Martin on the Starmer report: “It’s time for Gerry Adams to own up and come clean…”

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

  • chrisjones2

    One of the issues here is that the DPP had to recuse himself (quite rightly) from anything to do with the case, so who was in charge?

    There were layer upon layers of managers and no effective management. And what seems to have been Counsel freewheeling on the most important issue in the management of the case – as he may well have been encouraged to do by DPP staff. After all if he took the decision they didn’t have to!


    1 will the DPP resign ? Doubt it
    2 has any disciplinary action been taken against anyone? Almost certainly not. We could never do that and anyway there are no rules to say what they did was wrong
    3 are they still using the same Counsel? Heaven knows

    Not held to account.Not fit for purpose

  • Dan

    McGrory should resign

  • Gopher

    The DPP’s position is untenable.

  • Jag

    It might be helpful to link to the actual 45-page report itself, so people can get an unburnished view of what the report actually says:—5083.html

    As far as I can tell, there were (a) delays in pursuing the case and (b) debate about how the IRA membership charges should be dealt with alongside the sex abuse charges.

    Neither failing was the result of intentional impropriety by the PPS and, in my opinion, it was foolish of Mairia Cahill to insist on a certain approach to the membership charges and sex abuse charges.

    Bottom line on this, there were allegations of serious sexual abuse, there was a report by the alleged victims to the police, there was a police investigation and decision to charge, there was a scheduled trial where evidence could have been presented, debated and challenged, and that trial was abandoned at the direct behest of the alleged victims. The PPS says the trial can’t be re-run unless there is new evidence.

    There is a narrative in the media reporting in the last day that (a) Mairia Cahill is *totally* vindicated and (b) SF and Gerry Adams are at fault for not helping more. Read the report yourselves, it’s not very long, I don’t see how it supports either conclusion.

  • Jag


  • Gopher

    Because the situation might arise that he has to excuse himself again and possibly again. Not possible to be DPP if your hamstrung.

  • Jag

    So, we should have a DPP who has had no previous involvement at all in northern Irish criminal matters?

  • Gopher

    Nope, but its a question of scale and how overarching a personality is and the possibilty of the situation arising again. Completely untenable.

  • chrisjones2


  • Ciaran

    Why is this not in the news?

    catherine mccartney‏@catherinemccar4

    Mairia Cahill is to be questioned under caution by police, in relation to my complaint of harassment. It has been confirmed.

  • Jag

    Possibly because there is some dispute over the facts. The Phoenix magazine reported a couple of days ago that MC is suing the Sunday Worst on foot of allegations published concerning MC and CM. I believe the article is still available online, mind.MC has tweeted to claim no charges are being pursued against her.

  • Robin Keogh

    The report has nothing to do with SF or Adams for that matter. In concerns only the police investigation and prosecution logistics. MM’s screaming at Adams has nothing to do with SF or Adams either, he can shout all he likes but it still will not deflect from the issues he faces within his own party. And ultimately that what all this is about. People are not buying into the smear pushed by a desperate FF leader; as shown today in Carlow/Kilkenny. Adams has no case to answer, Martin should get over it and get on with it.

  • mickfealty

    But he’s not screaming Robin. Quite the opposite in fact. He’s quietly reminding people of Adams’ role in this story, and that he, Adams, has been far from honest or open about his role within it.

    He’s also reminding people that the tragedy itself or rather what followed is almost entirely political. Martin is merely registering it as such. Of course that will be of benefit to FF.

    And yet there’s a very strong public interest here. This is what strengthens Martin’s political authority on the matter, and the fact that he’s been consistent over a long arc.

    Any partial benefit only accrues to Martin because he is speaking directly to the public interest here in the conspicuous absence of others…

    Pearse Doherty accused Martin of lying when he said there were more cases that SF was hiding. Turns out Doherty had been misinformed by his leader.

  • Robin Keogh

    Sorry Mick but his rant at the Ard Fheis and his agressive verbose on RTE radio is about as close to ‘screaming’ as one can get. Adams ‘role’ in the story is nothing more that a figment of his imagination in the absence of evidence. Are we now to assume that any such accusation made via the media is to be taken as Gospel and proof is now reduced to an inconvenient obstacle?

    Everybody is aware that FF will most likely benifit from any cyncical trap concocted by FF and their buddies in INM to contort the facts of such tragedies in order to affect SF’s politcal fortune.

    The public interest is way down the line, dont fool yourself. There is no consistency because such exertions of disgust on the part of MM have no historical continuity. It only becomes an issue when he and his party are struggling to get the foot of blame for the economic crises – once and for all – removed from their throats. This is most nakedly stark when one considers FF’s Ireland, where tens of thousands of women and children were abused with not a peek out of their ranks at the time. moreover, FF’s efforts to attack the republican narrative vis a vis the troubles is the terrible twin of the current desperate drive alongside the so-called cover up nonsense. Its a deliberate, tactical and strategic two pronged attack with no real sustance.

    Pearse Doherty told the truth as it was and as it is. There is simply no credible evidence that SF engaged in an instituional policy of cover up regarding abuse. Where should SF go with information? The PSNI, An Garda Siochana ? Or skip all that and go straight to BBC, RTE or INM? The answer is obvious, i would hope. And that is the case. SF, is and has engaged with the proper authorities regarding this issue, and its with those authorities that justice for victims will be secured. MM and other seflt interests can do nothing but potentially destroy the chances of victims seeing justice being done with the possibility of selfish politcal gain for their trouble.

    Carlow/Killkenny is a prosperous, rural and conservative constituency. About as far away from natural SF territory as one could get. Yet the massive increase in SF’s popular vote suggesting a safe Dail seat in next year’s general election points to a ‘public interst’ focus, pretty far removed from the sleaze narrative espoused by Martin and others.

    Simply put, his rants are not working. And they are not working because people as shown in yesterday’s marraige equality referendum, the majority of Irish people are fair minded and intelligent enough to spot tell the difference between truth and fiction. INM are gathering up evidence from other victims and rather than brining them to the authorities, they rare waiting until the general election to launch a blistering attack on SF, it might well work.But be under no ilusions, it has nothing to do with victims and their rights to see justice served.

  • Robin Keogh

    What happenned, any link?

  • Joe Canning

    Martin’s crusade is nothing more than electioneering and trying to spoil the SF vote. That’s the bottom line. He couldn’t care a fiddlers curse about MC. and the electorate will see it for what it is. Looking after himself.

  • james

    One wonders whether our Barra was really an appropriate choice.

  • mickfealty

    ‘The trap’ is entirely of SF’s own manufacture.

  • Robin Keogh

    Subjective, lazy and incredibly weak one liners Mick do not shore up your argument, in fact it only serves to show how shallow the overall argument aginst Adams actually is.

  • mac tire

    With respect, Mick, this is about the disgraceful way the prosecution service handled this. If anything, their stance, attitude and actions are worse than anything Máiría claimed about Adams (it wasn’t against SF, as you claim – she spoke in anti-IRA terms).
    The shit can no doubt be thrown. It’ll not stick.

  • mac tire

    For what, James? You obviously have not read the judgement.

  • mickfealty

    Sorry, I was pinging something in from the middle of nowhere whilst trying to focus on MarRef and be sociable.

    I was just pointing out that Adams laid this trap for the party, not his critics.

    PS, it was Arbour Hill where Martin totally let rip on SF….

    Let no one be in any doubt, Provisional Sinn Fein and the Provisional IRA have no connection with 1916. To claim otherwise is a dangerous and cynical lie.

    Through this attempt to claim a link with 1916, Sinn Fein and the movement they are part of, is insulting and undermining the place of the Rising in our national identity.

    Their claim to historical continuity basically says that 1916 changed nothing – which no new possibilities were opened up, no new methods became available.

    The men and women of 1916 themselves knew that this was nonsense – because they embraced the fact that their fight had opened up immense new possibilities for Ireland.

    Within 2 years they won the overwhelming democratic endorsement of the Irish people. And they went on to found democratic parties, adopt a republican constitution and commit themselves to achieving national objectives in new ways.

    But the arrogance of Gerry Adams and his both public and secret comrades goes much further and is much more dangerous than this.

    If the justification for the Provisionals’ campaign is that they had a right to ignore the repeated opposition of the Irish people and to fight until everything was achieved, then why can’t someone else claim that today?

    The Ard Fheis speech was far more measured.

  • Sp12

    Gerry Adams?
    Gerry Adams!
    Adams, Gerry?
    Gerry Adams!

  • GEF

    Irish gay marriage referendum: Gerry Adams says it’s ‘a huge day for equality’

    So what about the title of the republican party “Sinn Fein” which translated means “Ourselves Alone”? No equality here so what happened Gerry?

  • Jag

    Following on from the Starmer report, it seems Gerry Adams is now on the wrong end of criticism again from Mairia Cahill for referring to abuse by an “uncle” rather than an “uncle-in-law”. Actually, GA should have referred to “alleged abuse” because despite all the shouting, Martin Morris is not a convicted man and has denied the abuse. Mairia’s gripe this time is Martin Morris married one of her aunts, so he really isn’t an uncle as such.

    Now, I know we all use the terms brother-in-law, mother-in-law, daughter-in-law but “uncle-in-law” is a new one on me. In the other Addams family, you never heard Morticia refer to Fester as Uncle-in-law Fester.

    I know we’re still awaiting the police ombudsman report on the investigation into MC’s claims, but isn’t it really high time to draw a line under all this as it’s become tiresome and petty.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Why does a rape victim take priority over a physically disabled person who can be denied living support who no journalist on this site will ever talk about.

  • Arthur Renfrew

    Sinn Féin does not mean ‘Ourselves Alone’ ? It never has and never will mean that , no matter how many misinformed presstitues want it to be so. It displays a profound ignorance of the Irish language to attempt to say it does.

    Martin will jump on any and every bandwagon to attack SF for pure 26 county political reasons. And I wouldn’t expect anything less from the Méféiner Party. That’s why Slugger is always bigging up FF. Mick shares their obsessive hatred.

  • Jag

    Well, if the physically disabled person can produce evidence to show it was Gerry Adams who tripped him up, then I’m sure certain journalists would be more than interested.

  • Robin Keogh

    Well its a bit late in the day for MM or FF to credibly claim they ahve any issue with the Republican narrative on the past be it 1916, 1976 or the upcoming 2016. They have had decades to express such reservations however they chose instead to bring them into the centre of politics on this Island and whats more they made no demands on SF during the GFA and St Andrews negotiations. Within ‘two years’ of 1916 they won a mandate allright but MM forgets to mention the war of independence which was hardly an exercise in how to conduct a ‘just war’. The parties evolved as we all know out of the ruins of a civil war, the scars of which for many have yet to heal. But MM will glorify those who took pot shots at Dublin policemen, blew up British security personnell and executed those suspected of collaborating with Dublin Castle. Apparently they are all heroes with no visible mandated politcal support, however 50 years later their ascendents had no such right to imploy exactly the same methods with exactly the same ideals. The hypocrisy is stunning.

  • james

    How do you translate it?

  • Robin Keogh

    James like most languages it is difficult to sometimes directly translate, however if i want to say ‘myself’ in Irish I would probably say ‘mise’ meaning simply ‘me’ or ‘Me Fein’, which strictly speaking means ‘me myself’. Similarly if I wanted to say ‘you’ I would probably say ‘Tu’, but if I wanted to say ‘yourself’ I would say ‘tu fein’. And so it conjugates along to ‘ourselves’ which would be ‘Sinn Fein’. But Sinn Fein in that context means ourselves as in ‘all of us here’. There is no way in Irish to the best of my recollection to say ‘ourselves’ in the context of excluding some or all others. In that context I would probably have to say ‘Sinn Fein amhain’ which could be used to say ourselves only. I am missing a load of ‘fada’ (a stroke above certain vowels) cos I cant do it on my keyboard. Sinn Fein the name has never ever ever had the meaning ‘ourselves alone’.

  • chrisjones2

    oh come on ….Gerry was never in the IRA so he would never have tripped anyone up and if the IRA did its nothing to do with him

  • chrisjones2

    Yet again we have the abuse rot rape victims for daring to speak out …indeed this time it seems to be a concerted attack by SF to divert attention from their internal cover ups and the way they moved rapists on and let them rape again

  • chrisjones2

    Its a fair point. He had to recuse himself from managing the case and it seems noone else then was in overall control. All there was was silo upon silo and layer upon layer of managers

  • chrisjones2

    what is Irish for ‘blood soaked’ then?

  • chrisjones2

    Google translate gives Sinn Fein as ‘ourselves’

    So they’re just introverted

  • Jag

    Hopefully we can agree the first right of any victim of crime, or alleged victim of crime, is the right to report the matter to the police, the right to have their claims investigated, the right to have the PPS competently deal with any file submitted to it by the police and the right to a trial if supported by the police and PPS.

    We’re awaiting the police ombudsman’s report to see how competent the PSNI was in dealing with MC’s complaints. We have the Starmer report on the PPS, it’s 45-pages, you can read it yourself. The delays at the PPS need to be dealt with, but the PPS did arrive at the point where there was to be a trial of an alleged rapist, where evidence would have been produced and challenged, debated and ultimately ruled upon by a judge and (I believe) jury.

    It was MC who pulled the plug on the trial. She had reasons and she was clearly frustrated at the delays, but bottom line, as far as I can tell from the report, it was her decision, and the trial can’t now legally be re-run.

    “Vindication”? I don’t see it. I know MC claims she’s been vindicated, I know FF and I think Labour say she’s been vindicated and I know some media used that term. Did the lazy media hear the generalised apology from the PPS and conclude MC’s claims about the report were correct? Read the report, you decide.

  • Jag

    Just to give you one specific example of how, in my opinion, MC and some media is misrepresenting this report.

    MC is reported by the BelTel today as saying

    “One day after the release of a report by a world-renowned human rights lawyer and endorsed by the Director of Public Prosecutions in the North – which clearly stated that I was a reliable and credible witness – while Gerry Adams says he accepts the findings, he has once again tried to muddy the waters by attacking my credibility”

    The wording in the actual Starmer report is this

    “There may have been a risk of undermining a sexual abuse conviction if the
    Judge made a severe credibility finding against MC in the second case, but that is a risk in respect of any person who testifies in more than one criminal trial. In view of the prosecution case, which was based on an assessment that MC was a credible and reliable witness, it was a low risk”

    Keir Starmer didn’t conclude MC was a “credible and reliable witness”, it was the view of the prosecution case, and that would be self-evident anyway: if she wasn’t then it wouldn’t have pursued the case.

    In my opinion, there is some serious misrepresentation of this report being peddled in the media. Read the report here and form your own view. In my opinion, MC, even as a victim or alleged victim, bears the lions-share of the blame for the failure to see the trial concluded.—5083.html

  • Arthur Renfrew

    sinn féin quite simply means we, ourselves. As Robin stated , sinn féin amháin would be the closest to ‘ourselves alone’. The ‘Ourselves Alone’ is a disingenuous and malicious mistranslation.

  • Arthur Renfrew

    fuilteach báite nó fuilbháite

  • Robin Keogh

    Chris you might be surprised at how difficult it can be to translate between irish and english sometimes. You should head down to the gealteacht for a couple of days sometime, its great craic.

  • Jag

    The media is a total disgrace in the wake of the Starmer report. MC has just been on NewsTalk radio in Dublin where she again claims the Starmer report states she was a credible and reliable witness. That is misleading in the extreme, because the Starmer report doesn’t form that view, it re-reports the position of the PPS. And, if MC hadn’t collapsed the trial, then a judge would have been able to assess her credibility and reliability together with the conflicting position of the alleged abuser.

    And, not a single presenter is challenging MC’s unfettered claims about the report. It’s 45 pages for Chrissakes, it would take a presenter an hour to study it, or 15 minutes to read it. Disgraceful, threadbare media.

    Oh, and MC’s problem with the “uncle” issue. Gerry Adams should have said “uncle through marriage” which is what the BBC reported to MC’s satisfaction. If it weren’t for the awfulness of the original allegations, people would be wearing “Mairia Cahill bores me” T-shirts at this stage.

  • james

    I certainly won’t argue with you there, especially as I have zero knowledge of Irish. I do speak several languages though, and will say (purely in the interests of conversation) that it is odd that Irish has no way to express we/us/ourselves to the exclusion of others. I would have thought every language would have evolved means to express the very basic and very human idea that ‘our’ group is distinct from others, particularly as the whole idea of tribal or national structure is based on that concept. If the language that expresses the Irish psyche has no such concept then the idea that speakers of it should aspire to a united nation of ‘Irish’people is surely a nonsense? Also, there is no need for the never ever ever. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.

  • james

    Is ‘never will’ a default phrasing?

  • Ciaran

    “How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?”

  • kensei

    There is some basis for the “Ourselves Alone”translation – it is used in some of the poems of the Young Irelanders irc. Though I’m pretty sure the British media played it up later too. However you really need to bear the historical context in mind.

    Irish nationalism had traditionally looked to others for deliverance – help from France, Spain or America, even the Liberal Party for Home Rule. Which rarely came, and disappointed when it did. The idea of “Ourselves Alone” is in that context – that it was up to the people of Ireland to affect change if they wanted it rather than waiting for someone else to do it for them. It’s a essentially a 19th century version of Obama’s “You are the change you need to be” rather than anything particularly sinister. In historical context the C19/early 20th century political person is going to have certain ideas about who “ourselves” are, but that was common across Europe and beyond. But it is a slightly different and separate thing to the idea of “Sinn Fein”.

    It is something the present version of said party should return to rather than blaming someone else. “Ourselves” really does capture the translation much more effectively to the modern world, I feel.

  • Steve Larson

    Have to agree. Maria will be dropped like a hot potato after the election.

    Seen it happen so many times.

  • John Collins

    Check out ‘Sinn Fein’= ‘We ourselves’

  • james

    I beg your pardon?

  • John Collins

    In no academic exercise should anything from google be quoted. ‘Ar’ in Gaelic also means ours. I think James is involving himself in a totally absurd exercise especially since he admits he knows SFA about the language anyway.

  • John Collins

    This is put better than I could ever explain it. The idea that a language going back for thousands of years has no facility within it to convey a certain idea is absurd.