Fianna Fáil calls for independent IRA abuse inquiry

Party’s chief whip says need to stop Sinn Féin ‘cover up’ following Paudie McGahon claims

Fianna Fáil has called for the Government to consider establishing an independent statutory inquiry into allegations of IRA sexual abuse to stop a "drip, drip of information" and the "cover up by Sinn Féin of these happenings".

The party’s chief whip Seán Ó Fearghaíl made the call as he referred to the BBC Spotlight programme in which Co Louth man Paudie McGahon said he had been raped by a member of, and subsequently threatened by, the IRA.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said that if a similar issue was to arise for any other party leader in the Dáil they would be expected to answer questions and find out who ordered the “kangaroo court”.

Mr Kenny said there was an obligation on Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams to clear up a lot of questions about this latest claim, which allegedly occurred in Mr Adams's constituency.


‘Safe houses’

Speaking in Irish, Mr Kenny said Mr Adams should speak out about “safe houses” and make a statement. Mr Adams has said “that is work for An Garda Síochána”.

Mr McGahon alleges he was abused in his family home, which was a republican safe house at the time.

Mr Kenny said that "if a member of any branch of Fine Gael around the country was exiled, I would find them in 10 minutes", referring to questions Mr Adams was asked in relation to Mr McGahon's case in an interview on RTÉ's Morning Ireland.

The Sinn Féin leader insisted there was no cover up. He told Mr Kenny that he had answered questions and that he was “absolutely certain there were also Fianna Fáil members and people from Fine Gael who went through the courts”.

Mr Ó Fearghaíl raised the issue during the Dáil’s order of business and said: “We all recall the appalling story that moved us all last year of Mairia Cahill and the moving debate that took place in this House.”

Mr Ó Fearghaíl said there had been stories of the “cover up by Sinn Féin of these happenings”. He said that the “kangaroo court” in this case took place in 2002, four years after the Good Friday Agreement was signed, and was “not ancient history”.

Mr Ó Fearghaíl said that in order “to stop a drip, drip of information would the Taoiseach and his Government consider establishing an independent statutory inquiry to look at these accusations of sexual and other abuse carried out by members of the IRA”.

‘Quite incredible’

Mr Kenny responded by saying he had listened to Mr Adams's interview on RTÉ and "found it quite incredible". He said that "the interviewer was actually bullied and told to read out particular issues on the national airwaves".

Mr Kenny said that if a similar issue were to be raised for the leader of Fianna Fáil, "or myself or for the leader of the Labour Party, we would be expected not only to ask the relevant questions but to find out who ordered the kangaroo court, who attended it and where they are now".

Mr Adams said he had answered questions and that the alleged sexual abuse of Paudie McGahon was “not done in my name, the name of Sinn Féin or in the name of republicans”.

The Sinn Féin leader reiterated his call that anyone with any information should report to An Garda Síochána or to the PSNI.

Mr Adams said that the Taoiseach did not give any answer to Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister Martin McGuinness on the establishment of an all-island scheme to support those who were sexually abused during the Troubles.

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran is Parliamentary Correspondent of The Irish Times