Monday 24 October 2016

Adams is a coward for refusing live debate, says Mairia

Philip Ryan and Niall O'Connor

Published 26/05/2015 | 02:30

Mairia Cahill
Mairia Cahill
Gerry Adams

Mairia Cahill has called Gerry Adams a "coward" for refusing to take part in a live debate on allegations that he was involved in covering up her sexual abuse.

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Ms Cahill asked Mr Adams to "put up or shut" and go head-to-head with her in a live radio debate.

But last night Sinn Féin turned down the offer, insisting Mr Adams has answered all the questions he has been asked on the Belfast woman's abuse at the hands of a senior republican during the late 1990s.

"I have had to listen to Gerry Adams tell lies about me for seven months, which is why I told him to put up or shut up," Ms Cahill told the Irish Independent.

"Gerry Adams has refused the debate because he knows he has been lying about me and that I will put him under scrutiny. He has repeatedly tried to discredit me. His refusal is further indication that my account is entirely true and his is not. He's a coward," she added.

Ms Cahill also revealed one of her uncles is taking legal advice after Mr Adams repeatedly said she was raped by her uncle during an RTÉ Radio One interview.

Ms Cahill said her rapist, Martin Morris, is not a blood relative but rather an uncle through marriage. He was married to her aunt for two years but left the country after his attacks on Ms Cahill were exposed.

She said Mr Adams is seeking to distance the IRA's involvement in her case by suggesting she was raped by a family member.

"The most hurtful thing in all this is that he sought to remove any responsibility for the republican movement around the issue of my sexual abuse and he tried to paint it as a family matter," Ms Cahill said during an interview on 'Newstalk'.

She later told the Irish Independent: "He is trying to portray my case as a family matter despite the fact that the sole reason the IRA involved themselves in investigating my abuse was precisely because my abuser was a senior member of the Belfast IRA and they said he had rights as an IRA volunteer."

Last week, a report by a human rights lawyer on the failings in the Northern Ireland court system which resulted in the collapse of the prosecution of Ms Cahill's abuser, described her as a "credible witness".

The Starmer Report also found failings in the cases of two other victims of abuse, who wish to remain anonymous.

After the report's publication, the North's Director of Public Prosecutions issued an apology to Ms Cahill and other victims.

Asked last week if he would apologise to Ms Cahill, Mr Adams asked why the media had not mentioned she was raped by her uncle.

Last weekend, Tánaiste Joan Burton said Sinn Féin should apologise to Ms Cahill, who she described as a "very brave woman".

"I think Sinn Féin and the republican movement generally have issues to address in relation to some of the things, the dreadful things, that happened to people like Mairia Cahill. And I think it would be appropriate if they were to issue an apology to Mairia Cahill for what she has suffered," Ms Burton said.

She said the Starmer Report was a "devastating commentary" on how sex abuse cases were handled in Northern Ireland.

"I would like to see Mairia vindicated because she has been extraordinarily brave in coming out and telling her story," she added.

Irish Independent

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