Kenny in angry exchanges with Adams in Dáil after Cahill talks

Taoiseach ‘honoured’ to meet ‘courageous’ Maíria Cahill

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has today described Maíria Cahill as "a courageous, confident, brave young woman who is a force to be reckoned with" after a one-and-a-half-hour meeting in Government Buildings.

He told the Dáil he had the “privilege” of meeting Ms Cahill. “She overcame the horror of being raped, to face down the IRA and its generals, secret or otherwise,” he added.

“Everybody in this House knows the horror of rape; it is not just a violation, it is about control and about power.”

Mr Kenny agreed to a request from Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin to a Dáil debate on the issue.


Mr Martin said the story relating to the IRA interrogation of Ms Cahill would shake any person who heard it.

Ms Cahill alleges she was raped by an IRA member and brought before a republican-style court.

During heated exchanges with Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, who again denied a party cover-up on the issue, the Taoiseach said he would meet those against whom allegations had been made.

Mr Kenny challenged Mr Adams to confirm if he knew, as president of Sinn Féin, whether Ms Cahill was required to attend in a room with three men and her abuser, all members of the IRA, and that a second meeting took place some months later.

In the intervening period, she was not allowed to go to the PSNI.

He also asked Mr Adams if he was aware of people being moved to the Republic, having been involved in sexual abuse in the North. “I think the story Maíria Cahill has to tell is not just powerful, it will have serious consequences,” he added.

Mr Adams said Mr Kenny had met Ms Cahill and listened to her allegations. “Will you now facilitate a meeting with those she accuses?” he added. “These are named people.”

He said Mr Kenny should bring them in and ask the questions he was asserting as fact. “I refute the allegations that have been made about me and about Sinn Féin members who assure me that all they did, in their engagements, conversations and their work with Maria Cahill, was to help her,” he added.

After some further angry exchanges, Mr Kenny said he would meet the people referred to by Mr Adams. “I won’t stand in judgement of them; I will ask them the questions that you won’t answer,” the Taoiseach added.

Michael O'Regan

Michael O'Regan

Michael O’Regan is a former parliamentary correspondent of The Irish Times