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Sunday 16 June 2019

IRA rape victim calls for inquiry into 'cover-up'

Survivor: Paudie McGahon has called on other IRA rape victims to come forward. Photo: Owen Breslin
Survivor: Paudie McGahon has called on other IRA rape victims to come forward. Photo: Owen Breslin
Paul Williams

Paul Williams

The victims of an IRA man who raped them as children have urged a full investigation be held into claims that members of Sinn Féin and the IRA tried to prevent the crimes being reported to gardaí.

In an exclusive interview, Paudie McGahon (44) said he had decided to waive his anonymity to speak out.

This month, 'IRA man' Seamus Marley was jailed for seven years for raping two teenage boys at a "republican safe house" two decades ago.

Mr McGahon was one of the boys and told how an IRA kangaroo court was convened in 2002 after the men first brought their abuse allegations to the attention of Louth Sinn Féin councillor Pearse McGeough.

Cllr McGeough has denied involvement in the kangaroo court.

Last night, both he and Sinn Féin maintained both of the victims were advised to go to gardaí at the time.

The second victim, who wishes to remain anonymous, has authorised Mr McGahon to speak publicly.

Seamus Marley (45) is a member of a prominent Belfast republican family. A jury in the Central Criminal Court found him guilty on eight counts of sexually assaulting and raping Mr McGahon and the second man when they were boys.

The men claim that the kangaroo court was organised by Mr McGeough, a close family friend of Mr McGahon's father, and chaired by prominent Belfast republican Padraic Wilson. Wilson was also accused of carrying out a similar function at a kangaroo court interrogating Máiría Cahill's rape allegations against another IRA man.

Cllr McGeough has previously denied that he was involved in the kangaroo court and said he advised Mr McGahon and the second victim to go to gardaí.

Last night, he said: "The testimony of the victims in this case was harrowing. I want to commend them for their courage in pursuing this matter."

He reiterated that the party's advice at the time was to bring the allegations of abuse to the Garda.

Wilson has also denied the allegations.

At a subsequent "hearing", the men allege that Wilson informed them that their allegations had been proven correct and offered them three alternative punishments for Marley: have him shot by the IRA; they could beat him up; or he could be exiled.

Mr McGahon said they opted for the least violent option.

"We didn't know any better at the time, we had been reared in the republican culture and there was a climate of intimidation so going to the police was just not on because you knew what could happen to you. It was only years later we began to realise what was really going on - Sinn Féin and the IRA were keeping us quiet," Mr McGahon told the Irish Independent last night.

However, last week the victims found Marley was never exiled by the IRA and for two years after the "investigation" Marley had been working with children in Dublin.

"When we discovered that Marley had not even been exiled at the time and that he was left working with children after all that, we were sick and it just convinced us even further that we are determined this conspiracy to silence us and pervert the course of justice is fully investigated," said Mr McGahon.

When the two men made an official complaint to gardaí in 2014, detectives launched two investigations - one focusing on the rape allegations and the other on an attempt to pervert the course of justice.

During Marley's trial, Mr McGeough was referred to on a number of occasions by witnesses as the person who brought him to Mr McGahon's home in the early 1990s.

In his victim impact statement, the second man described how he had called Mr McGeough to ask for help, but that after the call he knew he was on his own.

Irish Independent

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