Adams under mounting pressure over McGahon rape claims

SF chief’s defence of his and party’s handling of case meets with chorus of political censure

Paudie McGahon (above) and the other complainant said they were aged 14 and 17 at the time of the alleged rapes and have named the same man. Photograph: BBC

Paudie McGahon (above) and the other complainant said they were aged 14 and 17 at the time of the alleged rapes and have named the same man. Photograph: BBC

 

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams is facing mounting pressure from other political leaders to clarify his party’s response to rape allegations made to it by Louth man Paudie McGahon against an IRA man.

Mr Adams on Wednesday confirmed he has been aware of the case since 2009, when the party’s then TD for Louth Arthur Morgan informed him about it.

Mr Adams said he did not go to the Garda Síochána in 2009 with information because he did not have the detail of the case. He maintained it was not the responsibility of Sinn Féin to investigate historical-abuse cases. He also said it was Mr Morgan who was dealing with the specifics.

But Mr Adams’s defence of his and Sinn Féin’s handling of the case met with a chorus of criticism from other parties.

Taoiseach 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 Féin and the IRA”.

He said Mr Adams had not dealt with the issues and clarity was required. “We can’t have a situation where known paedophiles were moved around the country for political reasons,” he said.

Tánaiste Joan Burton said Sinn Féin and republicans had to answer questions about whether or not the alleged rapist was taken out of the country, and whether he was back living in the jurisdiction. “Does he have access to children and young people?” she asked.

‘Multiple sex abuser

Fianna FáilNiall Collins

Mr Morgan has made public a letter he wrote to Mr McGahon in 2009 calling on him to contact the Garda. He also confirmed last night that Mr McGahon told him about the republican inquiry in 2002, but had not used terms such as kangaroo court or court martial.

At issue is whether Mr Adams was made aware of that inquiry.

Garda sources said Mr McGahon had made a complaint last year. It, along with a second complaint from another victim, is being investigated, they added.

Mr McGahon and the other complainant said they were aged 14 and 17 at the time of the alleged rapes and have named the same man. From north Belfast, the alleged rapist’s 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. While he spent time in the Republic, he is believed to have left Ireland and has spent time in Britain.