Kenny tells SF leaders to address sexual abuse by IRA members

Martin criticises republican ‘con job’ in light of BBC investigation into claims

Gerry Adams: “Paudie feels badly let down. Nothing I may say may change that, but I have to say that it is a matter of very, very deep regret for me and he does need support and he does need justice.” Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill.

Gerry Adams: “Paudie feels badly let down. Nothing I may say may change that, but I have to say that it is a matter of very, very deep regret for me and he does need support and he does need justice.” Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill.

 

has called on Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams and the North’s Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, to issue a clear statement to members of the Provisional IRA about incidents of sexual abuse by its members.

Mr Kenny was responding to Mr Adams’s claim that he had not responded in any substantial way to three letters from Mr McGuinness since November asking him to establish an all-island process for all victims of sexual abuse during the Troubles.

Insisting he had responded to Mr McGuinness, the Taoiseach told the Dáil: “I’m prepared to work with the executive and the Deputy First Minister and the North-South Council”, but that it was not simple to set up a system with two different legal systems in operation.

He then told Mr Adams that he was the leader and president of his party and Mr McGuinness was an admitted former member of the IRA. Mr Kenny said they “could issue very straight statements to the followers of your party or people who you knew were members of the Provisional IRA and clear up matters once and for all”.

Culpability

“The McGuinness formula is a ‘con job’ in many respects,” he said.

He raised the matter in advance of a BBC Spotlight programme, broadcast last night, in which Paudie McGahon, of Co Louth, alleged that he had been sexually abused by a senior IRA member in the early 1990s.

When he approached a senior Sinn Féin public representative, Mr McGahon said, he was brought before a “kangaroo court” where an offer was made to kill the abuser or exile him to Britain. He alleged he was also warned that if he went to the authorities he would be killed.

Mr Adams told the Dáil: “Paudie feels badly let down. Nothing I may say may change that, but I have to say that it is a matter of very, very deep regret for me and he does need support and he does need justice.

“I am assured, contrary to what the Fianna Fáil leader has said, that when this case was brought to the attention of local representatives, that the victim of the alleged abuse was advised in person and in writing to go to An Garda Síochána.”

Mr Adams also said that if republicans sexually abused, “they didn’t do that in our name. They didn’t do that in the names of the people who suffered for the republican cause over a very long time.”

Mr Martin, who accused Mr Adams of being a former chief of staff of the IRA, said that in Mr McGahon’s case it was “not the usual divide between military and civil here. They both acted in concord,” he said of Sinn Féin and the IRA.

Mr Martin also said that those who wished to “speak out should be allowed to do so without any attempt to undermine them”. He said there had been a vicious online campaign ever since Maíría Cahill also made allegations of sexual abuse by a senior IRA member.

Mr Martin asked the Sinn Féin leader “will he please call off the dogs of war”.