The IRA's systematic cover-up of sexual abuse by paedophiles and rape by its members, including senior figures, throughout the Troubles is beginning to unravel in the wake of the conviction of Gerry Adams's brother for raping his daughter.
Republican sources last week said the conviction and sentencing of Liam Adams, 58, for the rape of his daughter, Aine, from the age of five had brought to the surface other instances of rape and abuse which were covered up by the IRA and Sinn Fein.
They say the statement last week by Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin that the IRA dealt with claims of rape and sexual abuse by its members "internally" is true.
They pointed to the case of Brendan 'Ruby' Davidson, the head of the IRA in Belfast who was known to have raped a number of boys in south Belfast in the 1980s. At least two of his victims' families made complaints to the IRA but were silenced with threats of murder.
Republican sources say Davidson was secretly filmed by British undercover surveillance soldiers sexually abusing a teenage boy in the sauna of the Maysfield Leisure Centre in south Belfast and blackmailed into becoming an informant. Despite the efforts to maintain Davidson as a high-level informant, he was shot dead by loyalists in July 1988.
Though this is said to be common knowledge in the area of Belfast where Davidson lived, his name is still on a wall mural commemorating IRA "martyrs" in the Markets area. Republican sources also said last week that there was a cover-up of the rape of a young woman the day she was released from prison by a figure who was prominent in Sinn Fein during the Troubles.
When the boyfriend of another young woman who had served time in prison with the victim made a complaint to Sinn Fein, he was beaten by a gang of IRA men and told to keep silent. The victim never made a complaint to the police. One of the cases believed to have been brought to the attention of Fianna Fail is that of another former senior IRA man in Dublin whose niece claimed he had raped her since childhood.
Gardai learnt of this case but could not pursue it because, they said, the victim and her mother were threatened and forced to accept an amount of money in "compensation" to keep quiet. The former IRA man would have been very well-known to the Sinn Fein leadership.
Former IRA figures say there was systematic abuse and cover-up within the ranks of the IRA and that the practice of moving rapists and abusers from the areas where they had committed their crimes was commonplace and known about.
The common theme was that victims were threatened not to make complaints to the then Royal Ulster Constabulary and subsequently the PSNI. Last week, the Fianna Fail leader, Micheal Martin said: "This may have been a broader trend within the republican movement."