Tuesday 16 October 2018

'IRA probe into abuse stopped victims getting justice'

No justice: Máiría Cahill alleges that she was raped as a child. Photo: Mark Condren
No justice: Máiría Cahill alleges that she was raped as a child. Photo: Mark Condren
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Victims of child abuse or other serious crimes were unlikely to have received justice if their cases were investigated by the IRA, a retired RUC chief inspector told a Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland investigation.

The unnamed officer gave evidence to the Ombudsman's investigation into the PSNI's handling of Máiría Cahill's child abuse allegations.

The report found serious failings in the Northern Ireland police force's handling of Ms Cahill's case.

In a report given to the Belfast woman, a retired police officer said if the RUC's special branch or crime investigation division (CID) investigated a case like Ms Cahill's, the focus would be on gleaning information on the IRA rather than prosecuting a child abuser.

The chief inspector said if the RUC's CARE unit, which investigates child sex abuse, handled the case it would focus on "child welfare".

But if the special branch or CID oversaw the case, they would use the information to "secure co-operation in other matters and disregard or minimise the child protection aspect".

The retired senior officer's comments suggest Ms Cahill would have been unlikely to have received justice should she have gone to the RUC as the police force would have been more interested in getting information on those behind the IRA investigation into her claims.

Yesterday, Ms Cahill said: "The decision by the IRA to involve themselves in a sex abuse investigation meant they robbed the victims of any hope of justice through the proper criminal justice channels."

Sinn Féin has for two days failed to respond to queries about whether the party believes the IRA carried out an investigation into Ms Cahill's child sex abuse allegations.

The Police Ombudsman found RUC intelligence which suggested the IRA investigated republican Martin Morris for child abuse. Separate intelligence also suggested Mr Morris was suspended from Sinn Féin because he was suspected of child abuse.

Irish Independent

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