tell us her Irrefutable truth-

  • Sean Huddleston

    Mick, I think even you would appreciate that that was playing the man there. Nowhere in Neil’s remarks has he slandered anyone nor has he belittled what Ms Cahill went through – poor form.

    My own opinion of the whole episode is split between the revulsion of Ms Cahill’s ordeal that is now being used as political capital & agenda pushing. Mairi’s own reply to Paul Girvan on twitter was a very good example of how to deal with some who are using this episode for attempted political gain rather than displaying any human sympathy and support.

    If more victims do come forward then they deserve to be treated with a bit more dignity and respect rather than being used as political canon fodder.

  • Jag

    Are we validating the use of a television programme as a substitute for judicial process?

  • chrisjones2

    Are you a SF Councillor Michael? Are you posting personally or with Party Approval?

  • chrisjones2

    Now now Michael the mask is slipping.

    You are confusing the acts and what they eventually achieved.

    PIRA lost the war. By the end it was so diminished. Still dangerous but so eaten out from within with no chance of achieving its goals and the horror of realizing that more people than ever in the Catholic community and in Ireland disowned a Unite Ireland. Not only was it all utterly morally wrong it was counter productive and pointless

    And now, having been carefully shepherded into their places by a British Government keen to bring the war to a final end and willing to pour in the cash to ease the path. Now they spend their days polishing seats in the hated Stormont or on well upholstered council benches well paid by the British State. There they can vent their bile behaving just like UUP Councillors in the 1960s.

    I am sure Bobby and the lads would have been well pleased to see it all. And to see you hear today slating a rape victim

    nach bhfuil an oiread sin “Tá ár lá teacht” mar “Tháinig do lá agus chuaigh sé bliain ó shin “

  • mickfealty


    I don’t like having to speak so bluntly, particularly on such a sensitive issue. There are a lot feelings involved in this, yours, the victim’s whom I am certain will read this, or even my own.

    I consider you both often bring freshness and insight to the comment threads when you write on Slugger. But do I really have to spell out the inference in Neil’s opening comment?

    There’s only two dogs in this fight: Ms Cahill and the joint institution of the Provisional IRA and Sinn Fein. Mr Adams ‘refutation’ cites only two witnesses, both of them (once again) conveniently dead.

    Is no one inside the republican movement capable of understanding how their treatment of Ms Cahill looks from the outside?

    BTW, it’s Givan, not Girvan. More to the point Jennifer McCann now confesses that she also knew about the abuse (and did not report it) and is now (in rather creepy way) offering to meet Mairia.

    Next time you go talking about ‘dogs’ in the street or otherwise Neil, I suggest you think twice or even three times about how it’s going to be read by people on the outside.

    This is a very sad and very sorry story. Treating it as though the person alleging rape is merely some class of fall guy for someone else’s political manoeuvring is not a recipe for a long a politically healthy future.

    For SF’s or anyone else’s.

  • mickfealty

    Nope. Are you saying we have to have a successful criminal trial before we can call political parties to account for their conduct in handling rape allegations?

  • easttyrone

    Councillor McIvor is what Gerry’s friend Joe Cahill did mot a form of touting?


  • Neil

    I was referring neither to Adams or Ms Cahill, rather to the many people who ‘know’ things without evidence. I’ve seen the term used many, many times on the site and never with the inferences drawn by you here. I am thinking how people may read it and seemingly the only person suffering from any difficulty in comprehending the simple point made is you.
    I resent the implication that I was referring to Ms Cahill, I do think it was man playing, and I do think it is extremely unfair.

  • Nevin

    “The picture painted by Cahill is of Sinn Fein corporately acting on the orders of the IRA: that much fabled and little talked about Movement to cover up multiple rape. Moloney also suggests the possibility that the PSNI colluded with former Provisionals to ensure her case was unprosecutable.”

    Moloney, in his ‘Secret History of the IRA’, conveys an image of the IRA and Sinn Féin being managed by the Army Council, a body sometimes referred to as the legitimate government of the island of Ireland.

    Máiría identifies a political background to our justice system:

    52m 40s: I believe that the PPS and the police had seriously lost the case before they had even went into the court-room. I’m very aware that there was a heavy political presence in the background and a vested interest, if you like, that these people would not be charged. All of that was in the mix also.

    That political backdrop can involve London and/or Dublin.

  • Ulick

    So there you have it. Ms Cahill, the Vixens’ and Mick spend the day lambasting Sinn Féin for not contacting her since the program, then when one of them does it’s described as “creepy”.

  • mickfealty

    It’s hardly worth a Fair Play Award now is it?

  • Jag

    Nope. Are you saying that expressing concerns about the presentday media handling of what is an alleged crime that was disposed of by the courts (not satisfactorily to some, obviously), means I am “validating rape as normal psychosexual behaviour”.

    If it weren’t so serious, I’d be saying yo mother etc.

  • mickfealty

    I’m saying that if this matter just passes without a proper public discussion, then, yes, we may be going some way down that road.

  • mickfealty

    Perhaps you ought to read what Orwell has to say about the cunning (and unthinking) use of dying metaphors in propaganda.

  • Ulick

    Not for the first time in the “get Gerry” campaign you’ve overplayed your hand Mick. “Sinn Fein corporately acting…” – such bull.

    By her own admission Ms Cahill reported alleged abuse to IRA members. An investigation was launched by supposedly senior IRA figures we can only presume at the behest of the IRA. Ms Cahill cooperated with said investigation. When she later discovered the alleged abuser had done the same to two others she contacted “The Army” (her words) again to reopen the investigation, which they did. When she discovered the alleged abuser was living in Donegal she contacted the IRA to “have him brought back” and punished. All of this was published 4 years ago on this site in reference to an article in the Sunday Tribune by Suzanne Breen.

    Nowhere in any of this is there any evidence of Sinn Féin acting anywhere or on behalf of anyone. Sinn Féin only enters the picture later in Spotlight along with some distasteful allegations about Adams. Coincidentally Ms Cahill is also now being supported by someone who has made a 30 year career out of attacking Gerry Adams and Sinn Féin, her aunt Eilis O’Hanlon.

    If you want to bleat about fair play at least have the cop-on to acknowledge the contradictions in the story and to call out that bullsh*t from Maloney – the ‘Ra colluding with the PSNI! Really? Did you miss the Adams arrest? Of course Maloney also reckoned that was a carefully staged event planned to boost Sinn Féin election hopes! FFS give my head a bit of peace…

  • Morpheus

    You’re out of line on this one Mick – it was obvious what Neil was saying and that you twisted it something it wasn’t for some reason

  • mickfealty

    I’ll deal with those. But would mind fetching the links? But first, a question> Is/was Sue Ramsey acting for the IRA or Sinn Fein? What about Jennifer McCann?

    Padraic Wilson (who, interestingly is omitted from Gerry ‘refutation’ of Ms Cahill’s account to Spotlight)?

    Just putting this here, in case it’s needed: http://goo.gl/pCXD3r

  • Neil

    I’ll give it a miss. Though I may opt to recognise and where necessary apologise should I unwittingly, and inaccurately commit a slur against another person. You might try the same. I won’t hold my breath.

  • Dan

    I wonder if Woodward or Hain can sleep at night.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The notion that the judiciary could be subject to political influence to protect important people is not a concept that is new to republicans.

    There’s enough circumstantial evidence (four years to take the matter to trial; screwups securing a prosecution witness) that what happened here was collusion between the British state, and people who could be fancifully described as British agents within the IRA whose role was to bring the IRA’s violence to an end and ultimately see the organization disarmed and disbanded. Is it too much to believe that the state acted to protect those people, especially given the testimony of the MP for Foyle that Shaun Woodward was concerned with how to help “poor Padraig” ?

    AFAIK, when a rape is reported to the police, immediately after taking place, a medical examination is performed and there is an opportunity to collect evidence. Since Sinn Féin/the IRA (clearly one and the same, if there was ever any doubt) prevented a report to the police, the prospect of a successful trial was quite effectively hampered. If there had been any tape recordings or other evidence of the meetings that Máiría says took place, several republicans would right now be facing charges of perverting the course of justice.

    Máiría’s prospects now, I guess, lie in two places.

    Firstly, the Police Ombudsman’s investigation will need to determine why it took so long to bring the membership case to trial and why the police did not secure a significant prosecution witness (their failure to do so led to the trial’s collapse). I also think the Justice Minister needs to be opening an inquiry into how the DPP handled the matter. Questioning the integrity of the DPP is very dodgy territory; but to me there is a public interest issue at stake if the NIO were perceived to be asking the DPP (and the police) to put the brakes on.

    Secondly, by bringing her story to public attention and waiving anonymity, Máiría has opened up the prospect that others who were abused by republicans and ordered to keep quiet will come forward. Or, possibly, people within the movement will have a crisis of conscience – especially women who see Gerry Adams sickeningly invoke a rape victim’s alleged mental health issues in an attempt to undermine her credibility – and come forward themselves.

  • babyface finlayson

    Have there been media reports saying he was in fact guilty all along?
    I’m pretty sure the Spotlight programme began by saying they were addressing the way the allegations and Ms Cahill were dealt with by the republican ‘family’ rather than the veracity of her allegations.

  • mickfealty

    Links Ulick?? Seriously. Eilis is her cousin, not her aunt. One of the reasons we use linkbacks is to get that kind detail right.

  • Ulick

    Aye that’s the important detail to focus on Mick. I’m well aware of the relationship between the two of them. You seem to be getting a tad over sensitive on this thread. No need to read into my use of aunt – simply in our family we often refer to the older generations as aunt/uncle regardless of actual relationships. Maybe us Lurgan people are weird that way.
    Anyhow on your other query I’ve no idea who Sue and Jennifer were representing – themselves I suspect. Pádraig Wilson I know only by reputation but even from that limited knowledge I’m certain his character and integrity are beyond reproach. As such I think you’re barking up the wrong tree if you are insinuating there something in Adams not mentioning him in a statement.
    Regarding the links, your new site to be honest has a really poor UX especially on mobile and smart phone. As such I can’t link back at the minute on the phone – but hey it’s you’re site, try searching for Cahill + Eileen Calder.

  • mickfealty
  • Ulick

    There were others before that which also carried links to the Breen article.

  • mickfealty

    Any specific clues you can remember?

    Ah, here: http://goo.gl/lRvAuz and here: http://goo.gl/dZrtVp.

    FYI, Since the site search for Cahill has been complicated by all the recent stories and I only had the broadest clues as to what we were looking for (it was before we started tagging too), I had to search back through Jan 2010 page by page: http://goo.gl/tk9ySL.

    Fascinating experience though. Interesting how Mary Lou features and what role she plays in the Tyrell case: http://goo.gl/DY07EY

  • $33309652

    “…AFAIK, when a rape is reported to the police, immediately after taking place, a medical examination is performed and there is an opportunity to collect evidence…..”


    Really than Why are as many as 1-in-3 Rape cases “investigated” by so called UK police Forces Binned


    Figures also indicated that there were about 10,000 recorded rapes of adults in England and Wales in the 12 months to March 2013, from which only 18 percent led to a sanction detection, where an offender was charged or cautioned for the offence.

    Not looking good is it.
    Your AFAIK..Isn’t holding up.

  • babyface finlayson

    A poor record alright but it doesn’t detract from the point that evidence needs to be gathered as soon as possible to have any chance of a charge progressing.Seems obvious really.

  • mickfealty

    Sorry Brian,

    I didn’t miss this, and I’m sorry not to have come back sooner.

    I would not have made the point if there’d been no previous offence. Someone has been using BBCNI Online to editorialise for some time. And not in a good way, like this example from the FT online:

    October 16, 2014

    This is not simply about poor resources, although you do touch on a critical editorial weakness (ie, failing to roster the excellent content the BBC does have). It is bland and colourless, but we are also seeing far too many SF pressers published un- or under- processed appearing on the site and given prominence over others.

    That’s fine for the Phoenix which confesses a political angle on these matters, but BBC News?

  • mickfealty

    Good point Comrade. In the past the High COurt in Belfast has been a killing ground for politicos wanting to cut the vitals of investigative journalism. There seems to have a bit of a climate change in that regard with politicos having to get more and more creative in the construction of their writs.