The Irish Times view on Máiría Cahill: Taking responsibility

It is to be hoped that lessons have been learned by the police and that victims of sexual abuse will be treated properly in future

 

Sinn Féin and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) have come badly out of the inquiry into allegations of rape made by Máiría Cahill. The police have at least made a proper apology and three officers have been disciplined for failing to act in the appropriate manner. The same cannot be said of Sinn Féin and its leader Mary Lou McDonald whose latest response to the episode has still failed to address the central points made by Cahill.

While McDonald has issued an unreserved apology for the way the allegations of rape were handled, and praised Cahill’s bravery, she sidestepped taking responsibility for the way the republican movement handled the issue for so long.

McDonald maintained that Sinn Féin now has robust procedures in place for mandatory reporting of abuse and expressed regret that such procedures were not in place at the time of Máiría Cahill’s initial complaint. What she failed to mention was that the republican movement did have a procedure to deal with such disclosures but it was a kangaroo court which operated outside the law.

Cahill has described the apology by the Sinn Féin leader as “woefully inadequate” as, she said, it failed to admit there was an IRA investigation followed by a Sinn Féin cover up. What made matters worse was that McDonald failed to address Sinn Féin attempts to discredit her over a long period. “They told everyone that I was a liar. Now, let’s hear them admit I told the truth,” said Cahill.

McDonald has been vociferous in her condemnation of the Catholic Church for its failure to deal properly with claims of abuse and its attempts to sweep them under the carpet. Those denunciations look particularly hollow in the light of the Sinn Féin leader’s continued refusal to come up with an adequate apology to Máiría Cahill for all that she has suffered over such a long period.

The inquiry by the Police Ombudsman also identified a number of failings by the PSNI in its handling of the complaint made by Cahill and two other women. It is to be hoped that the lessons have been learned by the police and that victims of sexual abuse will be treated properly in future.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.