Wednesday 24 April 2019

Taoiseach made 'politically motivated' remarks over Mairia Cahill affair - Adams

Niall O’Connor

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has accused the Taoiseach of making “politically motivated” remarks about the Mairia Cahill affair.

Mr Adams today responded to claims by Enda Kenny that he had tried to discredit Ms Cahill, who has been widely commended for speaking publicly about her sexual abuse at the hands of a senior IRA figure.

Earlier today, Mr Kenny launched a scathing attack on Mr Adams and Sinn Fein, accusing the party of treating Ms Cahill in an “utterly despicable” manner. The Taoiseach was directly referring to a blog posted by Mr Adams which rejected Ms Cahill’s claim that Sinn Fein was guilty of a cover-up.

“I think there's been a despicable, an utterly despicable conduct by Sinn Fein to discredit Mairia Cahill over the last period,” Mr Kenny told reporters in Mayo.

“Is this another part of an attempt to discredit a young woman whose telling a story from the inside and my understanding is that there is more to follow,” he added.

But in a statement this evening, Mr Adams rejected the made by the Taoiseach.

"In comments today, the Taoiseach suggested that my recent blog was 'part of an attempt to discredit' Mairia Cahill.

"The Taoiseach is entirely wrong and his remarks are mischievous and clearly politically motivated,” the Louth TD said.

"The blog was a sincere effort to deal directly with the issue of how allegations of abuse had been handled in the past by republicans. The Taoiseach should not try to score cheap political points about these sensitive and serious issues.

"The Taoiseach also said in relation to people who have suffered abuse in the past that he understood more ‘there are more to follow’.

"Abuse of any kind is totally wrong. If anyone, including the Taoiseach has any information whatsoever about any child abuse, they should give that to the appropriate authorities North or South and they will have the full support of Sinn Féin in doing this."

Ms Cahill today met the North’s First Minister peter Robinson amid claims that further abuse cases will be made public and is due to meet the Taoiseach tomorrow.

The Belfast woman has vowed to support abuse victims she says are sill too scared to come forward and tell their stories.

She warned that abusers were still walking the streets because victims were fearful of contacting the authorities.

"There are perpetrators at the minute that have never been before a court of law because victims have been frightened into silence and haven't been able to report it," she said on a visit to Stormont to discuss her case with First Minister Peter Robinson.

Stormont's Justice Minister David Ford appealed for abuse victims to come forward.

He added: "If there are wider issues which emerge from that, then it may well be that there are appropriate issues to be considered by a public inquiry.

"But, the important issue at this stage is that any of us who have any influence should encourage anybody who is in that position to come forward."

He later said he was not in a position to commit to a public inquiry at this stage.

Additional reporting: Press Association

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