Sunday 21 April 2019

Mairia Cahill - What women TDs and senators say

Maíria Cahill alleges at the age of 16 she was raped by an IRA member and her complaints led to numerous contacts with Sinn Fein and its leader Gerry Adams
Maíria Cahill alleges at the age of 16 she was raped by an IRA member and her complaints led to numerous contacts with Sinn Fein and its leader Gerry Adams Newsdesk Newsdesk

The Sunday Independent polled female members of the Oireachtas last week in light of Mairia Cahill's startling claims.

We asked them:

Do you believe Mairia Cahill?

Does the republican movement have questions to answer over its handling of sexual abuse allegations and why?

These were the responses received.


Joan Burton - Tanaiste Party leader and Social Protection Minister

No reply. However, in a statement last week she said: "I met with Mairia Cahill this evening for over an hour. Mairia's story is deeply disturbing and it raises serious questions for all of those involved."

Kathleen Lynch - Minister of State

No reply.

Jan O'Sullivan - Education Minister

Yes. I think Mairia Cahill is a brave and truthful person.

Some very serious questions about the role of senior members of the republican movement have been raised by Mairia.

Ann Phelan - Minister of State.

No reply

Ciara Conway - TD

Yes, women should be believed and supported not silenced. I believe she deserves honest and truthful answers to these questions.

Anne Ferris - TD

Yes to both questions.

Joanna Tuffy - TD


Senior members of the republican movement, including Gerry Adams, have serious questions to answer.

Senator Ivana Bacik

Yes to both questions.

Senator Aideen Hayden


It's not the first time questions have been raised about the democratically-elected members of Sinn Fein.

Senator Lorraine Higgins

No reply.

Senator Marie Moloney

Yes. She was very sincere and forthright in all her interviews, and I listened carefully and intently both on television and radio. I also believe that the republican movement/Sinn Fein and, in particular, their leadership handled this affair very badly. They should have encouraged and supported this young vulnerable girl.

Senator Mary Moran

Yes, I completely believe Mairia Cahill. I most certainly believe that the republican movement has questions to answer over the matter.

This is not the first time that assertions have been made by victims of sexual abuse that IRA internally investigated sex abuse cases.

Senator Susan O'Keeffe

No reply.

Senator Fidelma Healy Eames

I would take Mairia's comments very seriously. It takes a lot for a woman to waive anonymity. I think there are serious questions to be answered by the republican movement.


Fine Gael

Catherine Byrne - TD.

No reply.

Aine Collins - TD

No reply.

Marcella Corcoran Kennedy TD

Refused to participate.

Regina Doherty - TD

Yes to both.

Frances Fitzgerald - Justice Minister

No reply.

Heather Humphreys - Arts Minister

No reply.

Helen McEntee - TD

I do believe Mairia Cahill. This is the second such linking of a very high-profile "republican movement" politician to an abuse case. Questions must be asked.

Olivia Mitchell - TD

No reply.

Mary Mitchell O'Connor - TD

No reply.

Michelle Mulherin - TD

Yes, I believe Mairia.

The republican movement have operated for years as a law onto themselves, with terrible consequences for many individuals who have been maimed or lost their lives. It is clear that their alternative solutions to policing and enforcement were clandestine and relied on terror, with no respect for the rule of law nor objective fair procedures. They operated in the dark of night so to speak.

They need to come clean about the atrocities, the crimes they committed and permitted, which were never about the 'cause'. Otherwise the sanctimonious position taken by Sinn Fein in modern politics - decrying institutions, the State and the Catholic church for sins of the past - must surely be one of the most ugly acts of hypocrisy.

Gabrielle McFadden - TD

No reply.

Senator Deirdre Clune

Yes. I've never met her, but she seems credible.

I believe they do have a case to answer.

Senator Cait Keane

No reply.

Senator Imelda Henry

No reply.

Senator Hildegarde Naughton

No reply.

Senator Catherine Noone

She came across as credible and I can't see why she should lie.

It follows that if what she says is true then the republican movement does have questions to answer.


Fianna Fail

Senator Mary White

I don't know enough about it.

Senator Averil Power

I'd be much more inclined to believe Mairia Cahill than Gerry Adams.

I think his reaction has been dismissive and the allegations are incredibly serious.

We also need to hear from Sinn Fein, especially younger members, to see how they feel about it.



Joan Collins - TD

No reply.

Lucinda Creighton - TD

Yes, I absolutely believe her and the republican movement has serious questions to answer - Gerry Adams, in particular.

Clare Daly - TD

No reply.

Catherine Murphy - TD

No reply.

Maureen O'Sullivan - TD

No reply.

Roisin Shortall - TD

No reply.

Senator Marie Ann O'Brien

No reply.

Senator Marie-Louise O'Donnell

Yes, I believe Mairia Cahill absolutely and entirely.

The republican movement have huge and urgent questions to answer.

They are not a court of law.

Senator Jillian van Turnhout

Declined comment.

Senator Katherine Zappone

Yes to both questions.


Socialist Party

Ruth Coppinger - TD

No reply.


Sinn Fein

Mary-Lou McDonald - TD and deputy party leader

No reply.

Sandra McLellan - TD

No reply.

Liadh Ni Riada - MEP

No reply.

Lynn Boylan - MEP

No reply.

Senator Kathryn Reilly

No reply.

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