Mairia Cahill honoured with James Larkin award

UPDATED – WITH VIDEO

Mairia Cahill was last night presented with the ‘Larkin Thirst for Justice Award’ at the Labour Party’s National Conference in Killarney.

The award, named after the trade union leader and founder member of the Labour Party James Larkin, is awarded to a person who, in their personal and/or professional life has made an outstanding contribution in the area of human rights and justice.

Speaking at the INEC in Killarney minutes before Joan Burton’s keynote address Ms. Cahill told delegates:

I’m honoured and very humbled by this award which I would like to accept, not on my behalf, but on behalf of every single person who has been abused and who is suffering the cancer of suffocation of not being able to tell anyone about their own experiences. If this is you, do it. Because it is in breaking the silence that things start to change for the better.

I am also deeply grateful to Jennifer O’Leary, Chris Thornton and the rest of the BBC Spotlight team for giving me a voice that was kept silent for years, but which I was finally able to use in October… and I’m grateful to them for dealing with the issue in a sensitive way and treating me with respect. Their programme, which won a prestigious Royal Television Society award two weeks ago, was the catalyst for the months which followed, and the forcing of Sinn Féin to admit the wider issue of the movement of suspected sex abusers around the country. Sinn Féin would never have admitted this had it not been for Spotlight, and the subsequent media interest, and the help of others along the way.

They have still not answered any of the questions which Spotlight put to them … not one. And they denied me my experiences and sought to discredit me. I will not allow them to do this. I suffered horrendous treatment at the hands of the IRA and Sinn Féin, and I am entitled to speak out about what happened to me. I will not be silenced because it is politically inconvenient for some.

Let me tell you what it feels like to be scared. I remember the first fingers laid on me and what that felt like. My childhood wiped in a split second. I remember the fright. The confusion. Being too afraid to open my eyes as the IRA man got a sick kick out of using me like a rag doll.

Not being able to scream out loud. Screaming inside my head instead. Keeping my eyes shut in the hope he would go away. Feeling the pain. Digging my fingernails secretly into my skin to that I could flip my head somewhere else. Wanting to be sick. Feeling owned. The smells. Disgust. Shame. Fear.

It took many years before I realised I was not to blame. The responsibility for my abuse lay with my abuser. The responsibility for an illegal forced investigation which culminated in making me face my abuser lay with the IRA, and the responsibility for the cover up, and continued cover up of my abuse lies with Sinn Féin. It was not, and is not my fault.

I tried to obtain justice for myself in a court, and I was badly let down. I will probably never get over the fact that my abuser is now free and will never be held accountable for his gross violation of not only me as a child, but his other victims.

Graffiti in West Belfast, December 2014. Photo by Malachi O’Doherty

Graffiti in West Belfast, December 2014. Photo by Malachi O’Doherty

Justice was ultimately denied to me. I had to endure four years from the point of complaint to trial, and it took it’s toll. Then, when I waived my lifetime right to anonymity to tell my experiences, I was subject to some of the most vile abuse imaginable in an effort to frighten me into silence. Every aspect of my life was scrutinised, from my weight, to my dress, I was told I “deserved to be raped”, that I was a “lying psycho bitch”, an “evil woman”, that I enticed my rapist with my virginity and was involved in a clandestine affair, graffiti was spray-painted on the walls of West Belfast – and this orchestrated campaign of vilification to save Sinn Fein’s neck on this issue was not condemned once by Gerry Adams, despite being repeatedly asked to do so. Non condemnation creates the conditions for it to continue and it is a very dangerous message to send to any victim of abuse. “Open your mouth and we will attack you, keep your mouth shut, or this is the collective treatment you will receive.” Well, that is a despicable way to treat any human being, and I will not allow any other victims of abuse to be further abused in this manner.

Ms. Cahill continues to be the victim of online abuse by a small but vociferous group on social media. One Dublin based man has alone posted over 1000 tweets on the subject and this week a Belfast based individual was charged under the misuse of telecommunications act and harrassment. A number of so-called ‘parody’ accounts attacking Ms. Cahill (the latest created only last night) have also appeared on Twitter.

Sir Keir Starmer QC

Sir Keir Starmer QC

A report by Sir Keir Starmer , a former director of public prosecutions for England and Wales, who was appointed to review all aspects of three prosecutions related to the Mairia Cahill case, is due to be published in the coming weeks.

 

 

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  • aber1991

    “And in the Louth Constituency, she would be an interesting candidate.”

    Why would she not be an interesting candidate in West Belfast?

  • Dazzer Fury

    SF are at the top of polls in the South. Doing very well. What party would she be in Louth? Labour who are at -5%. Or Independent?

  • Dazzer Fury

    in recent polls Independents are going down. The thing is they are not united they are all over the place.We had Reboot Ireland that got hype and now look dead in the water.The Independents are fractured and are not a party.SF are the largest party in Ireland.

  • Zeno

    “SF are the largest party in Ireland.”

    14.7% of the electorate support them in Northern Ireland.
    178,000 voters from 1.2 million.
    The other 1,000000 + voters don’t support them.
    The most popular vote here is None of the Above. 556,000 at teh last election.

  • Dazzer Fury

    the South we are divided remember they are the most popular party in the South

  • Dazzer Fury

    you are the one going on about how this will effect them.And I am saying its not.Polls show them rising again.

  • Zeno

    Call it a hunch or maybe some incredible 6th sight, but I’m starting to think you’re a SF supporter…………

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    ‘How do you solve a problem like Mairia?’

    Enter the trolls….

  • chrisjones2

    Sushhh Connolly House doesnt get up till 11 am on Sunday then it needs a fry, cappuccino and a fag…let them sleep

  • chrisjones2

    ….and that says a lot that 178000 Irish Men and women are prepared to vote for a party where senior members helped cover up the rape of a young woman and spirit the offender away from justice and did the same in many other cases

    But that’s between them and their consciences

  • Dec

    ‘Spirit the offender away from justice’

    That version somewhat glosses over the fact that there was a trial.

  • Glenn Clare

    Chris, are you not on message, you cant mention that these same people were the same people who harbored and knew their organization had moved child sexual abusers within their organisation.
    These same people we are told, are fine up standing people, and are deserving of those 178000 voters.

    They will then have the responsibility to make laws on child sexual abuse and those who cover it up and those who assist the child sexual abuser evade the courts. Cover up’s and evading so they can carry on their child sexual abuse some where else within their own communities in on the island of Ireland, or within their own communities in UK, Europe of USA.

    Or is it more to do with a far more fundamental issue of hate, and child sexual abuse and their victims are just another casualty of their ongoing campaign.

  • Glenn Clare

    “That version somewhat glosses over the fact that there was a trial”.

    That reply somewhat glosses over that they spirited away many other abusers, this disturbingly was their default position.

    A default position until their hand was forced by the media contacting their leader about a case he know all about and was directly and centrally involved with. Hardly a confidence builder on equality, after all who can fear equality and treating others as you would want to be treated.

    And to quote Gerry Adams “But what’s the point? The point is to actually break these bastards – that’s the point. And what’s going to break them is equality…That’s what we need to keep the focus on – that’s the Trojan horse of the entire republican strategy is to reach out to people on the basis of equality.”

    Can we now expect “equality”, that the same “equality” that Gerry Adams spoke of, for the victims of their child sexual abuse, carried out on and hidden from their own community???

    Or is the Mairia Cahill case the new default position on “equality” for child sexual abuse and their families within their own community???

    Now that Sinn Fein/IRA and it’s leadership are now advocating a strong emphasis on “equality”, that brings us on to the next issue.

    How much “equality”, are they prepared to give the rest of their victims of child sexual abuse. Are they actively involved in bringing the rest of these child sexual abusers to justice and give the “equality” under the law that these victims have been denied for so long.

    If this is an “equality”, and equality under the law issue, an anonymous list of names is just not enough. But I suspect that it’s all the “equality” the many victims of republican child sexual abuse are going to get. Limited or no assistance for the police, to catch these pedophiles within their communities. Equality.

  • chrisjones2

    All animals are created equal ………

  • Dan

    Will anyone have any faith whatsoever in a review carried out by Labour candidate Kier Starmer?

  • Glenn Clare
  • Robin Keogh

    I think there could be a difficulty for Mairia in that if she were to stand she would need to beat the SF candidate heavily. Anything less might be seen as a rejection of some of her claims by a large section of the public.

  • babyface finlayson

    The article does not mention her standing in Louth or anywhere else. Has it been mooted elsewhere?
    I agree with you that it would be risky for her. The campaign would certainly be embarrassing for Adams and SF, but in the long run the inevitable defeat could hurt her.

  • Jay

    She’s become the stick to beat SF with. Sad really, she’s being used for purely political reasons.
    We shall see what the police report says.

  • Glenn Clare

    No, none, not at all.

  • aber1991

    How do Sinn Fein solve the problem? She refused to give evidence against the alleged rapist. What more is needed?

  • aber1991

    “A brave woman.”

    How brave is she? Why did she not give evidence against the person accused of raping her?

  • aber1991

    What are HER rights? Do those rights include the right to insult the victims of Prod tyranny?

  • Glenn Clare

    “What more is needed”? Sinn Fein/IRA to tell the truth would be a good start. “Equality”.

  • aber1991

    Maria Cahill made the allegations. Yet refused to give evidence. Why has she not been prosecuted for wasting police time?

  • aber1991

    WHY would Maria Cahill being a candidate mean that Sinn Fein could not open their mouths for the duration of the campaign?
    Do I detect a streak of arrogance in your postings?

  • T.E.Lawrence

    “Victims embarrass the NIO and the political process” Indeed John – Without Doubt ! Here is the NIO posted Role “The NIO role is to maintain and support the devolution settlement resulting from the Good Friday Agreement !
    If Maria is serious about running in politics you do not go into your political opponents backyard for a first scrap. Run in the South Belfast Westminster Constituency in May and generate a bigger profile that way !

  • Jim £53

    But some more equal than others.

  • Robin Keogh

    You say SF will ‘get away with it’ but you dont actually tell us what ‘it’ actually is? Since the Cahill story broke there has been huge political and media focus on it, but yet it has done nothing to dent the standing of SF in the polls, yes GA personal support dropped a couple of points but it is still on a par with other leaders. SF have never attacked her either directly or indirectly, they have disputed her version of certain events because they differ from the version of events given by her accused. At no time has any member of the party as far a I am aware, ever accused her of lying in regards to her alleged rape. She has been the subject of wicked and outrageous comments on social media for sure however, these idiots might well be SF supporters but they are certainly not known members, if they were they would be expelled from the party. Maria is wrong to say that GA has not condemned social media attacks against her, he has, along with many other senior SF members. He and SF have also called on people who have information about any kind of abuse anywhere to bring it to the the attention of the authorities immediately. You are quite wrong if you really believe that nobody in the Media would want to ‘rock the boat’ before an election. Quite the opposite in fact, if GA and SF are sure of anything, they can be sure that in the days and weeks leading to an election, some elements in the Media go into overdrive hysterical innacurate and sensational anti Shinner propaganda mode. If Mairia stands for election North or South, I wish her the best of luck, as a vocal advocate for survivors of abuse I would imagine she would be popular and very effective. However, if she allows herself to be abused by certain media and political elements, and is seen to stand as a ‘ I hate Gerry and the Shinners’ candidate, it could hurt her further should she not do very well.

  • Robin Keogh

    God ! I can believe he is back with his wooden Calculator !

  • Robin Keogh

    Similar I suppose to the Hundreds of thousands of people who voted for Unionists parties whilst they conducted economic and cultural terrorism on their Catholic neighbours, if you want a society that shares your scruples when it comes to voting, dont create a society based on sectarianism and hatred

  • Robin Keogh

    Sorry, but you need to check your figures. The SF vote in Ireland is in the region of 500,000

  • carl marks

    and new battery’s.
    I blame it on the education system !

  • carl marks

    as is your beliefs about nail bombs and primary school girls.
    how’s your conscience holding out on that one! certainly hasn’t stopped you from complaining about other people!

  • Robin Keogh

    Ok

  • Robin Keogh

    I blame it on the beer he drinks !

  • Niall Conneely

    Why does she not bring a civil case against her abuser?

  • Niall Conneely

    I have no doubt that GerryAdams will top the poll again in Louth

  • Sp12

    Could this be the last James Larkin award?

  • Glenn Clare

    Speaks volumes about the voters in Louth.

  • Dec

    ‘That reply somewhat glosses over that they spirited away many other abusers, this disturbingly was their default’

    Probably because it’s a thread about Mairia Cahill.

  • Robin Keogh

    Lets hope he can bring a second shinner in with him

  • Robin Keogh

    As a mater of interest, what in your view does it say about the twenty thousand or so people in louth that vote SF?

  • aber1991

    It probably does. Good to see that people in at least one part of Eire have a high regard for a member of the oppressed tribe in Northern Ireland.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “What more is needed?” Um, well, probably something that stops her appearing on the TV , agitating Shinners and winning awards….

  • aber1991

    She has given offence to oppressed Northern Ireland Catholics. So have you.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “oppressed Northern Ireland Catholics”

    Did we offend both of them?

  • Dazzer Fury

    It is obviously right for her and for women that her story is told at every opportunity a d an Election is an opportunity.”

    We elect people on what they do for the community and their politics if you just elect TDs to make her story told then it is unwise.You do not let just anybody run for a election.

    Will she stand for RNU up North perhaps?

  • Dazzer Fury

    well if she goes up against a sf PERSON WITH YEARS WORKING IN THE COMMUNITY AND GIVING THEIR LIFE TO POLITICS AND DOING A GOOD JOB WHY WOULD THEY NOT GET ELECTED ON THAT.YOU DO NOT JUST ELECT A PERSON AS THEY MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE BEEN ABUSED IN THEIR YOUTH?SURELY QUALIFICATIONS ARE WHAT MATTERS?

  • Dazzer Fury

    You are the only one making the conversation about her running for a election?What qualifications has she to run?

  • Dazzer Fury

    her word against his.cant be proven.Trial by media with a agenda suits them better.

  • Dazzer Fury

    Labour are a disgrace North and South.

  • Zeno

    14.7% of the electorate support them in Northern Ireland.
    178,000 voters from 1.2 million.
    The other 1,000000 + voters don’t support them.
    The most popular vote here is None of the Above. 556,000 at the last election.

    It’s called putting their support in perspective.

  • Zeno

    I don’t think we have had an election here since the Cahill story broke. Or since the info on the mysterious research companies who produce nothing for large amounts of money.

    2011 Local Assembly 178,224 down by over 2000

    2007 Local Assembly 180,573

    2010 Westminster 171,942 down by over 2500

    2005 Westminster 174,530

    I wouldn’t get too carried away with SF’s performance in the North. It seems to have stalled.

  • aber1991

    Stop trying to be funny. Prod tyranny is not a joking matter.

  • aber1991

    Please, there is no need to insult him or any other poster. Insulting him does not answer his argument.

  • aber1991

    Why waste time debating with the average Prod? Most Prods are not capable of making a connection between Prod tyranny and Catholic violence.

    Of more than 300 members of the IRA killed in Northern Ireland, only 6 were from Eire. Very few Prods will ask themselves why the partition of Ireland should be able to motivate the young Catholics of Northern Ireland to take up the gun while not so motivating the young men of Eire. For a Prod to ask himself such a question would lead him to a truth few Prods want to face. Prod tyranny and aggression in Northern Ireland, including the burning of Bombay Street, caused the Troubles. Most Prods and, indeed, most Eire people will try to wriggle up their own nostrils before admitting such a thing.

  • james

    Well, Republican tyranny is no day at the beach, either. Which I think is rather the point of this story.

  • james

    Once again – plan A: Blame the ‘Prods’. I take it by that you mean Protestants? This story is a about a women who was raped as a child by a secret society Republicans dedicated, mainly, to the pastimes of murder and extortion. Could you perhaps explain how what happened to Cahill is all the fault of the Protestant population of Northern Ireland?

  • aber1991

    I do not indulge in personal abuse.

    If you are bored by comments about Prod tyranny, I am sorry. Have you thought about moving to a land where you would never hear complaints about Prod tyranny?

  • aber1991

    I refer you to remarks made by a Prod about people who vote for Sinn Fein.

  • james

    And I refer you back to my question. I asked how you figure that repeated child rape, indulged in by IRA members and seemingly condoned and enabled by senior figures in the Republican ‘family’ is the fault of the Protestant community. Simple enough question. I wonder why you don’t fancy answering it?

  • Neilo

    That there are 20,000 skangers in Louth and I say that as a once proud Louth man

  • Neilo

    Oppressed by class-leading social provision, a free house courtesy of the British taxpayer and MLAs/MPs coining it in on expenses? If that’s oppression, mister, you can oppress me up.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    When a theatre riot met the fourth night performance of “The Plough and the Stars” at the Abbey Theatre Yeats shouted down the unruly audience with “You have disgraced yourselves again; is this to be the recurring celebration of the arrival of Irish genius?”

    This thread presents yet another see-saw division between those who simply hate Sinn Féin and those who will turn a blind eye on anything Adams does in support of their party. And somewhere in all of this the culpability of the party for continuing to support a leader who is unquestionably compromised is excused as a defence against political opponents. A dramatic image of our collective “Willful blindness” and how it effects political morality and encourages increasingly ingrained habits of accepting levels of unaccountability:

    http://sluggerotoole.com/2015/02/27/friday-thread-the-dangers-of-willful-blindness/

    There are very, very real issues here that are never seemingly addressed with the seriousness they deserve, about just how far a party that proported to defend the rights of an abused community can hold any credibility in the face of how its leader acts in particular situations. Maíria Cahill’s case is not a stand alone, and GA is far from the only culpable figure in Irish politics, but until SF accepts that its electoral success simply shows just how far our general public’s political morality has been poisoned, we can expect nothing but decline and increasing abuse and corruption in our political public life. And for anyone who takes these things at all seriously and knows any history, it would be clear where Big Jim Larkin would have stood on all of this. So, a most fitting award!

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    How many times a week would you say you personally are oppressed by the Prods in Magherafelt district?

  • Dazzer Fury

    I think its in your head she is running in a Election.?Or do you know more?You have changed the convo into that from the start.

  • Dazzer Fury

    The occupation is the reason IRA was created?So you have to get the blame.There was no police force for Catholics to use so we had to deal with things in communities.

  • Dazzer Fury

    she is only one person trying to be a TD. It would not matter. She would have to do the job if she got voted in. You cant say every 1 in SF is not respectable.

    You do need skills and qualifications as it gives you a better chance of being elected.

  • aber1991

    Nearly every day since September 1958. In to-day’s Irish News (Monday 2 March 2015) there is an example of that in a column by Dr Eamon Phoenix when describing the conduct of Magherafelt Rural District Council in 1946.

  • aber1991

    That is Prod propaganda.

  • aber1991

    Not entire but most of them.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Right. Well, rather than heading back to the era of Steam packet ships and imperial disintegration could you please furnish us with something a little bit more current?

    If you are oppressed on a daily basis by the protestant minority of Magherafelt district on a daily basis then why not give an example of this rather than harking back to 1946.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Police officers would be wasting their own time here

  • Kevin Breslin

    Maybe as a special advisor, same influence, more money, less accountable.

  • james

    Well, I think you are confusing two things here. I have made no comment on the investigation by the IRA into their colleague’s sex crime. I asked how in this world the rape itself could possibly be blamed on us ‘Prods’. Or by ”dealing with things in communities” are you seriously suggesting that the IRA had no choice but to sexually assault underage girls because of their distrust of the RUC. If you cannot be bothered to read the post you are replying to, perhaps it is better not to reply at all.

  • james

    Do Republicans have an opinion bank of sorts where brief printed handouts of ‘The World according to Gerry’ can be picked up so you all know what to say and what to think?