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Tuesday 26 September 2017

Sinn Fein TD: 'IRA did hold kangaroo courts'

Sinn Fein TD Dessie Ellis
Sinn Fein TD Dessie Ellis
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

A former IRA member and senior Sinn Fein TD admitted the republican movement held kangaroo courts to investigate allegations of serious criminal behaviour within the organisation.

And Dublin TD Dessie Ellis also admitted IRA volunteers were not equipped to deal with allegations of sexual assault or rape such as those made by Mairia Cahill.  “If an allegation was made against a volunteer it would have to be investigated,” he said. “I don’t want to comment on specific cases but it would have happened.

“To be honest they were not qualified to deal with something like sexual abuse,” he added. Mr Ellis’s comments follows widespread calls for the Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams to address fresh claims that the IRA and Sinn Fein covered up sex abuse allegations made against their members.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said Mr Ellis’s comments were a “startling revelation” and it was “benign” to say IRA members did not have the skills to deal with abuse claims.

“That’s what the Catholic Church and other institutions were been accused of for years – not reporting things to the police,” Mr Martin said.

In a BBC Spotlight documentary, Ms Cahill (33) said she was interrogated by an internal IRA inquiry when she alleged a senior member of the organisation repeatedly raped her when she was 16-years-old. She also said she met Mr Adams and discussed her allegations.

Ms Cahill said Mr Adams attended her alleged abuser’s wedding but then denied he knew the man when they met to discuss her allegations.

“At first he tried to claim he didn’t know the alleged abuser and then I reminded him that he did know him and he was invited to his wedding,” she told RTE Radio One.

“He sat on management committee with him at a community festival,” she added.

Mr Adams has confirmed he met Ms Cahill but denied they spoke about her abuse.

“The allegation of an IRA investigation was subject to a police investigation and court case,” he said. “Charges were brought against four people and all four were acquitted. “However, if there was an IRA investigation, as Mairia has alleged, then that was totally wrong.” Ms Cahill said she was forced to face her abuser during an IRA inquiry and was told people would judge her body language to see if she was telling truth.

Ms Cahill twice tried to have her abuser prosecuted for allegedly raping her several times over the course of year when she was a teenager. She said the first trial collapsed because the prosecution failed to interview a witness.  She withdrew from the second case but said in her withdrawal statement she stood over her allegations and criticised the police and prosecution.

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