Tag Archives: Mairia Cahill

 Former Senator Mairia Cahill speaking to media outside Government Buildings last night after meeting with Sinn Féin party leader Mary Lou McDonald

Saying the meeting started with a handshake, but didn’t end with one, Ms Cahill told the Belfast Telegraph: “As far I’m concerned Mary Lou McDonald has abdicated her responsibility over this.”

In a statement following the meeting, Mrs McDonald described her conversation with Mairia Cahill as “lengthy and candid”.

‘It was distressing to listen to the nonsense’: Mairia Cahill speaks out after meeting with Sinn Fein president (Belfast Telegraph)



Yesterday: ‘I Have No Feeling In The Left-Hand Side Of My Face’


Máiría Cahill and Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald

This afternoon.

At 4pm.

Former Labour Senator Máiría Cahill is scheduled to meet Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald.

Ms Cahill is the granddaughter of Frank Cahill, brother of leading Sinn Fein member and subsequent IRA Chief of Staff Joe Cahill.

In 2010, Ms Cahill alleged that she was repeatedly raped by prominent IRA member Martin Morris when she was 16 and that her allegations were dismissed by a Sinn Fein ‘kangaroo’ court while the alleged abuser was subsequently moved to Donegal.

Ms Cahill also alleged former Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams was aware of the allegations and failed to take action.

In 2014,  Mr Morris, who denied the allegation, was acquitted after his trial collapsed.

The trial collapsed after Ms Cahill, and two other women who alleged Mr Morris abused them, withdrew their evidence citing a loss of confidence in how the case was being handled.

Last month, the Ombudsman, in Northern Ireland, found that the women were failed by the PSNI and recommended that four officers be disciplined.

Ahead of her meeting with Ms McDonald, Ms Cahill spoke to Áine Lawlor on RTÉ’s News At One.

During the interview, they had the following exchange:

Aine Lawlor: “It’s been four years, as you say, since you first went public on [BBC] Spotlight. What personal price have you paid?”

Máiría Cahill: “Horrendous. My health has suffered, Áine, on a number of fronts. Mentally, I’m kind of, quite OK, I suppose I’m a but stubborn. But I have, at the minute, no feeling in the left-hand side of my face, for example. Or in my mouth, because I woke up, in the aftermath of the Ombudsman report, unable to feel that.

We’re still trying to find the root cause of that. I’ve had to take a lot of time off work. My family relationships, the wider family relationships have suffered because some of those people still claim allegiance to the Republican movement for example.

“I think I was treated despicably by Sinn Féin and their members, graffiti went up on the walls of West Belfast, in the area which I was raped for example. You know, quite a public shaming of someone who came forward essentially looking for an admission and that was all I wanted, for people to admit that it was wrong. And it shouldn’t have happened.

“To date, that hasn’t happened. And I’d like to think that someone from Sinn Féin would have a modicum of decency around them to finally admit that.”

Previously: Falls Memory Syndrome



From top Máiría Cahill; Sinn Féin President Mary Louy McDonald

Further to the publication this morning of a Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland report that found Máiría Cahill was failed by a “disjointed police investigation”.

Ms Cahill, a former Labour Party Senator and now SDLP councillor in Lisburn and Castlereagh County Council, said she was raped by an IRA member between 1997-98 and subjected to an IRA investigation into her claims including a face to face meeting with her alleged rapist in 2000.

A subsequent trial later collapsed and MS Cahill had criticised the handling of her case.

This afternoon, Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald said:

“I welcome the publication of the Ombudsman’s report and the fact that the PSNI have accepted and will implement the recommendations of that report.

Abuse has scarred too many lives across Ireland. We all have a responsibility to keep children safe. I have no doubt that the three women at the heart of this report have been through an ordeal.

I want to commend their bravery, in particular the bravery of Mairia Cahill for waiving her anonymity.

Sinn Féin has robust procedures in place for mandatory reporting of abuse. I deeply regret that these procedures were not in place at the time of Máiría Cahill’s disclosure. For this I unreservedly apologise.”

Mary Lou McDonald responds to Police Ombudsman’s report (Sinn Féin)


Ms Cahill said on Twitter that she is not satisfied with Ms McDonald’s apology.

McDonald apologises to alleged abuse victim Cahill for ordeal (RTÉ)





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, Independent.ie)


 Free Dessie Ellis, Sinn Féin TD, spoke this morning  on the Domestic Violence (Amendment) Bill 2014.

Yesterday, I stood with party colleagues and other members of the Oireachtas at the Dáil gates for a minute’s silence in memory of the men and women and children who have died at the hands of their partner or ex-partner since 1996. This was a very poignant event coming on the International Day Opposing Violence Against Women. A shocking 78 women and 10 children have been murdered in these 18 years. The event was organised by Women’s Aid who had laid out shoes along a blank sheet to mark a timeline of these needless and tragic deaths. Shoes, flat heels and sandals standing in silent memoriam of the lives stolen. These lives as the vigil so movingly stated are stolen lives. They are stolen from their families, their friends, their communities. Snuffed out by an abuser who should’ve been stopped.

One in five women experience domestic violence in their lifetime. This ranges from physical, emotional, sexual to financial abuse. From abuse, threats to kill and abuse behaviour, to stalking and harassment. By their very nature these are mostly crimes which go on behind closed doors when the curtains are drawn when the world around stops looking. But it also happens right out in the open.

We must strive to improve public awareness of the risk factors of domestic violence and to encourage everyone to make their homes, their community, their circle of friends, a place where this kind of abuse will never be accepted. Because unfortunately we have a culture today where subtly every day teaches young men to do many of the things that can lead to domestic violence. This trend in our society is called the ‘rape culture’. Its name is shocking and some dismiss this as over over the top but the symptoms are undeniable and its effects illustrated by those 78 empty womens’ shoes are too horrific to ignore. Rape culture is the tendency in modern culture to dehumanise, devalue and commodify women. It has always been there but has become much more obvious in the modern era with the partial successes of the early feminist movement and the 24-hour consumer capitalist culture which has sprung up alongside the internet.

Technology is not to blame but it is often the medium through which this culture finds its most vile expression. This tendency creates a culture which normalises the idea that women’s bodies are not wholly their own. It encourages blaming rape victims instead of rapists. It jokes about men who beat their partners and it belittles, demonises and threatens all those who challenge it. This is the culture our young men are growing up in.

It seems like every week there is a new case of a woman who has been a victim of sexual assault who has watched her abuser go free because a judge felt sympathetic to the criminal. These judges have handed down fines for which must be the vile and reprehensible crimes a person can commit. This is a slap in the face to those who sought to have their attacker prosecuted but it also says to women and girls who are victims of sexual violence: Don’t bother, the state will not punish your attacker but you will be put through the mill anyway.

As with many of our worst social issues, there are why many whose voices are not heard. This is why we have brought the bill. It’s to try to make it easier for people to flee this kind of abuse. It is crucial that we promote opposition to this kind of behaviour.

But it is also essential, that people who seek to leave, to get out can do so, can be supported, validated and protected. That is what we seek to do.


Full text of speech via Oireachtas.ie here.

Earlier: Staying In Tomorrow Night?

Previously: Falls Memory Syndrome

Féin Concern

Briege Of Trust

Kick In The Shinns

“Unfounded And Untrue”

Police, Judge And Executioner

“Would 50 Murders Be An Exaggeration?”


Maíria Cahill and Sinn Féin leader, Gerry Adams

Melanie O’Connor writes:

Maíria Cahill has been making the headlines for the past five weeks. This week on The Saturday Night Show, Brendan O’Connor meets the woman behind the headlines who says she’s been living in fear since she went public with her story.


Previously: Falls Memory Syndrome

Fein Concern

alandcapnblackharass alananonymous

Yesterday, Socialist Party TD Ruth Coppinger made reference to high-profile members of Sinn Féin bullying Maíria Cahill on social media.

One particular twitter account (@capnblack) belongs to Alan Donnelly (aka Alan Ó Donnaille), brother of Sinn Féin councillor Paul Donnelly, who ran in the Dublin West by-election earlier this year.


On last night’s ‘Tonight with Vincent Browne’, Sinn Féin TD for Meath West Peadar Tóibín denied Sinn Féin members were involved in online bullying of Maíria Cahill.

Watch in full here.


Maíria Cahill spent the day in Leinster House answering questions and talking about the wider issue of abuse.

A Dáil debate is scheduled today from 2:30 pm regarding allegations of sexual abuse by members of the republican movement arising from the Maíria Cahill case.

Watch it live here.

Gerry Adams to meet woman ‘raped by top republican’ (Eilis O’Hanlon, Sunday Independent December 2013)

Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland


Brian writes:

You’ll remember that the glorious leader promised a debate this week on the subject of IRA abuse claims? Well, this week’s Oireachtas schedule shows no such thing.
Puzzled, I rang the FG press office and spoke to a nice young man called Stephen who told me the debate would take place next week as they were having trouble framing the language as the issue was ‘legally sensitive’. Further to this, I was informed by another source within Leinster House that the debate was pulled from the schedule last week directly after a cabinet meeting attended by the Attorney General. I rang back the FG press office to see if I could get this confirmed and funny enough, no answer.