Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said there was "no possibility" of him resigning as head of the party following controversy over the handling of sex abuse claims within the republican movement.
Mr Adams said he still does not know if rape victim Maíria Cahill was subject to an internal “kangaroo-court”-style inquiry and forced to face her alleged abuser, as the 33-year-old Belfast woman claims.
While accepting she was raped, Mr Adams said Ms Cahill had “put words into my mouth that I never said, and said things about me which are incorrect”.
Mr Adams said those things have been “repeated and embellished and added to by others for party political purposes”.
He said: “Any republicans — and I’m one of them — who tried to work with Maíria Cahill did so in a well-intentioned way, to help her.”
Ms Cahill claims she was raped in 1997, at the age of 16, by a suspected IRA member. She told a BBC documentary the IRA covered up her abuse, and claimed she discussed her abuse allegations with Mr Adams — which he denies.
Mr Adams, who wrote in his blog on October 20 that the IRA occasionally shot or expelled alleged sex offenders, yesterday said he did not know where such offenders were expelled to. Asked on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland where they were sent, he said this was a matter of widespread public knowledge by others, including RTÉ, and that “anyone who has any information whatsoever, and if I had any information I would bring it to the Garda Síochána or the PSNI”.
He insisted his handling of the controversy was not a resigning matter. “There is no possibility of me resigning on this issue. I have a responsibility to those who elected me, I have a mandate. I behaved at all times properly and I will continue to do so.”
He said his party “makes mistakes and is not perfect” but there were smears against him and Sinn Féin “without any substance whatsoever”.
“Any suggestion or innuendo or indeed assertion that I or the party which I’m very proud to be part of was involved in any cover up whatsoever, is entirely wrong,” said Mr Adams.
Speaking on Newstalk Radio, the party’s deputy leader Mary Lou Mc Donald said it was not accurate to say the IRA moved people. “What happened was a form of very rough justice, in circumstances where there were allegations of sexual violence or abuse, the IRA did on occasion shoot people, kneecap them and told them to leave,” she said. “It’s not a case of moving, they were told to leave.”
Asked if they went south of the border, she said she could not answer.
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