Mairia, Paudie And Mary Lou





From top: Mairia Cahill, Paudie McGahon on BBC Spotlight and Mary Lou McDonald

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald went on Today with Sean O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio One this morning to defend Sinn Fein’s record on reporting of sex abuse within its organisation  and answer allegations made by Paudie McGahon that he was sexually abused by a member of the IRA and then subjected to an internal IRA kangaroo court.

Sean O’Rourke: “Now I gather you heard what Mairia Cahill had to say at the top of the programme. Are you, as she suggested you should be, raising merry hell in Sinn Féin about all of this?”

Mary Lou McDonald: “Well, I’m as disturbed and upset for Paudie, and indeed Maria, as anybody else, listening to their stories, and I’m as anxious as the next person that they achieve justice and I’m, em listened to what Maria had to say and I also got a chance to listen to Paudie, he was on your rival radio station, and, to my way of thinking Paudie has said something very important and he has said it far more eloquently than I can, and I want to reiterate it, and that is that nobody should be afraid to come forward and I’m very anxious that that message would go out that any one who has experienced any kind of sexual violation, the trauma of a rape, however long ago, at the hands of whomsoever but in this instance we’re talking about those that would have called themselves republicans, perhaps IRA volunteers or anybody else, Paudie has said it and he has it in one, no body should be fearful, nobody should be afraid, the only way that we deal with the insidious and awful crime of child sex abuse and sexual violence more generally is when people feel comfortable and empowered to speak out.”

O’Rourke: “But I suppose people are…”

McDonald: “And I want to commend Paudie and indeed Mairia Cahill, both of them, for doing that.”

O’Rourke: ““Now you are saying this and people may or may not take it at face value. i suppose the problem is, when they look at the Republican movement, they hear not just you but they read, albeit something that’s been withdrawn and apologised for, people like [Sinn Fein councillor] Francie Molloy saying another load of rubbish on Spotlight, joint Indo-Blueshirt Production or whatever and they see as well that while you may accept he is telling the truth about being abused, immediately the details are seized on of his story and they are denied about for instance how the IRA dealt with him in the aftermath and they look as well at situations like what happened int he aftermath of the murder of Robert McCartney but all these calls of that type ‘oh come forward tell all you know’ and nobody comes forward.”

McDonald: “Well I hope that people will hear my words and more importantly Paudie’s words and take them beyond face value, I say that, and I mean it, Sinn Fein representatives have said it and it’s been re-echoed and we mean that, and we mean that most sincerely, I would have to say to you that in circumstances where abuse occurred, in any scenario it’s never easy for people to come forward and I understand the difficulties very very, very very clearly m self in regard to that but I just want to repeat that in order for justice to be served and there is an ongoing garda investigation in respect of Paudie’s case, albeit very belatedly, I know all of us wish that investigation to be speedy and to be successful and anybody else out there who has had a similar experience needs to come forward, and then it is a job for an Garda Siochana to investigate matters.
To, just to take the point of you saying that people are picking over details, here’s the position and let me specify it to Paudie since his story, he has come so recently and told his story, the position is this, Paudie tells the story of his abuse he alleges a particular individual who allegedly was a member of the IRA who allegedly was in his home in a spirit of good trust and good faith, just to say to your listeners I’m using those terms very carefully because I’m conscious there is an investigation under way.
Paudie has named a particular individual in respect of what he says was an IRA investigation the person that he has named has refuted through their legal representatives that it was them at all and has said that they’re happy to co-operate with the Garda Siochana to clarify that matter and then you come to somebody like me and you ask me questions about it and the only thing that I can say and I think in all fairness the only thing you could say if you were called on to make any kind of definitive statement about this is that the Gardai are best placed to actually adjudicate what precisely happened and I want to emphasise…”

O’Rourke: “Well I’m not sure that they are, actually. If they don’t get the full co-operation they’ll find out nothing.”

McDonald: “Oh, well they need to get full cooperation.“

O’Rourke: “Well do you think the Gardai are in a better position to find out who ran that kangaroo court than for instance you or Gerry Adams?”

McDonald: “I think absolutely, I think the Gardai…”

O’Rourke: “Well who’s going to tell them?”

McDonald: “Sean, I think the Gardai are best equipped to investigate any and all of these matters. That’s not my job, I’m not equipped to do it.”

O’Rourke: “We don’t have to go into the whole history of all this, of nationalism, Sinn Fein and the Republican movement, who held what position or who was and who wasn’t a member of the IRA. The fact is, there was an internal IRA investigation into the allegations made by Paudie McGahon, an individual he named has said, nothing to do with me, I was never there and I never met this man. Surely there are people you know and who Gerry Adams knows… if it wasn’t the individual named by Paudie McGahon, who was it?”

McDonald: “Well listen, let me say this Sean there is a Garda investigation underway in respect of Paudie’s experiences, his abuse and all that flowed from it and everybody needs to co-operate fully with that.”

O’Rourke: “And part of that co-operation might be finding out, Gerry Adams, the local TD in Co Louth, finding out who did run the kangaroo court and giving those names to the Gardai?”

McDonald: “Now Gerry has made it very, very clear that he will bring forward as is absolutely correct any information, any names, anything that he comes across he’s furthermore called on people to come forward…”

O’Rourke: “Now hang on, isn’t that being far too passive, is he not in a position to go and find out?”

McDonald: “I don’t accept, I don’t accept that that’s passive, in fact I would say to you Sean this is the only method by which you actually get to the truth and get information, that’s to call on people to come forward, to emphasise the absolute necessity of it, and then to create the atmosphere in which people actually come forward.”

O’Rourke: “But the track record, the track record is such that nobody believes that will happen.”

McDonald: “Well, I don’t accept that that’s the case, em, and I believe that it will happen, I believe that people will come forward, I believe that people must come forward and I believe…”

O’Rourke: “So do you believe that the people who…”

McDonald: “And i believe Sean that if for instance and I hope that this will happen if for instance the Taoiseach were to respond positively to what has been proposed by Martin McGuinness by way of a joint effort and initiative between the Dail and the government here in Dublin and the selective in the north I think that many many people will come forward and I think that it could create exactly the atmosphere in which people who have been reluctant or afraid to speak would in fact come forward.”

O’Rourke: “But you see, the people who come forward, if they are to come forward, won’t be people who run internal IRA investigations they will be people perhaps who pick up the courage to do as Mairia Cahill and Paudie McGahon have done and say this happened to me too this was how it was dealt with and then what we can expect is that senior Sinn Fein people will say, well we accept that that person was abused, of course they’re telling the truth and if there was an IRA inquiry they should never have dealt with this, this should have been dealt with by the authorities and by the way further the person who is said to have chaired or presided over that internal inquiry well they say well you know nothing to do with me I wan’t there you got the wrong guy here and I’m prepared to go and tell the guards I had nothing to do with it and again another brick wall…”

McDonald: “There’s no brick wall here but I think I think the difficulty is Sean you’re asking me to do something that in fact I can’t do…no hear me out, heer me out and I want to emphasise that this isn’t me gainsaying Paudie, Paudie is Paudie, he tells his story and I respect the integrity of that but you are asking me in circumstances where not Sinn Fein or me but the person who is named asserts it is not them through their solicitor, you are asking me, a person who was not there who isn’t possession of all of the information, who isn’t in possession of any witnesses or any individuals to make a judgment call on things.”

O’Rourke: “No, I’m not suggesting that for a minute…”

McDonald: “Sorry, that is, that is what you’ve asked me to do and because, Sean, I’m not prepared to do that because it’s not my function or my appropriate role to do it it’s appropriate for the Gardai to do it, because I say that, you accuse me of brick walling, can I just say I’m not interested in brick walls on this I’m not interested in the standing or the sensitivities of Sinn Fein or anybody else, I’m interested that a young man Paudie says he was raped and brutalised at the age of 17 and the person who did that needs to face the full rigours of the law, the full consequences and the full penalties for his actions. That’s my only concern.”

O’Rourke: “Well now…”

McDonald: “And my further concern if there are other people who have had that experience listen to what Paudie is saying listen to why I am saying and take that in good faith, don’t be afraid, step forward step forward now don’t delay.”

O’Rourke: “Yeah that’s grand and that’s very welcome and I don’t for a minute question your sincerity in saying that, by the way, and also I’m not suggesting for a minute either is that you stand in judgment on anyone or to make a judgment what I’m suggesting to you is that if it is the Sinn Féin position that the individuals named by Paudie or an individual as having presided over the internal disciplinary process is not the one who did that you and others at senior level in the republican movement are in a position to find out who did so preside and to persuade and direct those people to they themselves come forward and assist the Gardai in bringing about a conclusion with justice for people like Paudie.”

McDonald: “And let me reiterate over the airwaves, if I might, anybody with any information on this, anybody who is approached by an Gardai Siochana the appropriate investigating authority should co-operate fully…”

O’Rourke: “But what I’m saying is that people like Gerry Adams are in a position to find out information that others in the Republican movement have no intention of giving to the Gardai…”

McDonald: “Well look, and what I’m saying by way of response that its for the Gardai to investigate all of those matters and I’ve also said that I fully expect any person who has information on this, Gerry Adams or any other to bring that forward and to it without delay and then I expect and I have confidence in the capacity of the Gardai in this instance to investigate to examine evidence to speak to witnesses, to cross examine them and go back again and again to build a case,
I have no doubt about their capacity to do this and I am urging people in the strongest possible terms,  to co-operate and I believe that they will, and more so saying to people who may have been victimised and traumatised in this way and who are listening to all this playing out again on the airwaves to please come forward in the manner that is best for them, and to bear in mind also that there are support networks and services for people for whom a story like this isn’t just a story, it’s a very personal thing because they have been through something very similar themselves.”

O’Rourke: “Mary Lou McDonald, Deputy Leader of SinnF thank you very much for joining us.”

Listen here


A message is being advanced that what happened, and how it was handled, in both rape cases has to be viewed in context: either the Troubles, or the swirling aftermath. Just as we’re told that all the killing and maiming through those lost decades has to be seen against the background of an unjust society.

Listening to the way Sinn Féin people speak about victims sexually abused by their members, and abused in a different way by those operating kangaroo courts, I hear echoes of an earlier form of rigidly rehearsed language. I hear the unconvincing apologies offered for the ‘collateral damage’ caused when civilians were killed in explosions. That was supposedly all about context, too.

Has nothing been learned? Nothing at all about humility or fellow feeling? I understand that war strips people of some or all of their humanity, and that a number of those in the upper echelons of the party have come through a war. I accept it is a brutalising process. These men and women look whole, but they aren’t. They left part of themselves behind.

But there is a generation behind the Troubles leaders in Sinn Féin. Where is their compassion for rape victims? Why are they unable to step outside the formulaic phraseology about victims, and communicate directly? Why do all of them toe the party line so obediently on every issue, even this one?

No amount of Sinn Féin spin can undermine these victims’ stories (Martina Devlin,

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51 thoughts on “Mairia, Paudie And Mary Lou

  1. Der

    Why is Mary Lou fielding this for SF, where’s Gerry? He wasn’t there for the lambasting in leaders questions this morning either.

    1. andyourpointiswhatexactly

      He doesn’t like these difficult questions.
      I wouldn’t believe what he said, anyway. So long as he denies his IRA membership (and the rest), he can fupp the fupp off in my view. He needs to move on and let the new kids on the block run the party. They’re too tarnished by his legacy.

    2. Atlas

      Dear Leader has a tendency to get flustered and make sinister veiled threats (‘they haven’t gone away, you know’ etc) when put under pressure. He’d end up reminding his transient, ‘NO CONTRACT NO CONSENT’ protest-voter supporters of his rather frightening past if he didn’t keep the head down.

  2. Paolo

    If you don’t want to pay for something that you use we’ve got your back but if you are raped, we’ll fight you every step of the way.

    — Sinn Fein

    1. Clampers Outside!

      You need this bit in front of that…

      Seeing as we lost a seat to Paul Murphy and we need to gain back that ground if you don’t want to pay…..

      Remember, SF were only on board the anti-water wagon AFTER they lost the seat to Paul Murphy.

      1. NoFaceGURRRL

        That Maria Cahill’s Uncle was her boyfriend for over a year. Very apt username by the way.

  3. Clampers Outside!

    That first mouthful out of McDonald boiled my blood…. that ****** *** and her despicable gushing of faux concern….

    FUPP OFF YOU ******* ****** !

    Now, why did I go off on one…. well, here’s something I wrote on this issue regarding Gerry, SF and the IRA sometime ago on here…. (thank fupp I found it)

    When it comes down to it, I find it unpalatable that a man who has knowingly released sex offenders on the public (sex offenders who have since re-offended, as per Dail comments, 28 victims coming forward to Gardaí ) could ever govern this island. That in itself is unconscionable as far as I am concerned, makes me sick to my stomach to think that I could turn on the TV and have Gery Adams talk about how ‘best’ we should live in this country when he sanctioned the release of sex offenders.

    1. SF/IRA were not equipped to deal with the situation when the public turned to them for help in dealing with abusers because according to SF, the people were afraid or did not trust the NI police.
    Why did people feel like they couldn’t go to the police? Because SF/IRA actively ran a campaign of non-cooperation with the NI police. So the situation of fear was created by SF/IRA and they were wholly responsible for it. But, their claims have been that, ‘oh my, we were not equipped to deal with this because people were afraid of the NI police’ …all the time ignoring the fact they created that situation in the first place. I have friends and family in the North who feel very strongly about this point. ‘Not our fault’ doesn’t wash here.

    2. Some say Gerry and co. were in the middle of a war and that this kind of thing would have unsettled the peace process. I believe this to be a nonsense. This is obviously an opinion.
    Here’s one point on that. The IRA laid down arms officially in 1994. The Cahill case, as an example, was in 1998, four years later, and the year the agreement was signed. Some people whom I’ve debated this with claim that the handing over of sex offenders to the PSNI, at that time, would have destabilised the peace process. I believe this to be utter rubbish. You can be sure, and this is my opinion, that the ordinary people on… both sides… would have wanted those offenders locked up. I believe the peace process would have continued if they had done the right thing.

    3. Some say, that was what the country was like at the time, no one was reporting abuse, things were hidden, the church was still pretty clean, etc. and all sorts of stories were being brushed under the carpet. This is just not true.
    The done thing at the time was report it. People up and down the country on both sides of the border were all very well aware of the reports of abuse within the church, and reports were being compiled at that time which all the media was watching. Claiming ignorance and a bygone era of ‘keep it quiet’ was the done thing is complete nonsense. This was the mid to late 1990s, not 1980s or 70s or earlier.

    It is my belief that the only motivation to do what SF did was to protect the party, to protect SF at all costs, even at the cost of allowing sex offenders free to abuse more victims – 28 to date apparently.

    Now, more recently, SF shoved Mary Lou and Pearse out in front of the cameras to vehemently deny any of these releases. Denying all involvement. That turned out to be complete and outright total lies as cases of SF dealing and releasing these offenders were “acknowledged” in SF documentation.
    Soon as that was revealed, all the denials stopped. Completely. Gerry himself admitted “expulsions” into the republic. SF came under a barrage of questioning in the Dail and they remained stoney faced on it for reasons of… it was a war; it was the done thing at the time; the people were afraid of the police; we were not equipped to deal with it – all nonsense excuses as per the points above.

    Now, what this says to me about SF is that they are willing to do or say anything, even lie about releasing paedophiles and rapists on an unknowing public in order to protect themselves. To protect their party, not the peace process. And when called on it, they first deny it, when found lying, they make excuses for it.
    This, as far as I am concerned, shows a party willing to do absolutely anything to get into a position of power, to even commit the most unconscionable of things like not deal with authorities when known sex offenders, whom they have the details of, are running free.

    And the man, who is directing this party, for those reasons, should absolutely under no circumstances ever be allowed to sit in the top tier positions of power in the running of this country, no way.
    I will not be governed by a man who releases sexual predators on the public, I will not be guided in any aspect of my life by a man in government capable of these things. It literally makes me feel nauseous, the thought of it.

    Now the arguments on the above points can be debated until the cows come home but it still will not change the fact that Gerry sanctioned it, Gerry himself admitted doing it, the documentation is there in the SF acknowledgement of the cases. And I will not have that man as leader of this country because of it.

    With regard to SF in the North, they did a lot of good, no doubt. But, this is not the North. I am not holding any of the ‘troubles’ against SF, none. That was a different time. My own grandfather died of TB after hiding out in the hills of Donegal one too many winters on the run from the British army. He received an IRA military funeral too. I’ve spoken to my Dad about the current state of SF, and he believes that his Dad would have no cut with SF of today. They have zero integrity, nada, zilch, no consistency of value what so ever, and without that they have nothing at all.
    And their conflicting approaches to water north and south and Mary Lou’s flip flopping on the water charges, literally bandwagoning the issue after they lost a seat to Paul Murphy just proves the point as far as I am concerned. They’ll do or say anything and throw anything of value out just to win more votes, that’s what I see in them.
    I know I could say the same about all the other parties, I’m not saying they have any integrity or consistency of value either, but none of their leaders set sex offenders free on the people. That will always be the crux of it for me, it’s truly unconscionable.

    And that’s not even the long version….

    1. Frilly Keane

      Arra’ I dunno Clump

      In that opening line alone
      You could be talking about a Bishop there
      Or a school patron
      Or a Judge
      Or a Garda Superintendent or a Desk Sargent
      Shag it, add whatever yerselves

      1. Clampers Outside!

        …and would you be comfortable with any one of those you listed running the country if they had released sex offenders on an unknowing public…. and still withholding that information that could have them locked up?
        Would you Frilly? I doubt it, that you would.

        I doubt it that you would be comfortable having a man who protected rapists and paedophiles from justice, and those same lot went out to commit more offences on 28 individuals, I doubt that you could look any of those 28 in the face and say, “I’d vote for Gerry as Taoiseach”. I truly doubt it.

        1. Frilly Keane

          Firstly I won’t be voting for Gerry. And actually, I don’t think anyone else will be either as I doubt he’ll even be on the ballot.
          Secondly, spread your venom across all the showers that protected, employed and hid rapists and paedophiles.

          Your continued uneven handedness is now, IMO, deliberate trolling and easily construed as ‘product placement’

          1. Frilly Keane


            My dear clump
            What ABM is to ProChoice
            You are to Sinn Fein

            If that’s where you want be
            That’s fine
            Stay there
            I’m not going ta’throw stones at ya or an’ting
            Just telling ya what it is you’re really at

    2. scottser

      I know I could say the same about all the other parties, I’m not saying they have any integrity or consistency of value either, but none of their leaders set sex offenders free on the people.

      unfortunately clamps, you are so, so, so wrong on this. you could argue reasonably that FF under ahern insulated the church from both scrutiny and compensation for its victims, in fact funded a redress scheme from the very taxes that the victims may have paid. look at FG’s disregard of the survivors of symphesiotomy and the magdelenes.

      i think adams for all his faults nailed it when he said that the IRA was expected to be a judiciary, police force and social welfare system when it was plainly not equipped to be such during the troubles. it’s not an excuse, but it goes some way to a context that i can understand unlike successive irish governments’ unwillingness to p1ss off the church and the abusers they were hiding. adams points out that institutional abuse was widespread north and south and took many forms. there are probably very few innocents left from that era and the sooner they sod off the better.

      but i will say one thing. a party like SF that has the potential to represent people in the dail, stormont and westminster could be a very powerful thing. awful shame it’s in the hands of SF.

      1. Clampers Outside!

        FF under Ahern… yes, I can see that…. but it is not the same thing really. Gerry has first hand knowledge, he said himself, that HE made the “expulsions” of these criminals. He did it, not a third party, as in the FF case.

        Gerry nailed it? I disagree strongly on that. The IRA/SF created the situation of being “expected” to act as authorities through a very well reported / publicised campaign of noncooperation with the authorities.

        1. scottser

          i’d say it was the RUC, unionist paramilitaries and british govt policy that forced a level of expectation onto the IRA/SF they weren’t equipped to handle. we’ll agree to disagree on it tho clamps

          1. Clampers Outside!

            Fair enough. I do accept that yes, there would be a historical distrust of the RUC. But I do believe the noncooperation policy exacerbated it further. They, IRA, it has been alleged, did threaten people for cooperating with the RUC.

  4. Parochial Central

    The wheels are obviously coming off the Cahill INM machine. Any pictures of her *not* at government buildings (e.g., with IRA provo head uncle Joe, with fellow dissident Republicans, and so on)?

  5. Laughter Tack.

    I am to lazy and dislike Irish “news” immensely, can somebody explain why this poor man who was sexually assaulted not gone to the Gardai?

    As in, this week?

  6. My Left Testicle

    I gather that Sinn Féin aren’t very popular on Broadsheet.
    It’s not what I hear on the streets though.

    I can’t wait for the next election.
    It’s going to be the best one ever.

  7. Mr. T.

    A dirty sordid campaign of dishonesty, political point scoring and all at the expense of sexual abuse victims. It’s undermining all victims of abuse and doing them a huge disservice. Fine Gael and Labour should be ashamed that they sunk so low as to use abuse as a political strategy to undermine their critics instead of debating them head to head on policy like in a normal democracy.

    1. Mick Flavin

      Yes, FF, FG and Labour have cynically used this issue to score political points.
      Yes, it suits the agenda of most of the media to pore over every detail of this to discomfit Sinn Féin.
      Yes, it’s a handy distraction for the government parties from their own failings.

      The line being trotted out time and time again by SF supporters is that given the above, SF should be pretty much left alone.
      This is patent ráiméis. They have questions to answer even if they’re being asked by people who are compromised in other ways.
      They have behaved despicably on this issue, both in how they dealt with it at the time and how they’re obfuscating now.

      That’s my tuppence worth…

      1. Joe the Lion

        What questions do they have to answer? Law and order abdicated the responsibility you know!

  8. Quint

    SF/IRA are a vile, disgusting group of liars but they have a sizeable group of deluded fools who support them, which is worrying. Serious shit is gonna go down next year if they get into power, with a lot of questions the Irish will have to ask themselves.

      1. Bacchus

        Simply not true. While other parties have loyal followers most are not unquestioning unthinking zombies. SF have by far the more “dedicated and deluded ” supporters – in fact SF is more of as cult than a political party. No economic policies to speak of, bandwagon social policies and a history soaked in the pain and blood of thousands. Don’t give me that “all Irish political parties have blood on their hands” nonsense – no other party was involved in extortion, drug dealing, fuel laundering, and vigilantism to the extent that the IRA were and still are.

        1. Frilly Keane

          Ya know wha’ Baccpus
          I couldn’t giv’ah

          Wanna know why?

          Neither Sinn Fein or the IRA, or any of their supporters donors or voters are responsible for

          A Heath Service driven by trollies, absenteeism and beds occupied by our elderly
          A Railway Network that needs a 100m Per Annum top up
          Benchmarked pensions
          A public service that is anything but
          Teachers Strikes and Nurses Work To Rules’
          A Water metering and charges implementation programme that would make Lex Luther shiver in awe, and that would be before he was told about mobile licences n’such Lowry pickings
          Jobs for the Boys and Fine Girls
          1 in 5 of our children in tomorrow’s school assembly being hungry
          Home Repossessions while leaving Homeless Services starving
          Medical Cards being with allocated, withdrawn, reallocated, by following the standard eeny meeny miney Minister in the area operations manual
          Universal Social Charge and Insurance Levies
          A police force that isn’t even fit to steward a Connaught Final. (A Hurling one at that.)
          Universities that sink lower in rankings by the day. Will there even be 1 left in the top 100 by this time next week?
          A publically funded and gorged national broadcaster that is nothing more than a dictator controlled puppet show
          Losing Dockets held by butties of Pete Goldman Sutherland Sachs being made good while Special Needs Assistants ate being removed at a rate of knots from our classrooms
          Billions Billing Tax Ghosts haunting and taunting us with threats, yet still run everything from my phone to my watch to my computers.

          Ara’ I’m making myself sick now

          Why The FückkkkFupppPissyandFuppAgain is yere devotion to the mainstream of present and past govt parties still unwavered?

          Ireland, as I know and love it, is beyond recovery.
          What is needed now is a “Up is Down. Down is up” change to all our traditions and norms.
          Cop da’uck on lads

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