A DUBLIN Sinn Fein TD has admitted that the IRA held internal investigations into serious allegations of criminal behaviour by its members.
However, Dessie Ellis from Finglas said IRA volunteers were not qualified to deal with allegations of sexual assault or rape such as those made by Mairia Cahill.
"If an allegation was made against a volunteer it would have to be investigated," he said.
"I don't want to comment on specific cases but it would have happened. To be honest they were not qualified to deal with something like sexual abuse."
Mr Ellis's comments follows widespread calls for the Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams to address fresh claims that the IRA and Sinn Fein covered up sex abuse allegations made against their members.
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said Mr Ellis's comments were a "startling revelation" and it was "benign" to say IRA members did not have the skill set to deal with abuse claims.
"That's what the Catholic Church and other institutions were been accused of for years - not reporting things to the police," Mr Martin said.
In a BBC Spotlight documentary, Ms Cahill (33) said she was interrogated by an internal IRA inquiry when she alleged a senior member of the organisation repeatedly raped her when she was 16. She also said she met Mr Adams and discussed her allegations.
Yesterday Ms Cahill said Mr Adams attended her abuser's wedding but denied he knew the man when they met to discuss her abuse allegations.
"At first he tried to claim he didn't know the alleged abuser and then I reminded him that he was invited to his wedding," she told RTE Radio One.
"He sat on a management committee with him at a community festival," she added.
Mr Adams has confirmed he met Ms Cahill but denied they spoke about her abuse.
"The allegation of an IRA investigation was subject to a police investigation and court case," he said.