SF facing media campaign over abuse allegations
SF facing media campaign over abuse allegations


Sinn Fein has strongly rejected claims it sought to “cover-up” allegations of sexual abuse against a member of the Provisional IRA.

In a BBC documentary, Mairia Cahill accused Sinn Fein, the IRA and the PSNI of all acting to prevent her attacker being brought to justice. The allegations have fuelled a media sensation, particularly in the 26 Counties.

The Spotlight documentary featured Ms Cahill’s claims that a low-level IRA operative had raped her on a number of occasions in the man’s home in west Belfast, from the age of 16.

Ms Cahill’s said the alleged abuse continued for over a year, but that she had not been forced to go to the house where the abuse took place. The man she accused, Martin Morris, has consistently denied the claims.

The documentary focussed on Ms Cahill’s complaint that the IRA urged her not to contact the (RUC) police, and that they would carry out their own investigation. She claims that the subsequent IRA investigation was both terrifying and tokenistic.

The documentary highlights a period in the history of the North in which the Provisional IRA continued to operate a vigilante-style system of justice in those republican areas where no alternative policing existed. The incidents described by Ms Cahill took place following the IRA ceasefire, but before Sinn Fein agreed to co-operate with the PSNI.

One aspect of the IRA investigation procedure, developed at the height of the conflict in the early 1970s, involved the questionable practice of bringing accused and accuser together in a direct confrontation in an attempt to directly determine the veracity of the allegations.

Ms Cahill said she had been “retraumatised” by being required to confront Morris. She also named a number of Sinn Fein and IRA figures, including Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, who she said had focussed solely on placating her.

After ultimately taking the case to the PSNI, she withdrew the abuse allegations after a charge of IRA membership against Morris was dismissed. She told Spotlight reporters she had lost confidence in the North’s judicial system and claimed it was operating to protect mainstream republicans.


Sinn Fein has also denied her claims of mistreatment by the party, which it says are undermined by her continued work as a party activist for some years afterwards.

In several media interviews, party leader Gerry Adams this week repeatedly rejected claims that he “popped up all the time to silence her”.

Mr Adams said he was “personally horrified” over one remark attributed to him -- that victims of abuse can be manipulated into ‘enjoying’ it -- and strongly denied making the comments.

The Louth TD, who said he has contacted his solicitor about the BBC programme, confirmed he had met Ms Cahill but said her rape allegations were never directly discussed.

“She didn’t raise it and I never raised it. If I have it right we never discussed rape allegations. She was in some personal difficulty, presumably because of this rape allegation,” he said.

He met Ms Cahill “in order to help”.

“It wasn’t a big, lengthy meeting. Mairia has made other allegations. She said that I popped up all the time to silence her,” he said.

“Any republican who talked to Mairia from the Sinn Fein point of view all told her to go to her family, go to the social services, go to the police, report this.

“If this woman was raped, that was absolutely and totally wrong. If the IRA did deal with it in the way she said, that is totally and absolutely wrong.”

“Not withstanding the clear differences between us about what conversations we had, I am happy to meet with Mairia Cahill if she so wishes and if it is of any help to her.”

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