Wednesday 19 December 2018

Sinn Fein’s Mary Lou McDonald: ‘No regrets’ over party’s handling of Mairia Cahill case

Mairia Cahill
Mairia Cahill

Sinn Fein’s Vice President Mary Lou McDonald says she has ‘no regrets’ over her party’s handling of the Mairia Cahill case this year.

Ms Cahill rose to public attention in October when she alleged she was sexually abused by a suspected IRA member - but was ordered to take a vow of silence after the movement investigated her claims in a "kangaroo court".

Cahill waived her right to anonymity when she claimed she was attacked and sexually abused by the suspected member of the IRA over a period of 12 months in 1997 when she was aged just 16.

Her family had been friends with Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams. Adams refuted allegations about a meeting he had with her.

In a Sunday Independent poll two weeks ago, more than half of all respondents said they  believed that Sinn Fein has been damaged by the Cahill affair.

However, Ms McDonald said this morning on RTE’s Today With Sean O’Rourke that she does not have any regrets over Sinn Fein’s handling of the Cahill case.

“I don’t. Obviously when someone comes forward as Mairia did with a story of abuse and sexual violence it is profoundly traumatic and that is the case for this young woman.”

“I feel an immense sense of sympathy and hurt for anybody who’s been violated and that’s the case for Mairia”

“I wish her well.”

Meanwhile, Ms McDonald said there is no doubt over Adams’ leadership within Sinn Fein.

He will announce his intention to go forward as Sinn Fein’s President at the party’s next Ard Fheis.

“He indicated that his name would go forward at the next Ard FHEIS, and that’s how we decide as a party [who our leader is].”

“I won’t be doing it at the next Ard Fheis,” she said.

“Gerry has my full confidence as the leader of the party and that is right across the party”

She said Sinn Fein’s support has increased and consolidated “on Gerry Adam’s watch”.

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