Adams ‘must apologise’

Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams

Peter Robinson has called on Gerry Adams to personally apologise to a woman who claims she was raped by one IRA member and then interrogated by a number of others.

Peter Robinson has called on Gerry Adams to personally apologise to a woman who claims she was raped by one IRA member and then interrogated by a number of others.

The first minister was speaking after Martin McGuinness said he believed Mairia Cahill was attacked as she claimed.

The west Belfast woman waived her right to anonymity to speak about her ordeal on the BBC’s Spotlight programme earlier this month.

During a debate in the Dail on Wednesday, Gerry Adams was accused by the Irish Prime Minister of involvement in a cover up - and asked if abusers were “exiled” to the Republic.

Yesterday, Mr Robinson told UTV he thought a genuine apology was needed.

“I think it does have to be a personal apology because it is her case that the whole issue has been raised in recent days and simply to put off a general apology really doesn’t cut it. I think that is what the circumstances require. I think that she is very articulate, she is an intelligent person, and I think if that was received then it would be accepted,” he said.

Mr Robinson later added: “In terms of the role that the republican movement played...there is a requirement for a personal apology to her.”

Following the points raised in the Dail, the Sinn Fein president said he rejected the “entirely malicious and spurious allegations” made by the Taoiseach.

The Irish prime minister had accused the leadership of the IRA of a conspiracy to cover up sexual abuse, likening the group’s actions to that of the Catholic church.

Gerry Adams was also challenged to reveal if IRA rapists and paedophiles were exiled to the Irish Republic.

In response, he appealed for anyone with allegations to go to the authorities.

“To cover up child abuse is to deny the basic humanity of the victim and to shield 
the perpetrator, it is an unthinkable act of cruelty.

“Sinn Fein has not engaged in a cover-up of child abuse,” Mr Adams said.

Speaking to the BBC yesterday, Mr Robinson said: “There is a requirement for a clear apology about the way the issue was handled, forgetting about the issue of the guilt because there have been legal proceedings.”

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: “I believe Mairia Cahill was raped and, speaking personally, regret that she wasn’t able to go into a court and confront the person that she alleged raped her, in the same fashion republicans are being confronted now.

“That has to be the target, the target has to be the perpetrator, the alleged perpetrator or her rape,” he said.

The man Ms Cahill accused of rape was acquitted of criminal charges last April after she withdrew from the trial in dispute with the direction the police investigation and the Public Prosecution Service had taken in not calling a particular witness.

Ms Cahill reiterated her allegations of abuse at the time.

Charges were then also subsequently dropped against those allegedly involved in the IRA’s so-called ‘internal inquiry’.

In the wake of the controversy surrounding Ms Cahill’s allegations, an independent review of three criminal cases linked to the alleged abuse has been ordered by Northern 
Ireland’s Director of Public Prosecutions Barra McGrory.

Mr McGrory said the independent review will look at the “prosecutorial systems and processes” in relation to the three interlinked cases involving sex abuse and terrorist-related charges.

Ms Cahill said: “I felt badly let down by the justice system.”

Mr Adams admitted in an online blog posting earlier this week that the IRA had shot alleged sex abusers, insisting that its members were “singularly ill-equipped to deal with these matters”.

A solicitor representing four individuals who were charged over the IRA inquiry allegations stressed that they had all been found not guilty in court, but that their acquittals have been either ignored or devalued in recent coverage of the allegations.

He said they had faced an “unprecedented media onslaught”.

The lawyer said the Director of Public Prosecution’s review of three cases linked to the allegations was a welcome development.

Meanwhile online personal abuse directed at Mairia Cahill has been condemned by the Fianna Fail justice spokesman.

Niall Collins TD said all parties should make it clear that the cyber bullying – following her decision to go public with abuse allegations against a well-known republican – is unacceptable.

Deputy Collins said: “I am appalled by the level of abuse being directed at Mairia Cahill online.

“Mairia is clearly being targeted in a co-ordinated bullying campaign for having the bravery to speak out about her experiences.

“What Mairia is experiencing is disgraceful and is clearly designed to intimidate her and punish her for speaking out about her abuse.”

He added: “I call on the leadership of all political parties in this country to immediately condemn these attacks and assure Ms Cahill and the public that none of its members are engaged in this co-ordinated bullying campaign.”

Alex Attwood has said all those involved in the abuse of Mairia Cahill should be held accountable.

The SDLP MLA was commenting after Martin McGuinness spoke on the matter yesterday.

“All those who abused Maíria Cahill should account - the perpetrator of rape, her interrogators and those who worked to protect the IRA, not the victim.

“Martin McGuinness wilfully evades these requirements. He said ‘the target’ is the ‘alleged perpetrator’.

“He knows that this is far less than what Maíria Cahill has called for,” Mr Attwood added.