Monday 10 December 2018

Mairia Cahill: 'I wasn't treated with respect in meeting with Mary Lou McDonald'

Mairia Cahill pictured in the Oldpark area of north Belfast following the publication of the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman's report into the PSNI's handling of her sexual abuse case against an IRA member. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Mairia Cahill pictured in the Oldpark area of north Belfast following the publication of the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman's report into the PSNI's handling of her sexual abuse case against an IRA member. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Rape victim Mairia Cahill believes she was not treated with respect during her long anticipated meeting with Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald.

Ms McDonald agreed to meet Ms Cahill in Leinster House to discuss the controversial findings of the Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland inquiry.

The Ombudsman found RUC intelligence which found Ms Cahill’s alleged abuser Martin Morris was suspended from Sinn Féin because he was "suspected of abusing certain children".

During a more than an hour long meeting, Ms Cahill told Ms McDonald she was "extremely frustrated" with her responses to questions about the alleged involvement of Sinn Féin and IRA members in the investigation into her rape.

Ms McDonald said she believed Ms Cahill was raped because two other victims had come forward. She would not comment on whether the IRA investigated the rapes.

Ms Cahill said the Sinn Féin leader would not accept there was a "cover up" of her abuse by the party. She also said Ms McDonald accepted Ms Cahill was treated badly by Sinn Féin after her rape ordeal became public. Ms McDonald said this was partly because the issue had become highly politicised.

In a statement released after the meeting, Ms McDonald said she "listened carefully" to Ms Cahill and apologised that procedures for the mandatory reporting of abuse allegations were not in place at the time of her rape.

"I reiterated to her that allegations of a criminal nature must be dealt with by the statutory authorities with responsibility for doing so," she added.

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