Cameron urged to help set up inquiry into IRA rape claims

Maíria Cahill accuses Sinn Féin of ‘still not admitting covering up cases of abuse’

East Derry DUP MP Gregory Campbell said:  “I believe the prime minister should work to establish a cross-Border inquiry which could focus on the horrific crimes suffered by victims and the way in which cases were covered up by republicans.”  File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

East Derry DUP MP Gregory Campbell said: “I believe the prime minister should work to establish a cross-Border inquiry which could focus on the horrific crimes suffered by victims and the way in which cases were covered up by republicans.” File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

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The DUP has urged British prime minister David Cameron to assist in establishing a cross-Border inquiry into allegations of sex abuse by former members of the IRA.

East Derry MP Gregory Campbell made his call following the latest allegations that an IRA man from a well-known Belfast family sexually abused Louth man Paudie McGahon when he was 17.

Sinn Féin leaders Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness on Tuesday called for the creation of an all-Ireland “sex abuse initiative” to address the issue of such abuse across the island.

Mr Campbell asked Mr Cameron to get involved. “The spotlight has once again been shone on the sexual abuse carried out by members of the IRA and the kangaroo courts that organisation then held against the alleged abusers,” he said.

“This abuse clearly took place on both sides of the Border, so I believe the prime minister should work to establish a cross-Border inquiry which could focus on the horrific crimes suffered by victims and the way in which cases were covered up by republicans.”

He said victims who “have stepped forward have demonstrated incredible courage and they will hopefully demonstrate to other victims that their story will be believed”.

Mr McGahon said it was the previous testimony of Maíria Cahill on the BBC Spotlight programme about being allegedly raped by an IRA man when she was 16 that prompted him to tell his story on Spotlight.

Ms Cahill praised Mr McGahon and added: “Sinn Féin are still not admitting covering up cases of abuse and until they do that they are not making any full reparation or taking responsibility for the issue. They need to put a stop to other victims being completely re-traumatised every time something like this comes up.”

Tweet

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin Mid-Ulster MP Francie Molloy apologised to Mr McGahon and other victims of alleged abuse for a tweet he posted on Tuesday.

He had tweeted: “Another load of rubbish on spotlight tonight. Joint Indo bluesh [sic].. production”

Following a barrage of criticism, Mr Molloy apologised “for any offence” his post caused to Mr McGahon or any victim of abuse. His tweet was also removed.

“I hope that justice is served and the appropriate support delivered to Mr McGahon. Sinn Féin’s priority is to support victims of abuse, whether that abuse is historical or contemporary, and we will support victims in their efforts to get truth and justice,” he said.

“There is a currently a Garda investigation into these allegations. These matters are best dealt with in the justice system rather than trial by television and it is my hope that justice will be done.”

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