Cahill demands full disclosure from Mary Lou McDonald and Sinn Fein

If you missed it, it is well worth watching Mairia Cahill on Vincent Browne last night… It’s an extraordinarily well conducted interview by Browne who stays focused the whole way through. Ms Cahill seems to start pretty nervously which provoked a few (mercifully few) Twitter to talk about doubting her story.

Other still questioned the timing of these revelations, still measuring this all as a deliberate political attack on an emergent Sinn Fein.

On one level the answer is pretty simple. Ms Cahill first raised this issues publicly four years ago, but as Jen O’Leary highlighted in Spotlight it took the PSNI and DPP an inordinate (completely out all whack with similar cases in England) length time to assemble an ultimately too weak case for the courts.

On another, they are also dead right. This has now become a very political issue, ironically legitimised as a southern issue by Mr Adams’ 2011 leap across the border. Ms Cahill has accused Mr Adams of lying (she’s not the first), and she has clearly laid out her ‘political’ demands.

As presaged in her press conference at Leinster House yesterday, she wants full disclosure from Sinn Fein and the remanent members of the IRA, not simply of her case alone but all and any such attempts to deal with rape or sexual assault that may have been covered by them in the past.

The Irish press have been pre-occupied with the complex business of covering budget all week. But you could say the issue landed with a crash yesterday.

What Jen O’Leary’s programme achieved to was to catch Gerry Adams and his Praetorian Guard compromised in a civil as opposed to a military affair, and after not before the signing of the Good Friday or Belfast Agreement.

Ms Cahill also asserts fiercely that Ms McDonald already knew about her case at the time she gave firm denials to a national audience on Morning Ireland last year…

Rachel English: Just to be clear on this then, are you aware of any other case where a republican may have questions to answer about how they treated abuse allegations?

Mary Lou McDonald: Well, I’m not Rachel. But that is not to say that there might not be a case like that.

Rachel English: You are not aware of any other case where concerns have been raised?

Mary Lou McDonald: No. I have seen speculation in the media. I have seen other people raise these issues.

Given the huge length of time it has taken (and is still taking) to get the Catholic Church to confess to its own corporate guilt with regard to sexual abuse, nothing is certain. But this unfolding story has the potential to turn into a rather high stakes game…

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  • Johnny Irish

    All big organisations try to keep such matters internal. The RC church are the obvious example but the British army and police forces also historically try to keep allegations of sexual impropriety “in house”. Its the attitudes of the past that are still very prevalent.
    It also ill behoves the BBc, of all organisations to point the finger at others when they have been guilty of such cover ups over the behaviour of some of their top stars over recent decades. Jimmy saville being the most prominent and depraved example !!
    I am surprised the IRA got involved in this. This was a sexual abuse allegation against a man who was a republican. The crime was not political in concept or motivation. It is a criminal matter and purely for the authorities.
    Bottom line is that this is one person’s word against another. There were no witnesses.
    I believe the girl but proving the culpability of the accused will be difficult. I wish her justice and closure.
    But I also believe the opponents of SF on this island will callously use this case to discredit Sinn Fein.

  • Dan

    Was there any comment from the DPP on its failings in this case?

  • Jag

    Spot the difference (it’s no *laughing* matter, did Mary get a talking to?)

    Mary Minihan in the IT yesterday (the image of which appears below).

    And the current version of the article
    http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/gerry-adams-personally-horrified-by-cahill-allegations-1.1966183

    Yesterday’s version

  • Jag

    “The crime was not political in concept or motivation.”

    The alleged rape certainly isn’t political. But a criminal investigation of the alleged rape and its consequences could well be.

    SFers may, like Padraig Wilson (http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-20175429) find their collars being felt for their part in the investigation and charged with IRA membership. How would that look in 2015 when the SFers are genuinely trying to put clear blue water between the barbarity of the civil war and presentday lives?

    And it’s always a risk for an organisation that a former member who is convicted of a crime, may become disgruntled and spill the beans on other incidents which could inflict reputational or judicial damage on SF as an organisation and on specific personalities, some of whom might occupy senior or potential political positions today.

    So, the alleged crime wasn’t political for sure, but dealing with it in 2014 certainly has the potential to be.

  • Robin Keogh

    A genuine query here if anybody can help please? As a republican i am finding all this quite difficult. Trying to seperate whats real and unreal is quite problematic due to the usual suspects jumping on Marias case for personal/political gain. Anyway, here is my question; how do we know that Mary Lou knew all the details? Is it assumption or is there ckear evidence that she was informed either by Adams, the authorities or by the victim herself? If anybody can clear this up for me i would be grateful

  • NMS

    Robin, At this stage it appears no evidence has been produced that Ms. McDonald knew about Ms. Cahill until 2013. I think therefore, unless someone knows otherwise, here statements on the timing should and must be accepted.

    I also agree with you that the bandwagon jumping is a bit much. Those opposed to SF going one way, but the SF trolls going with the metaphorical baseball bats also. However some politicians did treat the matter seriously, for example Joan Burton. She met Ms. Cahill without any of the fuss of FF, picture taking etc.

    I am happy to ignore the FF posturing on the issue. However the activity of some of the SF trolls is incredible. Their activities are clearly coordinated by someone.