A SENIOR figure in Sinn Fein and the IRA in Dublin was "court martialled" by a Provo kangaroo court over claims that he had sexually abused his partner's toddler daughter.
Security sources have revealed that an internal inquiry was held in a GAA clubhouse in 2000, the same year Mairia Cahill was interrogated by a similar gathering.
The Republican, who was one of the organisation's top bomb-makers, was later "cleared" of all the charges and the incident was hushed up.
The Irish Independent has learned that the allegations first came to light when the Sinn Fein/IRA man's partner discovered that her three-year-old daughter had been abused.
The child's mother, who is also from a staunch Republican family, threw the man out of her home. She told her suspicions to another senior Sinn Fein figure, who promised to have them investigated internally and the abuser punished.
When no action was taken by the Republicans, the woman threatened to go to the gardai at a certain Dublin station and report the abuser.
At the time the Crime and Security branch in Garda HQ were already aware of the allegations through Republican informants and electronic surveillance.
Officers made a "discreet" approach to the woman to find out if she was prepared to make an official complaint which they could then investigate.
A former senior security source revealed that the woman refused to co-operate after meeting with a number of named Sinn Fein and IRA members, who promised that the man would be brought before a kangaroo court.
The "court martial" took place in a back room at a GAA club which has strong connections with the Republican movement.
A security source said: "We had a full account of everything that happened during that so-called trial, but it was only a white wash designed to bury the scandal.
"He (named Sinn Fein official) was a hero in the organisation and too far up the pecking order for any punitive action to be taken against him.
"He was untouchable in every sense of the word because the gardai couldn't investigate the claims without a complaint."
The source added: "Because of that, a child abuser, who is centrally involved in Sinn Fein's electoral strategy, has been allowed to slip the net, but he is by no means the only one.
"The widespread sexual abuse of youngsters by Republicans in the South was a major headache for the movement and it was known at the very top of the organisation.
"They have done a very good job at covering up the truth," he added.
In 2000, Republicans were afraid of the potential damage to Sinn Fein's reputation in Dublin if the man had been investigated by gardai and brought before the legitimate courts.
The same year, Belfast woman Mairia Cahill was forced to attend a similar hearing when she demanded that the IRA investigate her abuser, who was another prominent Republican.
In 2002, two brothers from County Louth, who claimed they were abused by an IRA volunteer as teenagers, described being interviewed at their family home in circumstances almost identical to those experienced by Ms Cahill.