Wednesday 28 September 2016

'Sinn Féin did not do enough' - Burton

Published 23/05/2015 | 02:30

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin has failed to do "anywhere near enough" to help Mairia Cahill find justice, according to Tánaiste Joan Burton.

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Ms Burton told the Irish Independent last night that the damning Starmer review illustrates that Ms Cahill was "let down by the criminal justice process".

"Mairia Cahill displayed immense courage in going public and detailing her appalling ordeal," the Labour Party leader said.

"It is clear that the republican movement orchestrated a cover-up of abuse cases, including Mairia's. In that respect, I don't believe Sinn Féin have done anywhere near enough to help Mairia Cahill find justice."

Pressure

The Starmer review has put Sinn Féin under renewed pressure to "come clean" on its knowledge of the use of so-called kangaroo courts, according to Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin.

While the Starmer review focused heavily on the Prosecution Service's handling of sex allegations against a suspected IRA figure, it also reported on the collapse of a trial involving four Sinn Féin activists accused of subjecting Ms Cahill to the interrogation.

A case was taken against the four individuals who allegedly ran the interrogation - Padraic Wilson, Seamus Finucane, Agnes McCrory and Briege Wright.

They were charged with IRA membership based on Ms Cahill's claims that she was interrogated several times between 1999 and 2000 over her accusations that she was raped by suspected IRA figure Martin Morris. Ms Cahill claimed that at one point the four forced her to come face to face with her abuser.

The case against the four Sinn Féin activists effectively collapsed when Ms Cahill withdrew her evidence. All four were acquitted and have to date denied any wrongdoing.

But in a highly significant finding, author Keir Starmer found that "the time taken to reach decisions to prosecute in the membership cases was too long", and that "the overall delay in the sexual abuse prosecution was unacceptable".

In October, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams described the four individuals accused of being Ms Cahill's inquisitors as "decent".

The four later issued a statement through their solicitor to remind the public that they had been acquitted of all charges.

While the Sinn Féin leadership said Starmer's report must prompt action, it stopped short of apologising to Ms Cahill.

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald described the apology by the DPP as "absolutely necessary" but said she needs time to read the report in full. Mr Adams said his party sympathises with Ms Cahill and the two other alleged abuse victims. He accused the Fianna Fáil leader of trying to "politicise" a "tragic case".

"I hope that the three women in this case get some closure and Sinn Féin's sympathies are with them," Mr Adams said.

Irish Independent

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