McDonald: allegations of abuse cover up are ‘completely wrong’

Maíria Cahill accuses Sinn Féin of making threats in attempt to get her ‘to go away’

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald has said allegations that members of her party have covered up child abuse are "completely wrong".

Maíria Cahill, grand niece of former IRA leader Joe Cahill, told the BBC Spotlight programme this week she was raped by a leading republican in 1997 and was later subjected to an interrogation by the IRA about the case.

She claimed the IRA was more intent on protecting its reputation than bringing the perpetrator to justice and said Sinn Féin was also unwilling to cooperate with the police on the matter.

Ms McDonald told RTÉ radio this afternoon she didn’t accept the assertion that Sinn Féin has information on a cover up of child abuse.


“That’s a most serious allegation. It’s also completely wrong,” she said.

During the broadcast, Ms Cahill used Twitter to accuse Sinn Féin of verbally attacking and threatening her in an attempt to “get me to go away”.

“Imagine a woman being used by a political party to verbally attack a victim of sexual abuse publicly,” she tweeted this afternoon.

“This is an attempt by Sinn Féin to try and get me to go away. It is a threat.”

Ms McDonald claimed Ms Cahill had earlier expressed a wish to meet her but had since decided. “She doesn’t want to meet with anyone from Sinn Féin.”

Ms Cahill denied this was the case on Twitter. “I have not said I won’t meet with Sinn Féin,” she said. “At no stage did I say I wouldn’t meet [Ms McDonald].”

A meeting between Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Ms Cahill is currently being arranged.

Ms Cahill is due to meet Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson on Monday.

Dan Griffin

Dan Griffin

Dan Griffin is an Irish Times journalist