A woman who claims the IRA tried to force her to keep quiet about a rape allegation against a west Belfast member of the republican group said she is being "put through further trauma today" by Sinn Féin.
Maria Cahill, who claims she was attacked and sexually abused over the course of a year in 1997 when she was 16, said it was “quite disgusting” how Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams denied her account of meetings she had with him.
She claims she was subject to a “kangaroo court” investigation into the allegations, when she was just 18, and that the IRA forced her to confront her attacker.
“I had just finished school when the IRA forced an investigation into my sexual abuse and I found that very traumatic and difficult to deal with. And I think I am being put through further trauma today by Sinn Féin representatives,” she said.
Earlier this week, in a BBC Spotlight programme, Ms Cahill claimed she met Mr Adams — a family friend — to discuss the abuse, and alleged he had made extremely insensitive remarks to her.
Mr Adams denied this and said he was “personally horrified that Maria Cahill attributed remarks to me that I did not make”. He said the allegation “is in the hands of my solicitors” and told RTÉ Radio: “I am a father, I am a grandfather. I live in the real world. I would never make the remark that was attributed to me. If I have it right, we never discussed the rape allegation. She was in some personal difficulties, presumably because of this rape allegation. There were a number of people who were concerned about her.”
Asked if she had raised concerns about the IRA inquiry at that meeting, and the fact they had allegedly forced her to meet the rapist, he said: “No she did not.” He said “when it later transpired” she had allegedly been abused, he told her great-uncle, Joe Cahill — a senior IRA member — to tell her to report the abuse to the RUC.
But Ms Cahill rejected this assertion. She said there are others who have been treated in the same way.
Asked if that was how the IRA did business at the time, Mr Adams said: “I can’t comment on that, but it shouldn’t have.”
BBC reported that Ms Cahill went to police and a case was brought against the alleged rapist. She later withdrew evidence and all charges were dropped and the accused was acquitted.
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