Sunday 24 March 2019

SF 'inquiry' into 100 sex abuse cases

Gerry Adams 'list' of Provo abusers provides no new leads for gardai

Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams

Jim Cusack and Maeve Sheehan

Sinn Fein is refusing to say if it will hand over to gardai the minutes of a star chamber-style inquiry into 100 cases of suspected sex abuse involving members of the Provisional movement, held in Dublin eight years ago.

The secret investigation flies in the face of repeated denials by Sinn Fein leadership of their knowledge of a culture of sexual abuse within the Republican movement.

A specialist Garda unit, the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Investigation Unit (DVSAIU), has been tasked with investigating a "review" carried out in 2006 relating to up to 100 allegations that were allegedly drawn up for examination by senior republicans.

It is understood the secret inquiry took place in a party-owned premises in Dublin.

Meanwhile, the Sunday Independent has learned that the list of abusers Gerry Adams claims was pushed through the letter box of his west Belfast home has provided no new leads for gardai.

Detectives said the names handed over by Sinn Fein's child protection officer were "vague" and "non-specific". Eleven are from Northern Ireland, three are dead - one by suicide - two are currently "abroad" and one is living in "the south". However, the list does not contain any further specific information that could be of use to gardai.

The internal Sinn Fein review documents are not included in any of the information which the party and its leader say they are providing to gardai.

Gardai are also sceptical about Gerry Adams' claim that six names he has supplied - names already provided by Mairia Cahill - were posted through the letter box of his family home in west Belfast. The house in Norfolk Drive, off the Glen Road, has CCTV.

It is understood gardai will ask the PSNI to check images from the relevant time the 'letter' was posted.

The 2006 'review' was carried out in the wake of information which emerged in Northern newspapers and the Sunday Independent that a "rape victim" had been summoned to appear before a Provo kangaroo court. This was a reference to Mairia Cahill, though she was not named at the time. This was the meeting Ms Cahill was ordered to attend at an apartment belonging to a Sinn Fein member in west Belfast and at which Martin Morris, her alleged abuser, was given her statement. After Ms Cahill's allegations against Morris, Sinn Fein apparently moved him to a more prominent position in the 'policing' body.

It was only in 2006 when Sinn Fein was pushing for more British and Irish government money for their community policing project that the matter over the rape allegations came to a head. The rape allegation was brought to the attention of the Irish Government by the SDLP in a damning document about the conduct of Morris, who was referred to as 'CRJ'. Only then was Morris moved out of Belfast, initially to Donegal.

No attempt was made to bring the allegations about Morris to the PSNI, and gardai were not notified of his 're-settlement' in Donegal. Morris subsequently moved to England and remains living in north London.

On Friday, SF's Martin McGuinness, the North's Deputy First Minister, refused to apologise to Ms Cahill for the IRA's handling of her abuse allegation. "I suppose the sad thing about the Mairia Cahill case is the alleged abuser has disappeared into the smoke and people are focusing their concentration on people who were not involved in the sexual abuse of Mairia Cahill, and I think that's a mistake," he said.

Sunday Independent

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