Maíria Cahill to meet Taoiseach tomorrow morning

Cahill willing to meet Sinn Féin, but only if meeting recorded

Maíria Cahill arrives for her meeting with Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson at Stormont yesterday. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Maíria Cahill arrives for her meeting with Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson at Stormont yesterday. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

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Maíria Cahill has said she will meet Taoiseach Enda Kenny tomorrow morning at 10am to discuss her allegations that she and other women were victims of sexual assault at the hands of IRA members.

Ms Cahill has described as “extremely positive” a meeting she held yesterday with the North’s First Minister, Peter Robinson, to discuss the issue. Ms Cahill also said that she was prepared to meet Sinn Féin to discuss her allegations but would only do so if the encounter was independently recorded, because she did not trust the party.

“I am glad that help is finally going to be in place and that there is recognition for hidden victims of the conflict that there hasn’t been before,” said Ms Cahill after meeting Mr Robinson at Parliament Buildings in Stormont yesterday.

Ms Cahill repeated her claim that many other women also suffered alleged sexual assaults by IRA members and that more of them were coming forward privately to her.

“There are damaged people out there. I again want to give the message to them that if they do need help or support in terms of being able to report this issue to any of the authorities, I certainly will offer that,” she said. “The onus should not be on me to be providing that assurance to victims to come forward. It needs to come directly from Sinn Féin and they need to admit the issue.”

Ms Cahill said victims had been contacting her in “absolute turmoil”. They must be listened to and believed, “but more importantly they need help”.

“I don’t see that support coming from Sinn Féin at the minute and I think Martin McGuinness, in particular, in the North, and someone other than Gerry Adams in the South needs to be making the same offer [of support] available.”

She was prepared to meet Sinn Féin, but only if that meeting was independently recorded. “I don’t trust them and that’s as honest as I can be,” she said.

A grandniece of leading IRA figure Joe Cahill, she has alleged she was raped by an IRA member and had to face her alleged assailant in a republican-style court.

She has alleged that at a meeting with Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams about her allegations, he said: “Well you know, Maíria, abusers can be extremely manipulative. And you know . . . sometimes they are that manipulative that the people who have been abused actually enjoy it.”

Mr Adams has said he was “personally horrified” over the remarks attributed to him and strongly denied making the comments.

DUP leader Mr Robinson said no one could fail to be moved by what had happened to Ms Cahill. “She has not only suffered sexual abuse but was then repeatedly interrogated by the PIRA, almost treated as a criminal rather than an innocent victim,” he said. “It is incredibly courageous for someone in Maíria’s position to step forward so publicly.”

He added: “I want to create the circumstances where no one feels afraid to come forward and speak about the wrongs that have been committed towards them. Just as we have facilitated investigations into other abuses in this country, so too must victims such as Maíria be given the proper support to have their crimes fully investigated.”

The Sinn Féin Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said the “recent publicity surrounding the case of Maíria Cahill has again highlighted the issue of sexual abuse within Irish society”. He urged “anyone who has any information whatsoever about abuse to bring it forward, so that cases can be properly investigated and victims properly supported”.

 

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