SINN Fein’s handling of up to 100 cases of sex abuse allegations by republicans should be examined by a government commission of inquiry, the Dail heard today.
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said several Catholic dioceses, including Dublin and Cloyne, had faced such inquiries which proved effective and helpful.
During a tough Dail debate on the latest allegations of rape by a senior IRA man, brought to light by Louth man Paudie McGahon, the Sinn Fein deputy leader, Mary Lou McDonald, again defended party leader, Gerry Adams.
Ms McDonald said a North-South joint government forum, to allow sex abuse victims to come forward and tell their stories and seek remedies, would be the best way to proceed. This had been proposed last year by the North’s deputy first minister, Martin McGuinness.
For the Government, Education Minister, Jan O’Sullivan accused Sinn Fein of trying to put the onus on victims of sex abuse to resolve matters.
“You put the onus on victims and others. It's about time you told us what people around you knew,” the Education Minister said, rounding on Ms McDonald.
Ms O’Sullivan accused Sinn Fein of issuing a “general mantra” that people should come forward and help the authorities, including the Gardai and PSNI.
“It’s all very well to fire missiles around this chamber and avoid the responsibility of your own party,” the Minister told Ms McDonald. She added that people needed to know how republican “kangaroo courts” worked.
The Sinn Fein deputy leader said knew her party’s responsibilities and she and other party representatives routinely brought forward cases of abuse to the authorities.
“What we cannot do and we will not do is carry out the functions of An Garda Siochana or the PSNI in the North,” Ms McDonald said.
Minister O’Sullivan said the Fianna Fail proposal for a commission of inquiry had merit and would be considered. But the Minister said this would take time to set up and get results and it was vital for Sinn Fein to come forward now and tell what they know.