Potential Sinn Féin voters must reflect
PAUDIE McGahon's testimony, of how he was raped at the age of 17 in his family home by a leading IRA man, is as harrowing as the account given by Mairia Cahill last autumn.
"I hid it all. I hid it all," Mr McGahon said in a compelling comment, which sums up the plight of a defenceless youngster, alone and afraid.
As with Mairia Cahill's account of her suffering, the Sinn Féin response carries more than a hint of dishonesty. Led by Gerry Adams, the Sinn Féin leaders say they accept what Mr McGahon and Ms Cahill have to say.
They offer strong expressions of sympathy and urge every citizen to give every possible cooperation to An Garda Síochána and/or the PSNI. But such urgings are not borne out in practice by former IRA members and current Sinn Féin activists.
Gerry Adams well knows the identity of the man who raped the young Paudie McGahon in the same way as he well knows the identity of Mairia Cahill's rapist. It is time he ended this double-talking and helped the authorities to find these people, knowing they may well still be in contact with vulnerable young people and continuing their reprehensible actions.
An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, has challenged Mr Adams to speak out on these matters. Mr Kenny has correctly said the Sinn Féin president must speak about these "safe houses" in the southern jurisdiction and what wrongs may have been done in them.
The brutal political reality is that opinion polls tell us that Ms Cahill's case has had little impact on voters in the Republic. Even though Mr McGahon's case happened in the Republic rather than the North, there still is every chance that it will not impact on voters either.
And yet, the compelling testimonies of both Ms Cahill and Mr McGahon have touched many people, across all political persuasions, both north and south. It is high time people reflected on their voting intentions and whether they can back a party with such a dubious past, and one so incapable of facing it honestly.
Middle-ground voters, understandably disenchanted with established parties, should think hard about this.