Sunday 16 December 2018

'It took me years to speak out and now I want others to do the same'

Paudie McGahon from Ardee. Photo: Frank McGrath
Paudie McGahon from Ardee. Photo: Frank McGrath

Paul Williams Special Correspondent

The man at the centre of fresh allegations of IRA child abuse and his family are to receive garda protection following his decision to go public.

Paudie McGahon had been warned that his life would be in danger if he spoke out about being sexually assaulted as a teenager.

However, the 40-year-old says he has no regrets about breaking his silence in yesterday's Irish Independent.

"My decision to come out like this took many years of agonising but in the end I could not take the injustice of how Sinn Féin tried to cover it up," Mr McGahon said.

"I wanted to encourage the other victims of Republican child sex abuse to come forward and expose the lies that have been told.

"I am glad that I exposed this and we have received a lot of support from politicians and members of the public in the past 24 hours. I have prepared myself for a backlash and denials from Sinn Féin," he added.

Mr McGahon and a number of other witnesses have already made statements to gardaí in relation to the sexual assault and an IRA kangaroo court which he alleges was organised by a Sinn Féin member in 2002.

Gardaí have been monitoring Mr McGahon's family home in Co Louth. He moved his wife and young children out before his interview was published yesterday.

Last night Belfast woman Mairia Cahill said she was upset to see that a second sex abuse victim was forced to go public and challenged Sinn Féin to reveal how many IRA rape cases were covered up.

Ms Cahill's explosive allegations of sexual abuse by an IRA member and a subsequent Sinn Féin cover-up sent shockwaves through the republican movement last year.

"I am highly distressed that another victim has had to go through this. There are many more victims and Sinn Féin need to admit it. They have refused to answer specific questions in my case and they have refused to answer specific questions in the second case," Ms Cahill said.

Mr Adams, who is one of Mr McGahon's local TDs, said in the Dáil: "I have previously acknowledged that the actions of republicans in the past in dealing with allegations of sexual abuse were inadequate and inappropriate."

But Mr McGahon reacted angrily to the comments of the Sinn Féin President.

"He is using weasel words to try and distance Sinn Féin from this but I will not be going away," he said.

Irish Independent

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