Oireachtas Justice Committee may call in Cahill and Adams

Tense exchanges over claims take place between Enda Kenny and Gerry Adams in Dáil

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams: “There’s been no cover-up by me or Sinn Féin on this matter.” Photograph: Alan Betson

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams: “There’s been no cover-up by me or Sinn Féin on this matter.” Photograph: Alan Betson

 

The Oireachtas Justice Committee may move to invite alleged rape victim Maíria Cahill and others including Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams in to inquire into the manner in which the party and the IRA handled allegations of sexual abuse in the nationalist community.

On the eve of Ms Cahill’s meeting with Taoiseach Enda Kenny at Government Buildings this morning, there were very tense exchanges in the Dáil between Mr Adams on the one hand and Mr Kenny and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin on the other.

They centre on the allegations made by Belfast-based Ms Cahill that she was raped by a senior IRA figure and that the crime was subsequently covered up by Sinn Féin.

Sharp exchanges

While such an inquiry would be voluntary with no powers of compellability, the idea has got strong backing from Fianna Fáil. Party leader Micheál Martin said last night the party had written to the committee requesting such an inquiry.

Committee chairman David Stanton and his colleagues are expected to discuss the issue in the coming days.

In the Dáil, Mr Kenny said the committee should deal with the issue and ask relevant people to attend before it and he would contact Mr Stanton.

Strong criticism

But he then made strong criticism of the Taoiseach and Mr Martin, contending that neither had bothered to contact him or ask for his response to Ms Cahill’s allegations. He also said that both had made grievous allegations against him.

“There’s been no cover-up by me or Sinn Féin on this matter,” he said.

Mr Martin responded that he did not believe Mr Adams.

“I do not accept that. I think there has been a cover-up and I make that charge before the House,” he said.

Mr Kenny, who is to meet Ms Cahill today, said: “The false assumption of a war being waged doesn’t justify shootings or disappearances or kangaroo courts”.