Louth man claims he was raped by IRA member when he was 17

Alleged victim says IRA brought its own psychiatrist to a “kangaroo court” and also offered to put a “bullet in the back of head” of alleged abuser

An alleged victim of rape by an IRA member said republicans who had questioned him about his claim offered to put a bullet in the back of the head of the alleged abuser.

Paudie McGahon (40) from Co Louth said that he was raped by an IRA man from a well-known republican family in the early 1990s when he was aged 17. The alleged rape happened in his family home which, he said, was frequently used by IRA members as a safe house.

Mr McGahon said that at one of the meetings with the IRA about the sexual abuse, the IRA brought along a psychiatrist to hear his testimony and to offer him counselling if he wanted it.

He said if he wanted psychiatric assistance he would go to his own privately, “not theirs”.


Mr McGahon made his allegations on last night's BBC Spotlight programme. He said he "got the strength to stand up and be counted" after hearing Maíria Cahill claiming on the same programme that she was raped by an IRA man when she was 16.

The alleged rapist, understood to be the son of a well- known IRA figure shot dead by loyalist paramilitaries during the Troubles, warned him to remain silent.

“He says ‘listen to me, if you ever open your mouth about this to anybody you’ll be found on the Border roads’,” Mr McGahon said.

“Many’s a person asks me ‘why didn’t you go to a doctor? Why didn’t you go to this?’

“This isn’t stuff that you walk into a doctor and say, ‘your man raped me last night’,” he added.

He also felt he could not contact the Garda. “How can you report it to the guards, when you have been threatened to keep your mouth shut? So I hid it all, I hid it all.”


Mr McGahon said that in 2002, he decided to break his silence and that a local Sinn Féin representative was informed of his claims.

He said he then was subjected to an IRA “kangaroo court” in his home which was also attended by another alleged victim of the IRA man.

Mr McGahon said that at a second meeting with the IRA, they were told their alleged abuser had admitted abusing them and others as well. They were told he had been detained by republicans.

This was the meeting attended by the “IRA psychiatrist”, said Mr McGahon.

Mr McGahon said one of the IRA men told him: “We have him in custody. We have other comrades standing over him at the minute. He is in custody and he is not going anywhere until we have dealt with him.

“But by the way,” he was further told, “he has admitted to doing what he did, plus other people.”


Mr McGahon claimed “options” were put to him about what would happen to the alleged abuser. “The first one was for them to deal with it – put a bullet in the back of his head,” said Mr McGahon. “It was said with such ease you knew that it wouldn’t be a problem.”

The second option was their going into the room with the abuser and deciding for themselves what they wanted to do – “basically kill him if you want to kill him”, he said.

The third option was to expel him out of Ireland. Mr McGahon said options one and two could have ended in the alleged abuser's murder so they went for "getting him out of the country".

Mr McGahon identified one of the IRA members interviewing him as former senior IRA figure Pádraic Wilson, one of the men who allegedly also questioned Ms Cahill about her claims.

Mr Wilson, through his solicitors Madden and Finucane, said he had never met Mr McGahon.

“I do not know nor have I ever met Mr McGahon. I have had no dealings whatsoever with the man he alleges raped him. As a victim of alleged abuse, Mr McGahon has every right to have his allegations pursued through due process, but I refute entirely the allegations that he has made against me. They are completely baseless and untrue.”

Mr McGahon also claimed that in 2008 and 2009, he also spoke about the matter to the former Sinn Féin TD Arthur Morgan.

He said that at that time Mr Morgan informed him the alleged abuser’s period of exile was over and that he was back in Ireland, living about 10 miles from him (Mr McGahon).

A Sinn Féin spokesman said yesterday evening that Mr Morgan would not be commenting until after they had seen last night’s broadcast.

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty is the former Northern editor of The Irish Times