Wednesday 14 November 2018

Mairia's voice only weapon that she needs

No one ever doubted Mairia Cahill's story until the truth became inconvenient to some very dangerous people.

Mairia Cahill pictured with Eilis O'Hanlon. Picture: Gerry Mooney
Mairia Cahill pictured with Eilis O'Hanlon. Picture: Gerry Mooney

Eilis O'Hanlon

Mairia Cahill is my cousin. First cousin, once removed, for those who understand or care about such technicalities.

For most of my life, it didn't really matter anyway. We belong to a large, extended bunch, which is spread across Belfast. Mairia's side in the west of the city. My smaller branch in the north. I didn't know them and they didn't know me, except to hear what they were up to now and again; but I always got the impression that the Cahills were a bit of a mystery. You'd have needed a family tree to keep track of them.

The first time I heard about Mairia specifically was in the summer or early autumn of 2000 when my mother told me that one of Frank's grandchildren (Frank was my mother's brother) had been "interfered with" and that the man had been put out of the country. "Who was it?" I asked. "Mairia, Philip's daughter," she said.

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