Irish Republican News · March 14, 2015
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
New abuse case fuels anti-SF media campaign


The emergence of a second historical case in which a teenager was allegedly abused by an IRA member has reignited a controversy begun six months ago over Sinn Fein’s handling of such matters.

The allegations of Louth man Paudie McGahon, which featured in a dramatised BBC Spotlight documentary this week, revolve around a single act of abuse in 1992, when he was 17 years of age. The abuse took place at his family home, which had served as an IRA safe house.

The Spotlight investigation reported that ten years later, after a chance encounter with another victim of the same IRA man, the two men, now both adults, contacted Sinn Fein and subsequently agreed to take part in an IRA investigation. Offered three options for the alleged perpetrator’s punishment, he and the other victim requested his exile. The man was then immediately ordered by the IRA to leave the country, and that order was complied with.

In 2009, Mr McGahon again contacted Sinn Fein in his area asking for help regarding the abuse, and was urged to report the matter to the Gardai. He did so before the making of the BBC documentary earlier this year.

The focus of the documentary was Sinn Fein’s involvement in the process by which Mr McGahon’s allegations led to an IRA court-martial, rather than an investigation by the 26-County Garda police. Sinn Fein figures in County Louth, including party leader Gerry Adams who now represents the constituency, have all been accused of “covering up” the historical abuse.

As in the case of the previous abuse controversy involving Mairia Cahill, the mainstream media and political establishment made every effort to target Mr Adams and place him at the centre of allegations.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said if such an incident had happened in any other party, he as leader “would know exactly who had organised the kangaroo court and known where the man at the centre of issue is and whether or not he was a member of Sinn Fein and the IRA”.

He claimed paedophiles had been “moved around the country for political reasons”.

The determination of the mainstream media to damage Sinn Fein in the run up to a 26 County general elections is unusually stark. Irish Times political editor Stephen Collins wrote this weekend of the “real danger” and “dark shadow” that the possible election of Sinn Fein was “casting over Irish democracy”.

In response to the latest allegations, Mr Adams said that Sinn Fein’s priority was to support victims of abuse, whether that abuse is historical or contemporary. He that the party will support victims in their efforts to get truth and justice.

“Sinn Fein has rigorous child protection guidelines. At all times the Sinn Fein representatives seek to support the victims of alleged abuse,” he said.

“We believe that all victims of abuse should be supported to access the justice system and social services and that the most appropriate bodies to deal with these allegations are the Gardai and social services.

“I have previously acknowledged that the actions of republicans in the past in dealing with allegations of sexual abuse were inadequate and inappropriate.”

He noted that there was currently a Garda investigation into these allegations.

“Paudie McGahon clearly feels badly let down. Nothing that I may say will change this but it is a matter of deep regret to me.

“I hope that justice is served and support delivered to Mr McGahon.”

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