IRA rape ‘revelations’ widely reported by media last year

Suspect for alleged rape of Paudie McGahon believed to be in hiding in Britain

Paudie McGahon: Said the prospect of having a murder on his conscience led him to opt for “option three”, the expulsion of his alleged abuser. Photograph: BBC

Paudie McGahon: Said the prospect of having a murder on his conscience led him to opt for “option three”, the expulsion of his alleged abuser. Photograph: BBC

 

Allegations by Co Louth man Paudie McGahon that he was raped by a member of the IRA as a teenager, and then threatened he would be murdered if told anybody, were widely reported by the media last year.

Mr McGahon was not named in the reports at the time and, while they were carried in a large number of media outlets, they were overshadowed by similar allegations made by Belfast woman Maria Cahill.

Some of the media outlets that reported the claims as “new” or “fresh” in the past 48 hours described them in the same terms last year.

Sinn Féin has been under extreme pressure since Tuesday over the Republican movement’s handling of the allegations.

Specifically, it has faced criticisms that Republicans convened an internal inquiry during which Mr McGahon, who was aged 17 years at the time of the alleged attack in the early 1990s, was interviewed by a group of people.

He has said an offer to murder the alleged rapist was made at the conclusion of the 2002 inquiry. It was convened after he relayed details of the attack for the first time to members of the Republican movement.

Media reports in recent days have suggested the BBC’s Spotlight programme on Tuesday put new revelations into the public domain and plunged Sinn Féin into further crisis just months after Ms Cahill spoke out about being raped by an IRA member when aged 16 years.

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While the allegations are not new, Spotlight’s interview of Mr McGahon represented the first time he was named and identified.

Mr McGahon has provided the Garda with the name of the man he alleges raped him.

From north Belfast, the suspect is a former IRA member and his father was a well-known former IRA prisoner murdered by loyalists at the height of the Troubles.

He was expelled from the North after the 2002 internal IRA inquiry and, while he spent time in the Republic, he is now believed to have left the island of Ireland and is hiding in Britain.

Security sources said the fact he was abroad would complicate the criminal inquiry now underway.

Garda Headquarters at Phoenix Park, Dublin, said it could not comment on specific allegations, but that any statement of complaint alleging criminal behaviour would be thoroughly investigated.

Unofficial Garda sources said Mr McGahon had made a complaint last December. It, along with a second complaint from another victim, was being investigated.

Formal statements of complaint were made to the Garda in Louth last December and a criminal investigation commenced.

On the completion of the investigation a file will be prepared for the DPP, whose office will determine if there was sufficient evidence on which to ground a prosecution.

The passage of more than two decades since the rape alleged by Mr McGahon means any physical or forensic evidence would be impossible to gather.

However, the State has successfully prosecuted suspects for historical sex crimes based on the testimony of victims.

If the DPP recommends criminal charges against the suspect named by Mr McGahon, the suspect could be extradited to the Republic.

However, he cannot be extradited just to be questioned.