And whilst the SDLP gets tangled in all kinds of mess with welfare reform, Micheal Martin keeps up his one man Republican opposition to Sinn Fein on the Starmer report (copy via reader Jag) released yesterday…
The report vindicates Mairia Cahill who bravely stood up to on-going abuse and spin by Sinn Féin. Consistent claims that the court case had found all suspects not guilty have been given their proper context by this report.
The unacceptable delays and weakening of the case led to the withdrawal of the three women from the process. This directly contradicts the Sinn Fein claims that the case had no basis. I welcome the apology by Barra McGrory, the head of the PPS in Northern Ireland, in accepting the serious failings that let down these vulnerable women.
“This report shows that serious questions remain for Gerry Adams and the Sinn Fein leadership to answer about the cover up of sexual abuse in the Provisional movement. The simultaneous claims that they believe Ms. Cahill alongside efforts to undermine her at every turn have been exposed by the findings of failings in the PPS prosecution of this case.
The failings of the PPS in this case can no longer be used as an excuse by Gerry Adams and Sinn Féin. It’s time for Gerry Adams to own up and come clean on the scale of cover ups and kangaroo courts.”
Of the case Gerry Moriarty writes this in the Irish Times…
The truth is that throughout the four years of her ordeal, from when she first made her allegations in 2010 to the collapse of the cases in 2014, Cahill had a better grip on the case than some of the learned silks and junior counsel associated with the PPS.
It was a point well made by another QC, Jim Allister, leader of the Traditional Unionist Voice party. “It is a sad commentary on the prosecution that Maíria Cahill seemed to have had a better grasp of tactics and what needed to be done than the prosecutors themselves, but she was treated, largely, as unimportant. Shame on all who let her down.”
Starmer in his report acknowledged as much when he wrote that “given the failings in this case, it was almost inevitable” that the three women “would pull out of the process”.
Shocking, perhaps. But not that surprising. Four years to bring a case that under normal circumstances would take between 18 months and a year? There’s little in the way of a functional defence that the PPS could have entered in this case.
The Police Ombudsman has another report ongoing into the Police’s handling of the case that may be even more telling in the detail of who was interviewed and who wasn’t.
In the meantime, in the south at least, the cover up remains a political matter that just isn’t going away.
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