Adams and child abuse: “if you keep telling a lie often enough, sometimes people believe it”

An exclusive story in today’s Sunday Independent features an interview with the son of IRA murder victim Brian Stack. Speaking to Mairia Cahill,  the woman who first exposed the cover up of sexual abuse within the Republican Movement, Austin Stack details a host of horrific revelations. Austin Stack claims that Gerry Adams does not “grasp the reality, or the gravity” of the abuse cover up issue, and that the Sinn Fein president referred in conversations with Mr Stack of the court proceedings …

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McGahon case: “This stuff keeps resurrecting and it’s not going away.”

As John O’Dowd pretty much took a hammering from everyone on BBC’s The View last night, it was not a great deal better on RTE’s Prime Time. Here’s some extract Fran McNulty’s film at the beginning of the programme: Denis Bradley: Just hold up their hands and say this happened it shouldn’t have happened this was the context, it shouldn’t have happened. And therefore we accept responsibility for that. Most of these actions just can’t be defended. And Sinn Fein …

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Gerry Adams: Guidelines or Rules? What rules?

As the Gardaí confirm that a file is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions relating to the alleged sexual assault of Paudie McGahon and another male in the 1990s, further questions are being asked of Sinn Fein’s handling of the issue. Gerry Adams, and his party, accept that both Maíria Cahill and Paudie McGahon were raped. Both allege they were assaulted by senior figures in the republican movement. As Miriam Lord in today’s Irish Times reports: Broadcaster Pat Kenny …

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“If a member of any branch of Fine Gael around the country was exiled, I would find him or her in 10 minutes.”

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 …

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Sinn Fein on sex abuse: “We cannot allow anyone to use ignorance as an excuse for their failure to report”

I see Jude is with Francie Molloy [0.9] in his disapproval of Paudie McGahan’s testimony on Tuesday’s Spotlight programme. But it’s worth sharing Elaine Byrne’s perspective (Author of Political Corruption in Ireland) from the night of the broadcast: 1. What follows are extracts of Dáil speeches by @sinnfeinireland representatives on child sex abuse scandals. #SpotlightNI — Elaine Byrne (@ElaineByrne) March 10, 2015 2. Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: "The crimes were compounded by the cover-ups…" #SpotlightNI https://t.co/OZkhqekZkt — Elaine Byrne (@ElaineByrne) March 10, …

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“We have repeat offenders who are alive and well, and what is to be done about them?”

So Spotlight brought us another look at how Sinn Fein and the IRA handled (and continue to handle) victims of sexual abusers inside their own organisation. In a sense the witness testimony of Paudie McGahan was far less charged than that of Mairia Cahill, and in some respects less shocking. That’s probably because as the third major ‘witness’ we can now be pretty sure that Sinn Fein has an ongoing problem with the management of victims of child abuse at the hands …

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Why Gerry Adams faces one of the biggest challenges of his political career…

On The View last Thursday, there was some agreement on that between Deirdre Heenan referred to him as being made of Teflon, ie nothing ever sticks to him. But Mr Adams’, and increasingly his party’s, problem does not arise from having a sex offender as a brother. Any of us can have a bad egg in the family. And the problems associated with intrafamial sex abuse are indeed traumatising for all concerned. The real problem arises from Mr Adams’ inability …

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Crisis, what crisis? Sinn Fein’s septimana horribilis may only be the beginning…

At the start of the week, Danny Morrison delivers an ‘almost time to panic’ post to Eamonn’s blog… Next he’s on Nolan filling out what he means: listen to ‘Danny Morrison: “I hope I’m wrong but I suspect the Assembly could collapse”’ on Audioboo This sort of rhetoric has been streaming out of that quarter for weeks. But as Ken Reid noted last night, there is little evidence of any crisis other than a threat by Sinn Fein to send the …

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Identifying “risk from child sexual exploitation” is only the first task of the police, health and justice systems…

Welcome news… “As part of this review, we have identified a group of 22 young people who may be at risk from child sexual exploitation and are seeking to identify those who may have committed crimes against them.” Identifying victims is not the same as prosecution, and it certainly does not mean that for the victims themselves their ordeal is over. This File On 4 programme broadcast earlier this year gave a harrowing account of some of those experiences from the …

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In a cause and effect world interruption is key to violence prevention

I was in Washington last week, speaking at a conference on the prevention of violence (you can still pick up some of the content on Twitter, if you put in the hashtag #mPreventViolence). It was organised by the US Institute of Medicine. I partnered up with John Pollock, who has been writing about the digital revolution that’s been driving revolt against dictatorships in countries across the Middle East. John spoke about the ways in which ordinary people co-operated both offensively …

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Why did the Vatican think a mere “study document” was sufficient response?

The Vatican’s response to Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s power Dail speech has finally dropped on the mat. It’s quite a lengthy and detailed response (full text for those with the time). Unsurprisingly it rejects Kenny’s assertion that the Vatican was at fault. As Siobhan Brett notes in the Sunday Business Post: The Vatican response takes particular exception to the Taoiseach’s accusation that the Holy See ‘‘attempted to frustrate an inquiry as little as three years ago, not three decades ago’’, saying …

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Clerical abuse also relied upon the scarcity of “righteous gentiles”

Dermot Keogh examines the diplomatic ramifications of the taoiseach’s speech, not least the wider consequences for both the Vatican and Ireland. But he leaves his sharpest question until the end: In reviewing the history of the past 90 years on this island, why – confronted by such widespread child sexual abuse – were there so few “righteous gentiles” in church, State or society ready to stand up and speak out in the face of such an unspeakable, pervasive evil? Quite …

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Victim claims Ferry was working at Scoil Colmchille until the day he was arrested

It’s worth listening to this studio interview with the young man, Derek Mulligan, who has spoken out about the sustained abuse he suffered as a young man in Derrybeg, Gaoth Dobhair. It’s distressing, not least the details of what happened and where it left him, and the suidical state it pushed him into. But the detail worth noting here is that Mulligan is adamant that his abuser, Michael Ferry, was working at the Ard Scoil Mhuire right up to the …

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Bold words from Enda, but should they mark the end of the confessional?

 Enda Kenny’s quiet bombshell of a speech on the Cloyne report leaves more questions open than answered. This point may be written off as the opinion of implacable enemies of the Church who will never be satisfied. That would be a mistake. The taoiseach may have attacked the gimlet eyed legalism of the Vatican’s provisional response to the report. But he has been forced to acknowledge the limited justice of Vatican spokesman Fr Lombardi’s reply in terms, asking where was the …

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Taoiseach’s speech: An end to ‘Never explain, never apologise’?

The papers are full of the taoiseach’s speech to the Dail yesterday. Rightly so. It was an audacious speech, and one made in stark contrast to the parliamentary mumbling and stumbling of the two previous taoisigh. And, importantly, it was a defence of thousands upon thousands of ordinary Catholics, ‘who have been shocked and dismayed by the repeated failings of church authorities to face up to what is required’. Somewhere in the Irish media in the last few days, someone …

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So did Scoil Colmchille employ Ferry knowing he was an offender?

Interesting snippet from the sex abuse case in Donegal on the BBC site A director of Scoil Colmchoille, the Irish College that operates at Ard Scoil Mhuire, in Derrybeg, said on Tuesday that a formal statement from the school in relation to Michael Ferry would be issued before the weekend. Donal O’Lionsigh told RTE that Ferry had “no employment contract as such”. He also said there were “no little children attended the courses” run over the summer. That reads like someone was trying to …

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Cardinal Brady calls for an independent statutory body in the south

Will Crawley has the full statement from Cardinal Brady outlining why he is staying on in his post and what he proposes to do about child sex abuse within the church. In effect, in Northern Ireland, he is accepting that the state will have the final say: I have asked the Child Safeguarding staff in the Diocese of Armagh to make all necessary preparations for our full participation as a Diocese in the work of the new Independent Safeguarding Authority, …

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