Okay, on the basis that most of the outputs around the Paudie McGahan story are repetitive and, frankly, depressing, let’s turn to Miriam Lord (€)…
Why is Sinn Féin being singled out here? It’s most unfair.
You can’t expect a political party/republican movement the size of Sinn Fein to know about every senior IRA operative who’s been accused of sex abuse. And you certainly can’t expect the party leader to know, particularly as he was never in the IRA.
The party’s Justice Spokesman, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn endeavoured to explain this on Newstalk yesterday morning. Upwards of 30,000 republicans were involved in the “conflict” in Northern Ireland, any of whom could have been abusers. (Law of averages and all that.)
So many people could have been at it. Impossible to know.
…the Sinn Féin leader repeated for the second day that whoever raped teenager Paudie McGahon “did not act in my name, or the name of Sinn Féin” or in the name of those people who “suffered for the republican cause” over the years.
So the abuse was not done in the name of the IRA, but in whose name were the alleged cover-ups committed? And what does it matter?
And then this…
Former Louth TD Arthur Morgan pitched up on his local station, LMFM.
Around the same time his former leader was agreeing that he knew the name of the alleged rapist, Morgan said: “I don’t know the identity of the man . . . I don’t know if I know him or not.”
And he was the man supposedly keeping Gerry in the loop.
McGahon said it was Morgan who told him his abuser was back in the area. But the former TD said it happened the other way around.
So Paudie tells Arthur that this senior IRA man who raped him is back in Louth. But, strangely, the victim never said where the man was living.
“I’ve no idea where the guy is – I’d no idea then, I’ve still no idea where he was.”
But, said the interviewer, you knew a child rapist was living locally? Not at all, said the former TD. “Not locally, not locally . . . it wasn’t in our region.”
And skipping to the end, here’s Enda…
Gerry Adams insisted there had been no cover-ups.
But he can’t say where senior republicans who allegedly abused children, exiled by kangaroo courts to other parts of Ireland, might be living.
As he said earlier on radio, it’s not his or his party’s job to carry out investigations.
Enda outlined what would normally happen.
“If a similar situation were to arise for the leader of Fianna Fáil, for myself or for the leader of the Labour Party, we would be expected not only to ask the relevant questions but to find out who ordered the kangaroo court, who attended it and where they are now. If a member of any branch of Fine Gael around the country was exiled, I would find him or her in 10 minutes.”
Which is true.
The very real political issue here is public protection. All public representatives, regardless of their party loyalties have a duty of care to anyone in their constituency who reports such matters and they (not the victim) are obliged hand it over to the police and judiciary.
The Republic’s Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan has said she believes Sinn Féin and the IRA have conducted 100 investigations into child abuse: something Sinn Fein representatives deny flatly.
The alleged victim is de facto has to be accused of ‘lying’, because otherwise the position of people former Deputy Morgan is untenable.
As noted previously, Machiavelli (a man who paved the way for a more democratic form of politics) described well the position all these victims (alleged and otherwise) now find themselves in:
…it is before the magistrates, the people, or the courts of justice that men are impeached; but in the streets and market places that they are calumniated. Calumny, therefore, is most rife in that State wherein impeachment is least practised, and the laws least favour it.
Such calumnies as we have seen thus far may spring from an urge to defend the party, but they also likely to have the effect of frightening others back into silence.
Which is just about everything the alleged abusers who are still at large require.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty