Fears suspected ex-IRA paedophile is in capital
Gardai have been alerted to the possible presence of a suspected paedophile ex-IRA man from Belfast, who has dissident republican associates in Dublin and may have fled there after a complaint to the PSNI by a teenage boy.
According to sources in Belfast, the youth, who is now in his mid-teens, attempted suicide but was saved by family members and has made a recovery in hospital. Local sources said the boy told family members he wanted to speak to police and that he had been raped by the man since he was a child.
Local people in the Catholic area of Belfast where the rape and abuse is said to have happened said the teenage boy had apparently convinced himself from childhood that he was in some form of relationship with the man but had grown distressed when he began to more fully realise what had been happening to him.
Following the complaint, the ex-Provisional IRA man, who is in his mid-forties and comes from a well-known republican family in the south of Belfast, disappeared. Local sources say it is suspected he travelled to Dublin or some other part of the Republic as he is known to have associates here.
The alleged rapist had been closely associated with Sinn Fein after the IRA ceasefires in the mid-Nineties but in recent years had broken with the party and had joined a group opposed to Sinn Fein and the peace process.
He was formerly closely linked to the IRA gang responsible for the murder of innocent father Robert McCartney outside a Belfast pub in January 2005.
A relative of the suspected paedophile, who was also linked to this group, is also suspected of raping and abusing underage girls, according to local people.
The IRA in Belfast has had a record of covering up sexual abusers among its ranks. Two of the men present when Mr McCartney was murdered are well known locally as paedophiles but were protected by the IRA in Belfast.
One moved to north-west Dublin after the murder for a time and was found by gardai to be in the protection of prominent members of the IRA in Dublin.
Gardai say the IRA acted in much the same way that the Catholic Church acted over its paedophiles, moving well-connected members from the areas where they committed abuse but keeping them within the republican "family", usually in the Republic.
It has emerged in recent years that there were several paedophiles in senior positions in the Belfast IRA from the 1970s onwards and they may have operated a ring.
The organisation actively worked to dissuade victims, usually by issuing threats to victims and their families, to prevent them from contacting the police in Northern Ireland. During the Troubles and for some years after, while the IRA was still powerful in Catholic working-class areas, rapes by IRA men went unreported.
One very prominent republican in Belfast raped a young IRA woman in the mid-1980s.
When relatives and friends made a complaint, one of them was severely beaten by the IRA. After that, no further complaints were made and the rapist remained untouched and continued to be involved in the IRA.