Briege Of Trust

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A02P601-13 The Irish News January 18 2010

Martin Óg Meehan, son of the late Martin Meehan wrote last year about his belief of a cover-up of sexual abuse within Sinn Féin.

Briege McLaughlin was elected as a Sinn Féin councillor in Newtownabbey in 2001 and was formerly married to Martin Meehan senior. She admitted child cruelty and assault in Belfast Crown Court last year and received a suspended sentence. After her guilty plea, the seven sexual abuse charges she faced were “left on the books” and not proceeded with.

Eighteen months after the tragic death of our mother, the Meehan family threshold was crossed by our Dad’s new girlfriend, Mrs. Briege McLaughlin. She was already expecting Dad’s baby at the time. The arrival of this woman, left my siblings and I quite bemused and confused. However, my brother, sister and I agreed to make her welcome because our father deserved happiness after the untimely demise of our mother.

To the best of my knowledge, Briege couldn’t have been nicer between February and July, 1979 in our terraced Ardoyne home. We were at school most of the time and hardly had much contact with Briege, as kids we also went to bed at nights pretty early.

Almost immediately after our Dad’s arrest and incarceration in Crumlin Road Gaol, Briege began a depraved campaign of abuse against my sister Mary. The details of which are too harrowing for me to write about, as they cause me and my family so much pain. Although, they have been widely reported in the Irish media in recent days, after Briege finally admitted her guilt to a Belfast Court on Wednesday June 4, 2013.

Thirty-three years after they occurred in Northwick Drive, Mary sought medical, Social Services and school reports from the years, 1979 and 1980 concerning her after our Dad died suddenly in November, 2007. She never wanted to hurt him regarding Briege’s crimes against her and she respectfully waited until he left this world, before initiating her struggle to get justice from Briege. As everyone now knows, he was in a British Gaol at the time and Briege’s twisted crimes have absolutely no bearing nor reflection upon his memory. Kevin, Mary and I do not blame our Dad, one iota for what happened back then. He could not have possibly known his then girlfriend was a child abuser.

Briege McLaughlin (née Hogg) not only ‘fooled’ our father, she also duped her two children, the majority of Provisional Sinn Féin activists and the wider community that she was a ‘normal’ person, mother, wife and Republican. We knew the truth but didn’t inform anyone of the true nature behind her unprovoked assaults, mental torture and drunken outbursts upon our sister in our home. We know for a fact that senior members of Sinn Féin and the IRA within North Belfast covered up Briege’s campaign of terror. Over a hundred brave Ardoyne women protested outside our home about what she had subjected Mary to after she was taken and placed in a safe environment away from Briege. Sinn Féin knew many of the facts behind the protest and yet not only permitted her to join the fledgling party but gave her senior roles in it’s Comhairle Ceanntar (District Executive) in the early Eighties. They also selected her to stand in successive elections as a party candidate in Newtownabbey in 2001 and 2005. She was not suspended until I (myself) notified them that Mary had a mountain of evidence against one of its councillors. She eventually resigned from Sinn Féin in 2010.

The RUC and Social Services were also culpable in allowing Briege to viciously brutalise Mary. As we have written reports of meetings held to discuss my sister’s abuse between both agencies. However, both organisations failed her and it took a full eight months after the initial reports were made by neighbours from Northwick Drive. We, the Court, Public Prosecution Service (PPS), PSNI and a number of Belfast journalists have the names and positions of the ‘Professionals’ who utterly failed ten year-old, Mary as with Sinn Fein’s knowledge about my sister’s horrific beatings at the hands of Briege McLaughlin. Likewise, we also have in our position the names of current and former Sinn Féin members, who instead of making Briege accountable for her criminal mistreatment and cruelty of our sister, fooled the party leadership into believing that Mary’s allegations, were the claims of a disturbed woman. They also fully backed Briege’s rise within Sinn Féin that culminated in her being elected as a party representative on Newtownabbey Council in 2001. Even though, she was never an Irish Republican in the first place.

The Meehan family demand a full and public apology to Mary from Social Services, PSNI and Sinn Féin. Even though, I personally notified the party in 2008 about Mary’s willingness to have Briege charged due to the mountain of evidence in our Mary’s possession.

Without public apologies from the above organisations, my sister will not be able to fully receive justice, nor rebuild her life and that of her four children who also suffered horrible side-effects of Briege’s reign of terror on their loving mother. Mary is not only a victim of a cruel abuser, she is also the daughter of the late Martin Meehan, a Republican who’s selfless sacrifice in pursuit of an Ireland free from foreign occupation.

Briege ‘Meehan’: Guilty without Remorse nor Apology (Ardoyne Republican)

Mary’s agony as her stepmother Briege Meehan avoids jail (Michael Donnelly, Belfast Telegraph July 2013)

Earlier: Meanwhile, At Stormont

Police, Judge And Executioner

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32 thoughts on “Briege Of Trust

    1. linbinius

      Wouldn’t be sure of that IMO. It’s a long way off and any leverage that is gained from this will be well worn off by then. Don’t think it will really impact the support Sinn Fein has gotten in the last few. This will be a distant memory by Christmas for many.

      Sinn Fein are going to be a serious factor in the next election. Had to type that just so i can take it in…Jaysus.

  1. ScareySarahCarey

    SF challenging the Catholic Church in terms of number 1 child abuse facilitating organisation in Ireland.

    I wonder how many people are still too afraid to say anything about the misdeeds of Sinn Fein figures.

  2. Goosey Lucy

    I’m not sure if I read this correctly- many women protested outside their house until the child was removed to a safe environment?
    If that is the case, then their father ( in prison or not) would have known of this.
    I understand the family’s need and desire to distance their father from the abuse, however, while he may not have been culpable , it seems very likely that he was aware that it had happened.
    I consider those that are aware and do nothing to be culpable also, especially when children are involved.
    Again, I may have read it incorrectly- but that’s the sense I got

    1. bob

      Yeah, I couldn’t make sense of that either. SF knew all along… but no one knew till she came forward in 2007?

      It seems to be honest to me. It could just be that it’s so badly written.

  3. Fruitbat

    Child abuse and rape are abhorrent, as is all abuse and violence, however I find it interesting that all of this stuff has come out just as Sinn Fein are gaining major support, both as an opposition, and a potential elected government in 2016. I don’t know the details of these cases, but I do know when I see sensationalism and hysteria brewing, and it seems to me that Fine Gael and the other established parties (along with some sections of the media) are using these terrible cases of alleged abuse for political points’ scoring. This tactic, in my opinion, is abhorrent also… Enda Kenny looked almost smug when he was talking about it today on RTE… something really creepy about the whole thing in my opinion..

    1. Clampers Outside!

      “all of this stuff has come out just as Sinn Fein are gaining major support” …right…feck it, sure throw in a UFO and some Donegal sheep shagging while you’re at it :)

      Bullcrap!

      1. Fruitbat

        If you observe the media and the political establishment commenting on these allegations it’s obvious that there is a lot of sensationalism and political point scoring going on… I was commenting on this, not on the allegations themselves…

    2. Bobby

      Why would they bother? There’s no elections of note coming for quite some time and people will have long forgotten this.

      1. les rock

        can i point you in the general direction of a little company called irish water, the one giving the government headaches and just might bring about there downfall

        1. Bobby

          No it won’t, though. People complain and then move on. This and Irish water will be forgotten in the long run. Fianna Fail are doing pretty well considering they destroyed the economy a couple of years ago. Nobody is going to be swayed by what the IRA did decades ago.

  4. Fruitbat

    @Kiearn NYC

    What age are you, twelve? I said I don’t know the details of individual cases, as the full extent of these allegations, and the truth, have not been established yet. However, I have been observing the discourse in the media, particularly on RTE which has had Maria Cahill’s face on constantly the last week, 24/7. I just find it interesting how all this stuff is being covered 24/7 in the media just as Sinn Fein are at their peak of popularity. If there was abuse, and cover ups etc, I’m sure the details will be established in due course, but observing Fine Gael use Cahill’s case as some kind of political baseball bat against Sinn Fein and Gerry Adams, is transparent and low in my opinion… now do you get what I’m saying? are you going to retort sarcastically like a smart arse child? or an adult?

      1. linbinius

        @ Kieran

        Such a fookin stupid comment. Yes. Sinn Fein are “victims” in terms of the damage it does to their party. Think about things objectively. Without support for one or the other, ye know? Like Fruitbat has.

        Nobody is downplaying the alleged abuse ( which i believe due to the shit show that was the court case) but his point was the disgusting point scoring and how that we should also be repulsed by it. Not equating them. Not dismissing either. Just judging both as a separate issue.

        1. Fruitbat

          Thanks Linbinius

          That was my point exactly..

          If Fine Gael, and Sinn Fein’s other political, opponents aim to use these cases in order to smear the Sinn Fein members who have nothing to do with the allegations themselves than I think that’s dirty, low, cynical political point scoring…

          1. Pablo

            There’s no smearing involved. If you’re in SF then this is part of the warped culture that you knowingly signed up to. Everyone knows about the vigilante “justice”, kneecappings, extortion and kangaroo courts that the ‘Ra administered back in the day but which SF have never repudiated. And any SF member who professes not to have known about all this stuff is either a liar or naive in the extreme.

    1. Clampers Outside!

      “this stuff is being covered 24/7 in the media just as Sinn Fein are at their peak of popularity”

      Maybe you answered your own question there… because they are so popular this is even bigger news… just maybe, and quite possible too?

  5. Sinabhfuil

    If you hear yourself saying “Yeah, but the media” about someone hurting a child, it’s time to stop and look seriously at what you’re saying.

    Doesn’t matter if it’s rapist priests, CofI vicars with Roman hands, revolutionaries, child marriage advocates, child labour exploiters, genital mutilators or those who put guns in the hands of children. If a child’s being hurt, all other questions and values are subsidiary.

  6. Soundings

    Whatever about the IRA “rape courts” (at which senior Sinn Fein members allegedly officiated),

    (1) how many rapists/abusers were dealt with by these “courts”
    (2) where were rapists/abusers expelled to
    (3) did anyone inform the authorities
    (4) did anyone keep tabs on the rapists/abusers
    (5) how many re-offended

    Not good enough for Sinn Fein to blithely call for anyone to come forward, or report allegations to authorities. They have an innate responsibility to pro-actively deal with these matters.

    1. scottser

      i’d have to agree with adams on this. you’re dealing with a very different time up north when the state was not trusted to deal with issues of law, justice and protecting the rights for its republican minority. abuse was rampant in state institutions north and south and i’d venture that all political parties in the 80’s were up to sh1t that was just as shady. no-one was dealing with abuse ‘pro-actively’ back then and its unwise to judge one period of history by the values we have now.

      puts up brolly and waits for sh1tstorm of anti-SF venom

  7. Kolmo

    Why is this bubbling up to the surface now, this week specifically? horrific as all these cases sound, the courts, the Police and social services Sinn Fein and the IRA were all involved in investigating allegations of the worst kind at the time and if so many people, organisations and governmental agencies knew about these allegations at the time and the public openly protested about them – how could it be regarded as a cover up – is it that these crimes (some proven, some dismissed by the courts) have not been fully and usefully highlighted to the pissed-on electorate in the South?
    Any allegation of child-rape or molestation should be fully investigated by appropriate agents and thoroughly punished as an affront to humanity that it is – using this human tragedy as a political strategy by the current set of corporate ass-crawlers is beneath contempt, but nothing would surprise me anymore.

  8. ughtheseguys

    I can’t see any of this hurting SF’s political ambitions so the people commenting above about how the ‘real’ issue here is not the mishandling of child abuse but rather some sort of anti SF conspiracy need not worry . Irish people have shown time and time again that they are willing to overlook the suffering of others in order to maintain their world view, whether it be conservative Catholicism or the sort of populist political screed SF adheres to. Ireland from the 1950s to 80s was a ‘pretty different’ time but I’m not going to let that diminish my condemnation of members of the Catholic Church who covered up the abuse of the most vulnerable in society. If these allegations are true then the same goes for Gerry Adams and any higher up members of SF involved or aware of it.

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