SINN Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald has broken her silence over the latest IRA sex abuse scandal, insisting her party's "priority" is to protect victims of abuse.
Ms McDonald told the Herald last night that she does not know the identities of the individuals who allegedly subjected rape victim Paudie McGahon to a terrifying kangaroo court- style interrogation.
The Dublin Central TD insisted she had no knowledge of Mr McGahon's ordeal - although she did acknowledge in November that she had "anecdotal" evidence that abusers had been relocated.
"The only place for these issues to be dealt through is the criminal justice system and other statutory agencies. Sinn Fein's priority at all times has been to support victims of abuse and to ensure that they can access the justice system and support services," Ms McDonald said in a statement to this newspaper.
Ms McDonald made the remarks as Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Joan Burton both launched stinging attacks on Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams over his role in handling sex abuse allegations within the republican movement.
Speaking at a major press conference in Dublin, Mr Kenny said Mr Adams has completely failed to properly address sex abuse allegations by Mr McGahon.
"If this happened in any other party there would be absolute mayhem. This matter has not been dealt with at all," he told reporters.
Mr Kenny said Mr Adams attempted to bully RTE Morning Ireland anchor Gavin Jennings during a radio interview.
Mr Kenny went on to say that Mr Adams's failure to address the allegations means children both North and South are potentially at risk of abuse.
At the same event, the Tanaiste said she wanted to know if Mr McGahon's alleged abuser still has access to young people.
"I think Gerry Adams needs to get real on this issue. Anyone who saw the Spotlight programme will have been very distressed," Ms Burton added.
She also said she was glad Sinn Fein MP Francie Molloy withdrew his "disgraceful" tweet which suggested Mr McGahon's allegations were "rubbish".
Junior Finance Minister Simon Harris at the same event said that Mr Adams confirmation that allegations were known about since 2009 and not referred to the gardai, meant Sinn Fein was a "party of cover-up".
"We know Sinn Fein is a party that had representatives which have covered up abuse," he said.
Meanwhile, IRA abuse victim Mairia Cahill has been in regular contact with other victims who are considering whether to go public with their ordeals. Ms Cahill believes there are at least 60 other victims, many of whom have discussed with her the prospect of waiving their anonymity.
The Herald understands that a female victim who claims to have been raped and subjected to a kangaroo court-style interrogation is considering whether to go public in the coming days.
Speaking yesterday, Ms Cahill said she has personally advised IRA abuse victims not to go public due to the abuse she received online.
"I would never wish my treatment on anybody. I would never push or assert that anybody would waive their anonymity or do it through the media," Ms Cahill said.
Former Louth TD Arthur Morgan and local councillor Pearse McGeough - who both engaged with Mr McGahon - said they consistently tried to persuade the father of two to go to the gardai.
ANDREW LYNCH: SEE PAGE 16