Claims Sinn Féin investigated abuse ‘scurrilous’, Doherty says

Fine Gael TD says senior SF figures conducted a series of internal inquiries in 2006

Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty (left) says the party will be taking legal advice in relation to the accusations that Fine Gael TD Regina Doherty (right) has made about its handling of sexual abuse claims. Photographs: The Irish Times.

Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty (left) says the party will be taking legal advice in relation to the accusations that Fine Gael TD Regina Doherty (right) has made about its handling of sexual abuse claims. Photographs: The Irish Times.

 

Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty has said allegations that the party conducted internal investigations into over 40 incidents of abuse by its members are “scurrilous” and without foundation.

The Donegal deputy was responding to claims made by Fine Gael’s Regina Doherty, who said four senior figures in Sinn Féin had instigated inquiries into physical and sexual abuse cases involving party members who were in the IRA during a series of “kangaroo court” sittings in 2006.

Ms Doherty also contends that party leader Gerry Adams played an integral role in the investigations, which she says were deliberately hidden from public view and did not involve any input or consultation from policing forces north and south of the border.

“We as a party will be taking legal advice in relation to the accusations that you (Regina Doherty) are making because they are without truth, and they are impugning the reputation of members of our party, and they are scurrilous,” Mr Doherty said.

The rival politicians were speaking on RTÉ radio following a BBC Spotlight documentary aired earlier this week in which Louth man Paudie McGahon alleged he was raped by an IRA member as a 17 year-old in 1992.

Meath East TD Ms Doherty has previously been outspoken on the issue of IRA sex abuse allegations, and provided gardaí with a file last November that she said contained the names of suspected sex abusers who had been moved to the Republic from Northern Ireland over recent decades.

“It is not credible for the senior people in Sinn Féin and the IRA who conducted the investigations and who brought together the kangaroo courts, for them now to go silent and say that it’s not Sinn Féin’s responsibility to investigate such things.

“We are aware that people in Sinn Féin have information, so let them have the courage of the words and the convictions that they’re saying and let it out,” said Ms Doherty, who refused to disclose the names of the four individuals mentioned as such a move would constitute “political point-scoring”.

Mr Doherty maintained that no cover-up had been attempted by Sinn Féin, and said any relevant information known to party members had been passed on to the relevant authorities already.

“If we were trying to cover up abuse, if there was any reminiscences of that being true, then why would one of our TDs suggest that the victim in this case goes to the gardaí and informs of the alleged abuser?” he said.