Gerry Adams alleges Coalition smear campaign over Cahill

Sinn Féin leader rails against Government motivated by zeal to distract from problems

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams: “What worse smear can you put on anybody than they were part of a cover-up of rape?” Photograph: Dara MacDónaill/The Irish Times.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams: “What worse smear can you put on anybody than they were part of a cover-up of rape?” Photograph: Dara MacDónaill/The Irish Times.

 

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has accused Government figures of attempting to smear him with “insulting remarks” about the controversy involving Maíria Cahill.

Ms Cahill, from Belfast, alleges she was raped as a teenager by a suspected IRA member in 1997 and then interrogated by the IRA about the matter.

Mr Adams claimed the Coalition politicians were motivated by their “zeal” to distract attention from the Government’s problems.

“What worse smear can you put on anybody than they were part of a cover-up of rape? I can think of little other insulting remarks as loaded as that one, so I reject that absolutely and totally,” he said.

The Sinn Féin leader said he had “huge sympathy” for victims and survivors of abuse.

“I have no case against Maíria Cahill coming out and railing against the injustice that was inflicted upon her. I have worked with victims of injustice all my life including those at different times who were actually killed by the IRA.”

However, he said he had to defend himself.

“When words are put into my mouth . . . and when things are said about me by the Taoiseach and the leader of Fianna Fáil and others . . . They just (show) . . . their zeal to distract attention away from the Government’s mishandling of so many issues and to smear.”

Mr Adams insisted no cover-up had taken place. He reiterated his call for an all-Ireland sex offenders list.

He said Ms Cahill had not been in touch with him personally but had told Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary-Lou McDonald she did not want a meeting with the party.