Sinn Fein MP apologises for offence caused by tweet

A screenshot of Francie Molloy's tweet, which has since been deleted
A screenshot of Francie Molloy's tweet, which has since been deleted

Sinn Fein MP Francie Molloy has this morning “apologised” for any offence caused by a social media post, which referred to a BBC programme last night.

Referring to the BBC Spotlight programme on alleged sex abuse carried out by an IRA man, Mr Molloy posted: “Another load of rubbish on spotlight tonight. Joint Indo bluesh...production”.

The online post has since been removed.

Prior to his apology the Mid-Ulster MP told the Tyrone Times that the tweet was “no reflection on anyone in the programme or on anyone who has been the victim of abuse”.

The high profile Sinn Fein MP described the Spotlight programme as “theatrical” and insisted the tweet was made in relation to its creators and the “dramatics” surrounding its broadcast.

“If a person is making their case about suffering abuse, I support their right to do that”, Mr Molloy continued.

Asked whether he could understand that victims of sexual abuse may be upset at his tweet, Mr Molloy added: “On reflection, I do accept that it could have been misinterpreted. However, that was never my intention.”

The tweet, had been slammed as “disgusting” by Mairia Cahill, whose sex abuse claims against a leading republican were broadcast in a previous Spotlight programme.

This morning Ms Cahill said a public apology to the alleged victim in the latest programme, Paudie McGahon from Co Louth, was needed “immediately”.

Later in a Sinn Fein statement, Mr Molloy said: “I apologise for any offence my post caused to Paudie McGahon or any victim of abuse.

“I hope that justice is served and the appropriate support delivered to Mr McGahon.

“Sinn Féin’s priority is to support victims of abuse whether that abuse is historical or contemporary and we will support victims in their efforts to get truth and justice.

“There is a currently a Garda investigation into these allegations.

“These matters are best dealt with in the justice system rather than trial by television and it is my hope that justice will be done.”