Mairia Cahill condemns meeting with Sinn Fein leader over abuse claims

Mairia Cahill has said her meeting with Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald about her treatment by the party in recent years was 'potentially a waste of time' for both women.
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Ms Cahill, a great-niece of prominent Belfast republican Joe Cahill, says she was sexually abused as a 16-year-old by alleged IRA member Martin Morris.

Mr Morris, who denied all wrongdoing, was acquitted of rape when the case against him collapsed.

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Ms Cahill alleges that the republican movement’s response to her claims was to subject her to an IRA interrogation.

Mairia Cahill outside Buswells Hotel in Dublin after her meeting with Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald.Mairia Cahill outside Buswells Hotel in Dublin after her meeting with Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald.
Mairia Cahill outside Buswells Hotel in Dublin after her meeting with Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald.

She also accused Sinn Fein of engaging in a -cover up and waging a campaign to question her integrity since she waived her right to anonymity.

An Ombudsman report revealed the PSNI’s view of the investigation - including that it did not expect cooperation from Sinn Fein members during the police interviews, something the party always denied.

Speaking after the meeting with Ms McDonald at Leinster House, Ms Cahill said she had even lower expectations for the party than ever; “if that’s humanly possible”.

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“I don’t feel like I have been treated with the respect I should have been afforded as a sexual abuse victim,” she said.

“She [Ms McDonald] has asserted that she can’t admit there was an IRA investigation, so she said that she believed I was abused based on the strength of that there were three alleged victims that came forward.

“I asserted that if she believed that I was abused on the basis of other victims, she should also believe there was an IRA investigation as I was not the only person who said there was, but she didn’t have an answer for that.

“I feel I have been treated despicably by the Sinn Fein party, people who are now in prominent positions in Sinn Fein.

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Mary Lou McDonald says she hasn’t spoken to them about this which I find incredible, she didn’t seem to be across my case - and for someone in a leadership position that’s flabbergasting.

“I don’t want to be unkind to her, she retracted a statement where she said I had slurred the party.

“She said she felt sad that this happened, but sad is an understatement for me, I live with this every day, and I never thought this meeting would compensate me for what happened to me.

“At the very least she could have said that she believed me about what happened to me and she didn’t have the decency to do that.”

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A statement from Ms McDonald said the conversation was candid and lengthy.

“I reiterated my unreserved apology and deep regret that procedures for the mandatory reporting of abuse allegations were not in place at the time of Mairia’s disclosure,” she said.

“I acknowledged the hurt and pain that Mairia has been through and I stressed to her that robust procedures for the handling of abuse allegations are now in place.”

Ms Cahill added she is still in contact with her solicitor and exploring other avenues regarding her case.