Adams speech was a 'clear attack' on sex abuse victims: Cahill
Sinn Fein leader blames media for 'smears' at party Ard Fheis
CHILD sex abuse victim Mairia Cahill last night hit back at Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams after he claimed there had been "tsunami of untruth and smears" against the party.
Ms Cahill, who was dragged before an IRA kangaroo court after she was sexually assaulted by a senior IRA figure, said Mr Adams comments were "despicable" and a "clear attack" on her.
Mr Adams also used his address at the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis at the Millennium Forum in Derry to single out Independent News & Media for targeting his party with what he claimed were false allegations.
However Mr Adams chose not to specify what these allegations were.
Last night, speaking to the Sunday Independent, Ms Cahill said: "The Independent Group was basically reporting a child abuse story over the last couple of months and his political opponents, as he puts it, were raising the issue of a political party which stood accused over the cover up of child rape.
"I do think it is a swipe - they have been taking swipes all day and I think it's completely despicable. It's very, very dangerous. Essentially what he's saying is we don't care about this child abuse thing, because I'm going to use it to take a swipe at Independent Newspapers instead."
The Sinn Fein leader received the loudest cheer of the weekend when he claimed there had been a "tsunami of untruth and smears" against the party. Without specifying what he was talking about, he insisted: "It didn't work."
Mr Adams continued: "People listened to the lies and they looked at you, their neighbours and family members, their work colleagues - and they said, the Shinner I know isn't like the one depicted in the Independent group of newspapers or by our political opponents."
Sinn Fein has spent the past year fighting off allegations that the IRA has covered up child sex abuse. The IRA has also been accused of being involved in moving known sex abusers both north and south of the border.
Sinn Fein did not respond to a request to clarify what "untruths" Mr Adams was referring to in his speech.
His remarks came as three senior Fine Gael ministers launched a stinging attack on Sinn Fein's "venal hypocrisy" in relation to its global fundraising activities.
In an interview with the Sunday Independent, Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe said Sinn Fein has been exposed for opposing big business at home - but has been happy to take its money in other countries.
"I think there has been a venal hypocrisy exposed in the past number of days in the stance they take here at home - where they oppose big interests and people with money - and then their willingness to take the money from people in other countries," he said.
Sinn Fein yesterday passed a motion to repeal the 8th Amendment to the Constitution, which bans abortion. The party also voted to add an acceptance of abortion in limited circumstances to their official policy programme.
Deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said giving women a choice would be the decent and "republican" thing to do.
"For me, the decent thing, the right thing, the republican thing to do, is to support the motion and afford those women, their partners and their families the dignity and small measure of comfort that choice represents for them."