Friday 13 December 2019

Dozens of names of alleged IRA sex abusers handed to gardai

Mairia Cahill: speaking out
Mairia Cahill: speaking out

Liam Clarke

GARDAI have been given the names of dozens of republicans accused of sex abuse in Northern Ireland who were moved to the Republic following internal IRA investigations.

Mairia Cahill, who claims that she was repeatedly raped and sexually abused by the head of an IRA punishment squad as a teenager, said that alleged victims were slow to come forward because of fear of reprisals if they accused republicans.

"Weapons have been decommissioned but fear hasn't," Ms Cahill said.

She was speaking during a fringe meeting at the SDLP annual conference in Belfast at the weekend.

The campaigner called for more resources, north and south, to be devoted to helping victims of sexual harassment and violence.

She commended Meath Fine Gael TD Regina Doherty for giving gardai the names of eight alleged IRA abusers moved to the Republic.

"I have passed names to the PSNI myself. At this, I am looking well into double figures...probably about four times the figure that Regina Doherty mentioned in the Dail last week."

Ms Cahill has been approached by other victims since she appeared on BBC's 'Spotlight' last month.

She compared the IRA's tactics to those of the Catholic Church, which moved sex abusing priests and members of religious orders from one area to another rather than handing them in to the authorities, allowing abuse to continue.

"If you swap the croziers of the Catholic Church for guns, you have an absolute replica of the way in which the Catholic Church dealt with these allegations once they surfaced," she said.

She added that in the case of the church "you had 10 years before the whole picture started to emerge but this has only been four weeks".

Ms Cahill revealed that she put up with the abuse for a year, partly through fear.

"Over that first year I considered myself the only victim because I thought that if I repeatedly put myself back into the situation in that house...that I was saving the other children who were also in that house.

"It is something that I have also had to live with for the rest of my life because that strategy didn't work and other people were abused."

Irish Independent

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