Friday 23 August 2019

Cahill brands address rule for election candidates a 'fiasco'

SDLP councillor Máiría Cahill. Photo: PA
SDLP councillor Máiría Cahill. Photo: PA
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

IRA abuse victim Máiría Cahill has branded the rule that caused her to withdraw from the local elections in Northern Ireland a "fiasco".

The SDLP councillor has withdrawn from the race over a rule which stipulates candidates must make their home address public - something that is not the case for people running for Stormont or Westminster.

Ms Cahill came to prominence after she waived her right to anonymity to speak out in a newspaper interview, alleging she had been raped by a suspected IRA member when she was a teenager.

Yesterday she said she was reluctantly withdrawing from the election race.

She said it was "ironic" that having advocated for the safety of women, fears for her own welfare led to her bowing out.

Ms Cahill said there were various legal orders in place to prohibit behaviour towards her which puts her at risk.

"I live with protective measures in my house for that very reason and very rarely tell people where I live to minimise that risk," she said.

"I have worked hard as a councillor for the last 10 months, and it is ironic that a strong advocate for keeping women safe is effectively barred from running for public office due to very real concerns about her safety."

Politicians on both sides of the Border spoke out in support of Ms Cahill following her announcement, which she likened to having to "sack" herself.

"These rules effectively bar anyone under threat, including victims of domestic violence, from running for local government. That is intolerable," said SDLP leader Colum Eastwood.

"We would never ask Máiría to compromise her safety or the safety of her family for an election. Some things are more important. We'll continue to work hard to resolve this issue and to support Máiría in any way we can."

Irish Independent

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