Sunday 16 June 2019

Calls grow for inquiry into claims kangaroo court covered up abuse

Paudie McGahon. Picture: Frank McGrath
Paudie McGahon. Picture: Frank McGrath

Kevin Doyle and Cormac McQuinn

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has backed the idea of an independent investigation into claims Sinn Féin and the IRA sought to cover up sex abuse with a "kangaroo court".

Mr Martin has described abuse victim Paudie McGahon as an "exceptionally brave and resilient man".

The Louth man and a second victim were raped as a child by alleged IRA member Seamus Marley, who has been jailed for seven years.

Mr McGahon (44) waived his anonymity to speak out about what he believes was an attempt to protect his attacker by people associated with Sinn Féin and the IRA.

He claims an IRA kangaroo court was convened in 2002 after the victims sought help from Louth Sinn Féin councillor Pearse McGeough.

Mr McGeough denies being involved in a kangaroo court and remains a candidate in Friday's local elections.

Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty has suggested a commission of inquiry is needed to look into Mr McGahon's claims.

"An independent probe is the only way to uncover the truth," she said.

This has now been backed up by the Opposition leader, who said Mr McGahon had been "put through hell by the provisional movement".

"He has sought and achieved justice through the courts, and now wants an investigation into claims that Sinn Féin sought to block a Garda investigation. Who would deny him?" Mr Martin said.

Asked whether he would consider setting up an inquiry, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said: "We certainly need to hear more from people who have information. I would urge everybody, particularly those associated with Sinn Féin, to make the facts available."

The minister said what had been reported to date was "highly disturbing".

Mr McGahon has also alleged that former Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams knew about his accusations against Marley in 2002.

In a statement to the Irish Independent, Mr Adams said it was clear that Mr McGahon had suffered "dreadful abuse".

"Sinn Féin did not try to prevent the abuse being reported to An Garda Síochána," Mr Adams said.

"On the contrary, Mr McGahon has acknowledged publicly that Arthur Morgan advised him 'to go to the Garda and if I wanted, he or Pearse could go with me'.

"I would urge anyone with any information about abuse to report that to the authorities."

He added: "This is not the first time Paudie McGahon has made allegations about me. I have previously denied these and I stand over that."

Irish Independent

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