Mairia Cahill: Uncomfortable truths for Sinn Fein

Tonight we received this EXCLUSIVE STATEMENT from Maíria Cahill:

Maíria Cahill
Maíria Cahill

Let us all remind ourselves of what Sinn Fein’s position was when the party spokesperson Pearse Doherty was asked repeatedly outside Leinster house about Micheal Martin’s assertion that the IRA dealt internally with cases of abuse.

“Unfounded and untrue, its as clear as I can make it”.

That sounds like a denial to me.

On Thursday Dessie Ellis, and again tonight, Gerry Adams confirmed that the IRA did indeed internally investigate cases of abuse. What moved them? The fact that I told the media that I had spoken to victims, and to former IRA people. And I did. And they realised that their previous denial was crumbling down around them.

They have been dragged kicking and screaming to this admittance, and I have been vindicated.

I was telling the truth.

Four days ago, I came to Dublin to thank Micheal Martin for the support I received from him when I was trying to convince people that the IRA did indeed investigate cases of abuse, and that I was seriously worried about perpetrators in Ireland and further afield, who the IRA had moved on, having access to other children.

I knew this to be true, because it happened to me.

Micheal Martin was attacked by Sinn Fein then, and he has been attacked this week – and I have been accused of making this a political issue.

Let me be very clear. The only people who are politiking on this issue are the very party who have tried all manner of tactics to stop this issue raising its ugly head. Sinn Fein have behaved shamefully. They have attacked me repeatedly, tried to deflect from the issue, tried to discredit me by denying what happened to me, and they have been more than economical with the truth.

Why is this so? Because they are under pressure. And they are under pressure because not only do they know this issue to be true, but they also know, as I have stated, that there are perpetrators out there that the IRA, and some current members of Sinn Fein have given cover to by moving them out of the jurisdiction. And those people potentially have access to children. Right now.

And they are attacking me, because they know there are other victims out there who exist, and they are trying to frighten them off in coming forward. But they will. And be that in a week, or a month, a year, or even ten years – when they do – all of those party spokespersons like Mary Lou, and Pearse, and anyone else who has allowed themselves to be tainted on this issue, are going to be forced into apologising and making reparation to all of those victims. And all of Ireland will remember.

Some of the people who traumatised me as IRA members who forced an investigation / inquiry / interrogation into my alleged abuse are current members of Sinn Fein – indeed one of those members gave the Sinn Fein office in Belfast as his bail address for court. Think about that for a minute. Gerry Adams is saying that “if” it happened, it was wrong. Well, it did happen, and it was wrong, and it defies belief that Mary Lou Mc Donald is saying there are no current Sinn Fein members who covered up for child abuse. Sinn Fein havent expelled the former IRA members who made me confront my alleged abuser, and who then instructed my family and I to be silent on the matter. If that isn’t a cover up, I don t know what is.

And it isn’t an isolated case. In 2005, Gerry Adams met with another relative of mine in relation to another set of abuse victims. His police statement in my case – by his own admission, confirms this. Same perpetrator, Another case. This is a matter of record, and my relative confirmed this to a journalist in 2010. Gerry Adams knew of another set of victims and he met in this regard. And the perpetrator was named, because he had been seen drinking in a bar in Donegal with well known republicans. My relative complained to Adams. His response? She reported that he said “what do you want me to do, bar him from every bar in Ireland?” Gerry states he cooperated with the police in my case. It took Gerry Adams months to give a statement in my case. When he did so, he didnt even meet them face to face. He issued a statement through his solicitor, Seamus Collins. He never spoke to the police directly once. That’s not my idea of cooperation.

I tweeted a link today to an Irish Times article, which had been reported in years previous in a different newspaper. Gerry Adams did not challenge the statement when the first newspaper published, but he complained about the second. Both papers reported that in 1995, he told supporters in North Belfast that people should not report alleged cases of abuse to the RUC.

Two years later my abuse started. Shortly after this, I was in a room with Gerry Adams who was being interviewed by the journalist Eamonn Mallie. I recorded it at that time. Here is what Gerry Adams said about the RUC. “The RUC are completely and totally unacceptable.”

One month before I met with Gerry Adams, he was telling another group of people that they were a “quasi military police force”. He also stated that the community would not deal with them. Now, Gerry is not a stupid man. He knows that this meant that the community could not deal with them, because republicans knew that what Sinn Fein – and what the IRA said – went.

If the IRA had told me to jump through three burning hoops at the time of their investigation, I would have done so. Because what they said went. Equally, if Gerry Adams had told me to go to the RUC in 2000, I would have taken that as a green light to do so. He didn’t. And he now expects people to believe that his private views on the RUC were different to what he was uttering very publicly? Seriously? His credibility is in tatters.

Equally, anyone who knew Siobhan O’Hanlon absolutely knows that she would never have suggested involving the RUC a matter of days after the second IRA investigation ended. The proof of that however is this. Siobhan O’Hanlon learned of my allegations in 1998. She learned of the IRA investigation in 1999. She participated in it. Do you think she would have seriously exposed herself to being named in an RUC complaint? Gerry Adams has reprehensively used his former deceased friend and loyal colleague – and everyone who knew Siobhan knows it.

With regards to Joe Cahill, Adams has stated that I have said Joe told me to go to the RUC. Not true. If he had actually grasped the detail of the BBCNI Spotlight programme, he would have seen that I said no such thing. What I said was that Joe said “if I’d have known, I’d have told you to go to the RUC’. He didn’t know – until after the IRA had involved themselves and facilitated the perpetrator from house arrest and out of the country. That perpetrator was given a cheque to help him on his way. His ex wife delivered it after being handed it by a prominent person at that time in West Belfast. And when Joe did find out, he was able to further discuss that going to the RUC at this point was not an option – because the IRA had involved themselves.

But get this. In 2000, I wrote a letter to the Army Council of the IRA. I photocopied that letter at the time. It’s contemporaneous. In it I clearly state that I would have received better treatment from the RUC than the IRA. I also told them that by disappearing the perpetrator, the republican movement was collectively sending me the message that it was ok for the man to abuse me, and it was ok to facilitate the movement of paedophiles.

Gerry Adams owes my family an apology.

He forgets that there are at least eleven living people who either saw me with those IRA internal investigators at the time, or who met with them, or who acted on their behalf. There are no “ifs”, Sinn Fein. There is more than enough proof that it happened.

Spotlight broadcast that I had told them that one of the IRA women who dealt with me was “sensitive” to me at the time. Sinn Fein have in the last two days tried to discredit my story by saying that I was lying of being frightened during the IRA investigation. Think about that too. I was very frightened of the IRA as an entity. They were, after all, repeatedly questioning an 18 year old about very intimate details of my abuse. Who wouldnt be frightened. But to do what they did – to bring me into a room with my abuser, sent me off the scale in terms of fright. And I hated that IRA woman, and the rest of the IRA members for doing that to me, and for turning me into a shell of a person. But there was a point – six months in – when the IRA brought in a family relative who was also an IRA member in to inform him of my abuse. And that IRA woman came to me and told me out of earshot of the other two that she believed me. And for the first time, after six full months I felt that one of those IRA people maybe had a degree of empathy. And I told Spotlight this. I didnt hide anything, unlike Sinn Fein. And later when I attended counselling (and records of that counselling exist dealing with aspects of the IRA investigation and the abuse), that counsellor told me that she thought I was suffering from Stockholm syndrome in relation to that woman. All I know is that she had opened up a Pandora’s box in my head. But I also knew she felt guilty, and I knew that a senior IRA person told my father that those two women, and the other IRA man would be internally disciplined. And, just as I blamed myself for my sexual abuse, I blamed myself for this woman maybe facing a kangaroo court of her own. And she had also suffered tragedy. Her brother had been killed by the IRA, her father had died, she had other relatives jailed for most of her life, other relatives had died tragically, and crucially, Gerry Adams told me she was a “good girl”. And, the odd time, at Christmas time, I used to send her a card. I knew that her mother was dying and her sister was dying, and I felt sorry for her. It was twofold, and I was confused. That woman put me through absolute hell – but she also apologised in later years and told me that she and the other IRA people had “completely retraumatised” me. And so she should. Her involvement in repeated questioning of myself was beyond disgusting. But to allow people to deny that she and others did that, is worse.

So, back to that denial from Sinn Fein that there has been no cover up of abuse. Its probably the most staggering statement I have heard all week. And it came from Mary Lou Mc Donald – a woman who grew up in the leafy suburbs of middle class Dublin – a million miles away from the IRA’s fifedom of West Belfast. She has absolutely no idea what happened in the 1970’s 80’s 90’s and 00’s. Not. One. Clue. She also has no idea what it is like to be at the receiving end of it, and I hope as a mother, it never darkens her door. But she really should think about why she is allowing herself to be used by her party as cover to issue a blanket denial, when they know all it takes is for one case, just one, to completely discredit her, and Sinn Fein, and Gerry Adams.

There are many dirty tricks employed when anyone speaks out about Sinn Fein. And those decent Sinn Fein members – and most of the rest of this people on this island – will see through them. Because they know that I am telling the truth. And they know that, just like what happened to me, the IRA internally investigated cases of abuse and covered it up. Tonight is the first time Gerry Adams has admitted it – after years of my assertions that it happened.

They have now vindicated those assertions they have been denying for years. It is now time for them to apologise to me, and to every other victim of abuse out there that they have shamefully, disgustingly, and disgracefully treated on this issue.

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