Monday 16 September 2019

Máiría Cahill rejects Sinn Féin's claim that members were fully co-operative with probe into sex abuse claims

Questioned: Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald. Picture: Frank McGrath
Questioned: Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald. Picture: Frank McGrath
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has insisted members of her party fully co-operated with the investigation into Máiría Cahill's sex abuse case despite a Police Ombudsman report saying otherwise.

Ms McDonald went on the attack yesterday to say she has done everything possible to help Ms Cahill and described their meeting last week as "very cordial".

However, this is disputed by Ms Cahill who has released her records of that meeting to the Irish Independent.

The notes suggest the two women repeatedly clashed over whether the IRA carried out an investigation into Ms Cahill's claim she was sexually abused by an alleged IRA member as a 16 year old.

Ms McDonald declined to accept the IRA was involved in a probe. The notes quote the Dublin Central TD as saying she has not asked any of those being linked to this alleged investigation about the situation.

Asked directly whether "as a human being, not as a politician" she believed there was an IRA investigation, Ms McDonald replied that she didn't know.

According to the notes, the TD claimed not to have been party to conversations about any probe and said only the courts could resolve such issues.

Queries sent to Sinn Féin yesterday on this point went unanswered.

On RTÉ's 'Today with Sean O'Rourke', Ms McDonald said she could only answer questions relating to Sinn Féin.

"It is my duty and my responsibility to be accountable for Sinn Féin. I'm not accountable for the person who visited the abuse on Máiría," she said.

She said members of her party, including Gerry Adams, had cooperated fully with a police investigation in 2010.

However, a recently completed Police Ombudsman report stated Mr Adams's solicitor told officers that a written statement was all he would provide.

It adds that a detective chief inspector "stated that none of the Sinn Féin members were going to cooperate with police and that he never expected them to provide statements confirming that the IRA had conducted an investigation".

Elsewhere, the report states that a meeting with Sinn Féin members was "difficult and confrontational".

On radio, Ms McDonald insisted: "They cooperated with the assistance and advice of their solicitors.

"Gerry Adams's cooperation with the investigation was full and was mediated through legal representative."

In response, Ms Cahill told the Irish Independent while legally witnesses were entitled to provide statements rather than take part in an interview, in her opinion that did not amount to "full and frank cooperation with police".

Prior to their meeting last week, Ms Cahill said she had low expectations for what would be offered up by Ms McDonald.

The Sinn Féin leader offered an apology for how members of the party first handled the situation when they became aware of the abuse claims. She accepted a direct complaint should have been referred to police.

However, Ms Cahill said she couldn't go to the RUC because the IRA was involved.

Towards the end of the conversation, Ms Cahill complained that she is being subjected to online abuse.

Ms McDonald responded that such behaviour is unacceptable to her.

Irish Independent

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