THE IRA figure alleged to have raped Mairia Cahill before confronting her in a kangaroo court has "disappeared into the smoke", according to Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness.
The North's Deputy First Minister (pictured right) yesterday claimed that people "who were not involved in the sexual abuse" of Ms Cahill are now the subject of too much focus.
"I think that's a mistake," Mr McGuinness said.
The former IRA commander refused to apologise to Ms Cahill for the IRA's handling of her abuse allegation.
While expressing sympathy with the young mother and other abuse victims, Mr McGuinness told the Irish Independent that he did not feel he could say sorry on behalf of an organisation which he says is no longer in existence.
He added that the man alleged to have raped Ms Cahill when she was aged just 16 appears to have vanished.
"The IRA is gone. I can't speak on behalf of an organisation that doesn't exist any more.
"I suppose the sad thing about the Mairia Cahill case is the alleged abuser has disappeared into the smoke and people are focussing their concentration on people who were not involved in sexual abuse of Mairia Cahill and I think that's a mistake," he said.
The Sinn Fein representative added that he has "no knowledge whatsoever" of abusers who were moved to the South by the IRA.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny confirmed yesterday that the establishment of a cross-Border inquiry into IRA sexual abuse and the alleged movement of abusers to the Republic is being considered. He said a Dail debate held two weeks ago stemmed from Ms Cahill's "courage and conviction".
Mr Kenny proposed a "dual system" with powers to compel witnesses on both sides of the Border . He said he intends to hold "frank" talks with Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams on the IRA abuse scandal.