Adams: “Sinn Féin has not engaged in any cover-up of abuse at any level of this party.”

Speaking at a party candidate event earlier today in Belfast, Sinn Fein President, Gerry Adams TD made another statement about the Cahill case; below are his remarks to members of his party

The allegations of Maíria Cahill have been at the centre of the media and political system North and South, in recent times. Over the course of the past week Maíria Cahill has made serious allegations against myself and named Sinn Féin members.

While I am very mindful of the trauma she has suffered I and the others she has named reject those allegations. The allegations made by Maíria Cahill have been seized upon in the most cynical, calculated and opportunistic way by our political opponents.

Their aim has little to do with helping victims of abuse, but everything to do with furthering their own narrow political agendas. The serious and sensitive issues of abuse should be dealt with in a victim-centred way by the appropriate authorities. Instead they have been politicised in the Dáil, the Assembly chamber and in the media.

I am very conscious that a young woman is at the centre of this controversy. So, let me be very, very clear. Abuse is wrong. It cannot and must not be tolerated. Let me be equally clear. Sinn Féin has not engaged in any cover-up of abuse at any level of this party.

This accusation is a vile slur on thousands of decent, upstanding republican people right across this island.

Those Sinn Féin members to whom Maíria Cahill spoke, have said that they believed that she had been a victim of abuse, and that she had suffered trauma. They assure me that they did all that they could to support her. That is what I did also.

The Taoiseach, the Fianna Fail Leader and some media commentators have also tried to draw comparisons between the actions of Sinn Féin representatives in this case and that of the Catholic Church in dealing with abuse allegations.

A cursory examination of the facts gives the lie to that ridiculous assertion. The Church hierarchy and the State presided over institutional abuse for decades. It was a systemic and deliberate practice.

In stark contrast Sinn Féin has encouraged victims to speak out. All the Sinn Féin members who spoke to Mairia Cahill acted in good faith to support her. They advised her to speak to her family, to seek counselling or to approach social services.

Her uncle Joe Cahill at my request asked her to go to the RUC.

Now even Joe is shamefully depicted as a sex abuser by some of the media. This has been deeply hurtful to his wife Annie, their children and grandchildren. Whose agenda is served by this despicable rubbish?

Some sections of the media and in particular the Independent Group, have taken these allegations against Sinn Féin, added to them, and reported them as fact. They speculate with ill-concealed glee about how much damage this controversy will do to me and Sinn Féin.

While rightfully criticising the idea of ‘kangaroo courts’, they have set themselves up as judge and jury on this issue.

This is not journalism in the normal sense but a campaign with a clear political agenda. This society is still emerging from decades of conflict.

That conflict caused widespread hurt and suffering, as did the absence of the structures and institutions which are the norm in peaceful democratic societies.

There are many legacy issues arising from the conflict. Sinn Féin accepts our responsibility to help bring about the resolution of these issues. That is not our responsibility alone. The Governments and others must deal with the past also. Victims include a wider category than those killed or injured.

They include those badly served or mistreated by the forces of the state, or by armed groups including the IRA.

How the various protagonists dealt with the issue of sexual abuse is clearly one of the legacy issues which needs to be resolved as part of the necessary business of dealing with the past.

However there is an onus on us all to meet the needs of victims of abuse and the concerns of the community in the here and now. To do what we can today. To the maximum extent that this can be dealt with now, it should be dealt with.

I have already set out the circumstances in which the IRA sought to deal with some cases of abuse when asked to do so by families and victims. I have acknowledged that while IRA volunteers were acting in good faith, the IRA was not equipped to deal with these difficult matters.

But the clock cannot be turned back. Sinn Féin cannot change what happened in the past. But we can acknowledge failure. That is what I have done.

Everyone, including us, has a duty to ensure that the mistakes of the past are not repeated. That is not the responsibility only of Sinn Fein. IRA actions failed victims of abuse. As Uacharáin Shinn Féin I have acknowledged that. I am sorry for that. And I apologise for that.

This week in the Dáil, the Taoiseach disgracefully twisted and sought to misrepresent what I have said on this issue. He and the Fianna Fáil leader have shown a callous disregard for the facts as they turned the Dáil chamber into an episode of reality television.

Neither the Taoiseach nor the Fianna Fáil leader has ever sought to meet with me to address the false allegations that they have levelled against me and others in Sinn Féin. Instead they have rushed into media with their vindictive claims.

Mr Kenny and Mr Martin have done the very thing they accuse Republicans of. They have set aside the judicial process and the rights of citizens before the law. They have ignored the acquittal of those they have accused.

The Taoiseach has claimed that sexual abusers were ‘moved’ – his words, not mine –  to “Dublin, Donegal, Louth”. The Taoiseach has repeatedly claimed that he has knowledge of alleged child abusers from the North but living in the South.

He says that others have given him information identifying these alleged child abusers. He has raised alarm and concern on this issue. Has the Taoiseach gone to the Gardaí with this information? Has he insisted that those who gave him this information  go to the Gardaí?

If not why not?

It is up to the Gardaí or the PSNI to investigate and to prosecute anyone they suspect of child abuse, irrespective of who they are, where they come from or what organisation they may belong to. I have no knowledge of the claims that the Taoiseach is making.

I have already called on anyone who has any information whatsoever about any case of sexual abuse to come forward to the authorities North or South. They will have the full support of Sinn Féin in so doing.

No one should be living in fear and no child should be at risk.

I am calling on any former IRA Volunteers, who may have any information about any allegations of sexual abuse to pass this on to the appropriate authorities. That is, the PSNI, An Garda Siochána, Social Services, the HSE or any of the advocacy groups or helplines which deal with sexual abuse cases.

This could also be done through any of the statutory and voluntary organisations which offer confidential 24 hour helplines. These agencies are properly equipped to pursue these matters. Secrecy has surrounded abuse in Ireland.

It was taboo to discuss, and some victims were very fearful to disclose. The only way to face this problem is to support victims, and to empower them to speak out.

Republicans are reflective of wider Irish society. Abusers can be found in all walks of life. Any abuser within republicanism, has done grievous wrongs to their victims and sullied our cause.

But they are not in any way representative of the thousands, or tens of thousands of republican activists who served the republican cause in the ranks of the IRA, and Sinn Féin.

They are not representative of the  tens of thousands of republican prisoners who served hard time for the republican cause. Or of our Patriot dead. There are republican families in every parish in Ireland.

Good men and women who have kept in faith in hard times. There are ten thousand citizens in the ranks of Sinn Féin today representing hundreds of thousands of republican voters the length and breadth of this island.

The politicisation of this issue by An Taoiseach and the Fiánna Fail Leader comes at a time when we present a real alternative to the conservative parties that have failed citizens since Partition.

When challenged by me in the Dáil, Mr Kenny conceded that there are many decent people in Sinn Féin.

Let me tell you Taoiseach, we don’t need you to tell us that. We know that. We also know that we are not part of any conspiracy to protect child abusers or to cover up abuse.

So the difficult issues raised by Mairia Cahill must be addressed. But there are processes for doing this. They should be applied and respected.

Let us be clear this is not achievable by exploiting her story in a blatant effort to demonise Sinn Féin.”

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  • Glenn Clare

    Liar, liar pants on fire. Adams is becoming a comical figure. Did he write or even proof read that statement before he read it. The man is delusional and becoming one of the best assets the Unionists have. Every time a Unionist needs to question a Sinn Fein/IRA decision all they need to do is ask do they believe Adams when he says

    “So, let me be very, very clear. Abuse is wrong. It cannot and must not be tolerated.
    Let me be equally clear. Sinn Féin has not engaged in any cover-up of abuse at any level of this party”.

    Has he forgotten his brothers case so quickly

    Long may he continue in power at the head of Sinn Fein/IRA.

  • Michael-Henry Mcivor

    ” Mr Kenny and Mr Martin have done the very thing they accuse Republicans of-they have set aside the Judicial Process and the rights of Citizens before the law-they have ignored the acquittal of those they have accused “-

    What a knockout speech- Kenny Martin and a few others named and found guilty in their speeches and writings those that the law found not Guilty- Slurs can not beat the Law-and the place for Slur makers is in the dock-

  • Jag

    (1) Where were abusers expelled to (to use the word “expelled” as used by GA last week)
    (2) How many were expelled (the Irish News reports “at least six”, is this just the tip of the iceberg)
    (3) where were they expelled to, and when
    (4) What monitoring took place post-expulsion
    (5) Were the expelled, reported by SF or the IRA to authorities at their relocated addresses
    (6) How many re-offended

    If there’s no cover-up, what’s the difficulty with providing this information? The senior SF position is to fold their arms, face their questioners, utter meaningless nothings about “it was wrong” and “I apologise”, but where is the data for us to verify, where are the consequences for something that “is wrong” and when questioners try to tease out the ramifications of what has taken place, are sharply told to “prove it!”

    Sinn Fein are abusing the term “cover-up”.

  • Comrade Stalin

    What a knockout speech


  • NMS

    Jag has made reference elsewhere to the old maxim, when in a hole,……. Now the Provo approach has not been just to let Gerry and his teddies to continue digging, but to throw Pearse Doherty & Ms. McDonald in to dig too. Again today, they sit loyally beside him.

    Mr. Adams continues to use the word “abused” not “raped” about Ms Cahill. He accepts that she was “abused”, but is not willing to discuss the issue any further. Ms. McDonald, who may yet be the biggest loser out of this whole affair, accepts that she was raped, but cannot take the extra step (in public anyway) of accepting the rest of her story. Peadar Tóibín has moved the closest to accepting her story in full.

    The farcical behaviour of leading IRA leaders not aware of kangaroo courts adds insult to injury.

    Ms. Cahill has alleges that there is a massive campaign intimidation against her. We saw the way Bobby Storey behaved after his leader was released from questioning over the McConville murder. Adams request for Provos to go to the authorities about any cases of abuse they are aware of is a classic piece of doublespeak, straight from 1984.

    The timidity of Sinn Féin members speaks of darker forces. In any normal political organisation someone would have spoken openly at this stage. The threats made to the McConvilles were clear. The men of violence are still there. If anyone dares to say anything against them, they will run to their “human rights” lawyers to obtain justice. Not truth, justice.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Knockout only if we could trust his words, but after Áine……

    I entirely agree that political opponents are shamelessly using this for their own ends, but they have been provided with the ammunition for their attack by GAs past and present behaviour. No-one has any high ground here except those who have suffered and still shown the true courage to speak out across the cynical mess all politicians of every hue are making of their lives.

  • Katie-o

    I’m with Newton Emmerson on this one…

  • Ernekid

    It seems that it’s only the cult of personality amongst Shinners that is keeping Gerry Adams in power

  • Dixie Elliott

    What a knock out speech!! Says MH McIvor….

    Even if he and most of SF couldn’t hear what Adams was saying they’d still claim it was great….

    You keep droning on and on about the Judical Process so tell me this do you think that Diplock Courts are now acceptable after decades of protesting against them?

    This shows the idiot sheep that most shinners are when a Diplock Court is now acceptable.

  • Dixie Elliott

    Marty now says he believes she was raped Gerry says abused. Marty made a secret deal with Peter to push through Welfare Reform, Gerry overruled him in his own interests….

    Left Twix Right Twix.

  • Johnny Irish

    On this very site a photo was shown of Mairia holding a banner of ogra SF demanding the disbandment of the RUC ! Republican Sinn Fein ???
    What are her motives?
    Strange bedfellows indeed with anti agreement unionists, nationalists and all parties in the Dail all using this poor victims plight for their own political aims.
    They do not care about her.
    Shame on them !

  • Slater

    No shortage of direct action a few years back.

    Henry McDonald
    The Observer,
    Sunday 13 August 2000

    The IRA thought they had beaten and shot an elderly paedophile.
    They battered down the door of John Brown’s flat in the nationalist New
    Lodge area of north Belfast. The 79-year-old was held down, kicked and
    then shot in both knees and an ankle.

    The attack, less than a fortnight after the 1998 Good Friday Agreement was signed, seemed to
    make a mockery of politicians’ claims that Northern Ireland was entering
    a new phase of peace. Brown was the victim of whispering games and
    inaccurate intelligence. Within days the RUC announced that Brown was
    the victim of mistaken identity. A convicted sex offender had lived on
    the same landing as Brown, but had moved out a few months earlier.

    Despite an IRA apology, Brown has refused to return to New Lodge. He is now a
    recluse living in a bedsit on the Antrim Road; terrified to go out for
    fear of another attack.

  • Michael-Henry Mcivor

    Where did I say that Diplock was acceptable Dixie- wishful thinking from your good self-

    Gerry Adams has come out on top of a leaders poll tonight- beating Kenny and Martin and Joan of Labour-two weeks the media tried their best but Gerry and the people have beaten them again- they should make new stories up as Sinn Fein climb over the lies to the top-that will make good reading in tomorrow’s papers-

    Two weeks of unrelenting attacks on Sinn Fein and the media can’t even dent the support they have-

  • Dixie Elliott

    You keep saying that Mairia Cahill had her day in court but if you didn’t have your head up Gerrys arse you’d know it was a Diplock Court. Why hold a rape case in a Diplock Court?

    Don’t bother answering I’m certain it’ll be stupid.

  • Robin Keogh

    What a stupid comment

  • Concubhar O Liathain

    You’re deluded and placing far too much stock in a court judgement, especially from a court you’ve never really placed too much stock in. If you’re so worried about court judgements, however, how come Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness and others accept that Mairia Cahill was raped, despite the ‘acquittal’ of the accused in that case, but not her account of her treatment by SF and the IRA subsequent to her rape?

  • chrisjones2

    “Sinn Féin has not engaged in any cover-up of abuse at any level of this party………. and I was never in the IRA”

  • chrisjones2

    So some people support those who cover up incest child rape and child abuse…some culture you have there Michael

  • chrisjones2

    ‘this poor victim’ was a victim of SF and PIRA

    And w2hat are you suggesting? If she holds antiagreemnert views (which she clearly doesn’t) then it is OK that she was raped? I really hope that isn’t the argument