PROVO abuse victim Mairia Cahill last night described a diktat to all Sinn Fein representatives by a senior IRA man in Belfast ordering a media blackout on her case as "grotesque".
obby Storey - who spent almost 20 years in prison for IRA offences and who was questioned over the 2004 Northern Bank robbery and the IRA spy ring at Stormont - sent out the memo to party members last week.
Ms Cahill said the "former director of intelligence for the IRA" was effectively ordering Sinn Fein representatives - from local councillors to MEPS - to undermine her.
She told the Sunday Independent: "Every time Sinn Fein seem under pressure they adopt a manner of grotesque tactics in order to undermine people's credibility. All manner of tactics have been used against me. This is designed to frighten me to stop raising the issue. It won't work.
"The politicians, media, and the Irish public can see how SF have behaved and they are not doing themselves any favours. I don't remember a time when any victim of sexual abuse was treated in such a scandalous manner by anyone in a very public way.
"If Bobby Storey and co were really concerned with child protection they'd have sent a memo calling on their members to come forward with information from within about child abusers. Until they address it and take accountability, children in Ireland continue to be at great risk."
The memo from Storey to Sinn Fein members dispels claims that the IRA does not exercise any control over the party. It directs: "At a wider level, party activists should refrain from making any comment on social media sites or in any other way around the issue of the sexual abuse of Mairia Cahill. Such comments are both inappropriate and elements of the media will attempt to misuse or misinterpret any comment - as has already happened."
The Provo chief further warns party members that comments on social media "should only be made if they are measured and rigorously accurate".
Storey also disparagingly refers to Mairia Cahill's campaign for justice since she was brutally raped by a senior IRA figure 18 years ago, as "political opposition to Sinn Fein".
Sinn Fein refused to comment on the leaked memo when contacted by the Sunday Independent.
The leaked memo is the clearest indication that, despite Gerry Adams's claims to the contrary, the IRA continues to exert considerable influence over Sinn Fein.
The guidelines for the 'military' wing's control of the republican political wing were set out in an IRA strategy document seized by gardai in 1977. The document, entitled Staff Report, states: "Sinn Fein should come under Army organisers at all levels. Sinn Fein should employ full-time organisers in the big Republican areas. Sinn Fein should be radicalised (under Army direction) and agitate around social and economic issues which attack the welfare of the people. SF should be directed to infiltrate other organisations to win support for, and sympathy to, the Movement."
Storey is widely regarded as a top IRA boss. He spent almost 20 years in prison, including a brief period in England, where he was arrested for conspiring to hijack a helicopter to spring IRA chief Brian Keenan from Brixton Prison. He was arrested in 1981 with a rifle after the shooting of a soldier and sentenced to 18 years.
He was questioned, but never charged, in relation to the Northern Bank robbery in December 2004. He was also questioned about the IRA spy ring which brought down the power-sharing assembly in 2002.
Storey makes infrequent public appearances, the last alongside Gerry Adams after Adams was released in May this year after two days of questioning by the PSNI about the murder and disappearance of mother-of-10 Jean McConville in December 1972.