Gerry Adams will not resign over Maíria Cahill controversy

Sinn Féin president ‘does not know’ if Cahill forced by IRA to confront alleged attacker

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has said there is "no possibility" of him resigning as party leader over the Maíria Cahill controversy.

He said Ms Cahill had "put words into my mouth" and said he did not know when asked if he believed she had been forced to face her alleged rapist in a Republican-style court.

“There is no possibility of me resigning on this issue. I have a responsibility to those who elected me. I have a mandate. I have behaved at all times properly and with propriety and I will continue to do so,” he said.

Ms Cahill (33), claims she was raped by a suspected IRA member when she was a teenager in 1997.


Mr Adams said he believed Ms Cahill had been abused.

“But Maíria Cahill put words into my mouth that I never said and said things about me which are incorrect, and that’s been repeated and embellished and added to by others for party political advantage,” he said.

“These type of smears against me without any substance whatsoever or against the party of Sinn Féin, a proud party which makes mistakes of course we do and we’re not perfect, but any suggestion or innuendo or indeed assertion that I or the party which I’m very proud to be a part of was involved in any cover up whatsoever is entirely wrong.

Asked on RTÉ's Morning Ireland where the IRA had expelled alleged sex offenders to, he said he did not know.

He said he had acknowledged it was a mistake for the IRA to attempt to deal with alleged sex offenders.

IRA members had “good intentions” but were “ill-equipped” to deal with such matters.

Speaking on Newstalk this morning, deputy president of Sinn Fein Mary Lou Mc Donald said "I don't think it's accurate to say the IRA 'moved' people. What happened was a form of very rough justice, in circumstances where there were allegations of sexual violence or abuse, the IRA did on occasion shoot people, kneecap them and told them to leave."

When asked if she knew where alleged sex offenders were transferred to in the Republic, she said: “I can’t account where they went to.”

Ms McDonald said there was no culture of “collusion and cover up” in Sinn Fein.

“When these things happened - when these punishments were meted out there was no secrecy, the communities knew about it,” she said.

Mr Adams accused Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin of engaging in "theatrics" and setting aside due process.

If they had information about sex offenders in Louth, Donegal and Dublin they should approach the gardaí.

He said Sinn Féin has been arguing for some time for an all-Ireland sex offenders register.

Later, Mr Martin accused Mr Adams of being "in denial". The Fianna Fáil leader said Mr Adams should listen to Ms Cahill's story, and accept and acknowledge it.

Mr Martin said Mr Adams had “set the tone” for Sinn Féin’s reaction to the controversy. “He goes into victim mode.”

He said it was not good enough for Mr Adams to say alleged abusers were expelled from the north but he did not know their locations.

The alleged rape of Ms Cahill and the alleged subsequent IRA cover-up are to be reviewed by a top human rights lawyer.

Sir Keir Starmer, a former director of public prosecutions for England and Wales has been appointed to look again at all aspects of the prosecutions related to Ms Cahill's case.

Mary Minihan

Mary Minihan

Mary Minihan is Acting Features Editor of The Irish Times