SF rocked by more sex abuse allegations
Published 18/01/2010 | 05:00
GERRY Adams's leadership came under intense pressure last night amid further revelations that he and Sinn Fein covered up allegations of child abuse against republicans.
The latest sensational claims are from two women connected to senior republican families in Belfast, one of whom is a relative of former IRA commander Joe Cahill.
Both women have told of appalling rape and sexual abuse at the hands of republicans and each says the leadership of the IRA and Sinn Fein ignored their pleas for justice. One woman spoke of how she was repeatedly raped at the age of 16 by a well-known and senior IRA man in Belfast who knew Gerry Adams.
A serving elected representative of Sinn Fein is accused of sexually, physically and mentally abusing the relative of the now deceased IRA commander.
Coming after the shocking allegations that Mr Adams covered up for brother Liam Adams who is accused of raping his own daughter, the Sinn Fein president is facing deep anger and disgust in the republican and nationalist heartlands.
Both women say Mr Adams knew about the abuse and did nothing for them, and failed to hold the rapist and the abuser to account. Mr Adams and Sinn Fein released detailed statements last Friday about how he handled the allegations of paedophilia made by his niece against Liam Adams, the woman's father.
But doubts have been raised over the weekend, questioning claims by Mr Adams that he had banished his brother from Dundalk; and his claim that he didn't know his brother ran a Sinn Fein cumann a few streets from his own home.
"He is in the same position as some of the Catholic bishops," said a prominent republican last night who asked not to be named. "If Gerry Adams didn't know there was child abuse going on, he should have known."
But the latest allegations in yesterday's 'Sunday Tribune' are seriously damaging for Mr Adams and Sinn Fein.
One of the women told of how the IRA had brought her face to face with the man she said had raped her.
"I felt physically sick," she said. "I wanted to go to the Rape Crisis Centre, I said I needed professional help. The IRA offered me a counsellor.
"I said it would be a charade because it would be an IRA-friendly counsellor."
She said her rapist was put under house arrest by the IRA when it was learned that he had sexually abused two other girls.
She was later told that he "escaped" but she believes the IRA moved him to Donegal.
The second woman told how a currently elected Sinn Fein representative abused her, locked her in an attic and a dog kennel when she was 10.
She was forced to use a bucket rather than a toilet, beaten mercilessly, had her head under the water until she lost consciousness and sexually abused.
A member of her family later met Mr Adams and told him about the abuse.
The woman, who wants to maintain her anonymity, reported the abuse to the PSNI nearly two years ago and a file was forwarded to the Director of Prosecutions six months ago.