Saturday 21 September 2019

IRA child sex abuse survivors to meet minister over 'kangaroo court' abuse 'cover-up'

McGahon claims Sinn Féin 'trying to undermine us with smug denials'

Campaign: Paudie McGahon wants a full criminal investigation into his allegations. Photo: Frank McGrath
Campaign: Paudie McGahon wants a full criminal investigation into his allegations. Photo: Frank McGrath
Paul Williams

Paul Williams

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has agreed to meet two IRA child sex abuse survivors who claim Sinn Féin helped stage a "kangaroo court" to prevent them going to gardaí.

Paudie McGahon, who previously waived his anonymity to speak out on behalf of himself and the second survivor in the case, said they will urge the minister to ensure gardaí conduct a thorough criminal investigation into their allegations.

It is claimed an IRA "court" was convened in 2002 after they first brought the abuse allegations to the attention of Louth Sinn Féin councillor Pearse McGeough.

"The consistent smug denials across the board from Sinn Féin in the past few weeks, from Mary Lou McDonald down, and what we view as contemptuous public statements from the likes of Matt Carthy is designed to undermine us, the survivors of child sexual abuse," said Mr McGahon, who was also speaking on behalf of the second survivor.

"We will be asking the minister to ensure that the attempts to silence us are fully investigated by gardaí and that justice is served."

The two men were raped and abused in the early 1990s by alleged IRA member Seamus Marley, a member of a prominent Belfast republican family, in a Co Louth safe house.

Marley (45) was recently jailed for seven years after a jury in the Central Criminal Court found him guilty on eight counts of sexual assault and rape.

The men claim the kangaroo court was organised by Mr McGeough, a close family friend of Mr McGahon's father.

Mr McGeough has consistently denied being involved in either a cover-up or kangaroo court.

In a statement issued by Cllr McGeough, he said that the party's advice to the two men at the time was to bring their abuse allegations to gardaí, adding that "as adults that decision was for the victims".

The two abuse survivors have told gardaí that following the "court" the IRA informed them its "investigation" into the claims against Marley had been found to be true.

It gave the men three choices of punishment: shooting, beating or expulsion from the country.

However, following Marley's recent sentencing, Mr McGahon discovered evidence that his abuser had not been expelled, but had in fact continued working with children with special needs in Dublin from 2002 onwards.

IRA rape victim Máiría Cahill and a number of politicians have demanded to know why Sinn Féin did not report Marley to the authorities at a time when it knew that he was a potential threat to children.

Mr McGahon and his fellow survivor have also demanded a full apology from Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy, who dismissed the abuse cover-up claims as "media-generated" in an interview with RTÉ's 'Morning Ireland' last week.

"We both want Matt Carthy and the rest of Sinn Féin to know that we are not a media-generated issue - we are human beings who were raped and abused by an IRA man and then further victimised when the republican movement tried to silence us and sweep us under the carpet just like they attempted to do with Máiría (Cahill)," he said.

"If they respect the rule of law in Ireland and want to live up to their claims of being for social justice, then the least he and Mary Lou McDonald can do is apologise to us and then admit what went on with our case."

Ms McDonald and other Sinn Féin representatives have denied that Mr McGahon's claims of a cover-up in the case had been a factor in their disastrous local and European elections.

The meeting with Mr Flanagan is due to take place on June 11 and was organised by Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty on behalf of the two abuse survivors.

Ms Doherty has already called for an independent commission of inquiry into the allegations, claiming that Sinn Féin has "done nothing to assist victims of IRA atrocities and crimes to get answers".

Labour Senator Ged Nash has also described Mr McGahon's treatment as "unforgivable" and said Sinn Féin had "put the party before the victim" with "spin and empty statements".

Irish Independent

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