Taoiseach Enda Kenny has written to Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams saying he is willing to meet the four IRA members who conducted the “investigation” into the allegation of rape made by Maíria Cahill.
Ms Cahill has claimed she was raped in Belfast by an IRA man in 1997 when she was aged 16 and a subsequent IRA investigation of her allegations included sustained “interrogation” and a meeting at which she had to confront her alleged rapist. She later held a number of meetings with Mr Adams.
Mr Kenny’s letter was dispatched last night in response to a letter to him from Mr Adams following a tense clash in the Dáil last week over Ms Cahill’s allegations.
In his reply, the Taoiseach said in order for the meeting to take place the names of the four people involved in the IRA “investigation” needed to be forwarded to him.
A Government spokesman emphasised the Taoiseach's letter specified his willingness to meet the four people named in the BBC Spotlight programme about Ms Cahill's ordeal and not anybody else.
The spokesman said there had been attempts by Sinn Féin to “muddy the waters” about who might meet the Taoiseach but it was clear from the Dáil record that the invitation applied only to the people involved in the investigation.
During exchanges in the Dáil last week following the Taoiseach’s meeting with Ms Cahill, Mr Adams challenged Mr Kenny to meet the four people named by her as having conducted a “kangaroo court”.
“Will you now facilitate a meeting with those she accuses?” said Mr Adams who added. “These are named people.”
He rejected the allegations made about him and the others whom, he said, had assured him that “all they did, in their engagements, conversations and their work with Maíria Cahill, was to help her”.
No names were mentioned in the Dáil but later that evening a solicitor representing the four people named in the Spotlight programme complained of "trial by media".
Peter Madden of Belfast solicitors Madden and Finucane said the fallout from the programme about Ms Cahill has resulted in his clients’ acquittals in court being “either ignored or devalued”.
Mr Madden represents former IRA prisoner Padraic Wilson, Séamus Finucane – brother of murdered Belfast solicitor, Pat Finucane – Briege Wright and Maura McCrory.
In May this year in a Belfast court they had charges against them of arranging Provisional IRA meetings dropped. Ms Cahill alleged they participated in the internal IRA investigation into her allegations of rape by IRA man, Martin Morris.
In a statement last night Mr Adams said he had written to the Taoiseach last week to set up a meeting and two Sinn Féin members named in the Spotlight programme had also written seeking meetings with Mr Kenny. While the letters had been acknowledged, the Taoiseach had yet to confirm a meeting with any of them.