Mairia Cahill: IRA accused refuse to meet Irish PM

Enda Kenny had agreed to the meeting on Wednesday
Enda Kenny had agreed to the meeting on Wednesday

Alleged former IRA members have refused to meet with the Taoiseach over the Mairia Cahill controversy.

Peter Madden, solicitor for the four who have been accused of carrying out a Provo investigation into the alleged rape of Ms Cahill, said he advised his clients against a meeting because of Enda Kenny’s “highly prejudicial” remarks on the case.

In a letter to the Taoiseach, the Belfast-based lawyer accuses the Fine Gael leader of giving inaccurate briefings to the media about the row and of ignoring ongoing legal processes.

Mr Madden represents four people who were accused of membership of the IRA as a result of Ms Cahill’s allegations, but all charges against them were dropped after prosecutors offered no evidence.

Ms Cahill, 33, whose great uncle Joe Cahill was a founder of the Provisional IRA, accused another alleged IRA member of raping her in Belfast in 1997 and claims the movement helped cover up the abuse.

The man has denied the abuse and was acquitted of all charges against him.

After heated exchanges about the resurfaced row in the Dail, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams asked Mr Kenny to meet four people accused by Ms Cahill of having carried out a “kangaroo court” into her alleged rape.

The Taoiseach, who has already met with Ms Cahill, on Wednesday agreed to meet with the four.

But in a letter sent on Thursday, solicitor Mr Madden insists no such meeting will happen “at this stage”.

“I note that you, or a spokesperson for your office, contacted the media on Wednesday October 29 with regard to a proposed meeting,” writes Mr Madden to Mr Kenny.

“Both the comments attributed to you and media reporting are again highly prejudicial and inaccurate.

“Given your approach to this matter, my clients have today confirmed that they see no point in meeting, at this stage, with you given your rush to judgment and your setting aside of the court finding and legal processes.”

Mr Madden concludes: “On my advice they are declining to meet with you.”

Ms Cahill’s allegations were originally exposed in the now defunct Sunday Tribune newspaper in January 2010.

A BBC Spotlight programme on the same allegations earlier this month has brought the claims back into the political arena.

Both Fine Gael and Fianna Fail have insisted Sinn Fein leader Mr Adams and the republican movement have questions to answer over the controversy, including claims alleged IRA abusers were moved across the border into the Republic.

Sinn Fein has accused their opponents of using the allegations to score political points against the party, as its popularity soars in the opinion polls.

An independent review has been launched into three prosecution cases linked to Ms Cahill’s allegations, to be headed up by human rights lawyer Sir Keir Starmer, a former director of public prosecutions for England and Wales.