Wednesday 19 December 2018

Deeply disturbing claims deserve far better response from on high in Sinn Féin

Mairia Cahill's allegations put the spotlight on the IRA's handling of sex abuse cases
Mairia Cahill's allegations put the spotlight on the IRA's handling of sex abuse cases

Daniel McConnell

The deeply disturbing claims revealed here today are a shocking glimpse inside the normally secret world of the so-called Republican movement.

Details of truly shocking instances of abuse against women and children by IRA 'volunteers' reveal the extent of the dysfunctionality that Gerry Adams and others within Sinn Féin hoped never would emerge.

But emerge they have and those victims of the abuse deserve a whole sight better than the response to date by the leaders of Sinn Féin.

Yesterday, the party's justice spokesman Padraig Mac Lochlainn said he condemned the use of kangaroo courts but in the same breath suggested they were in effect a necessary evil of the Troubles. Ditto Martin McGuinness, the self-confessed former IRA man-turned-politician.

Rather than grasp the issue and admit to their own failings, Sinn Féin again went on the attack.

Just like they did with Mairia Cahill (inset right), they have sought to deny the very existence of this inquiry. Shame on them.

This latest saga has again showed how difficult it is to distinguish between large chunks of Sinn Féin and the IRA, if any difference exists at all.

Despite similar abuse cases coming to light previously, most notably involving Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams's brother Liam, the party continued to enjoy a surge in popular support.

However, the Paudie McGahon saga is different.

The 'cover-up' by Sinn Féin, as described by minister Simon Harris, was not 20 or 30 years ago. It is far more recent than that. Also, it happened in this jurisdiction.

And as crass as it is to say it, in terms of impact that makes a difference.

Let's remember, Sinn Féin is a party which has genuine claims on office in the south. But its handling of the McGahon and other abuse allegations has been shocking and disgraceful.

Mr Adams knew of the McGahon claims since 2009 and did not contact gardaí.

If Sinn Féin is genuinely serious about wanting office, then it needs to be fit for office. Passing the blame on to others and seeking to deflect will not do. We all deserve better.

Irish Independent

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