A man alleged to be a former senior commander of the Provisional IRA is expected to come before a court here in the near future after he was arrested in Spain on historic child sex abuse charges.
The man is understood to have been arrested in the Alicante area on the Costa Brava and is now facing extradition back to Ireland.
The move comes after it emerged gardaí have been investigating the claims made against the man for the past two years.
It is understood he could face four charges of sex abuse allegedly conducted against a girl in Dublin more than 20 years ago.
The victim made an official complaint to gardaí about the alleged abuse and said the perpetrator was a senior figure in the IRA.
Statements were taken from the woman and members of her family and it emerged yesterday that, last year, gardaí flew to Spain to conduct an interview at the man’s home, with his agreement. It is understood he denied the woman’s claims.
It is understood the man was not active north of the border but was part of the IRA’s southern command, with possible links to the killing of Garda Jerry McCabe in a botched raid in Adare in Co Limerick in 1996.
It was reported yesterday that the man’s arrest in Alicante had been confirmed by the National Police in Spain.
Local media reports said the arrest took place on Tuesday on foot of arrest warrants issued in a Dublin district court in January.
Those same local media reports said the man was British, indicating that he is from the North, and that the alleged sexual assaults were carried out between January 1991 and June 1993, when the victim was aged between nine and 11 years old, citing a statement from the National Police.
The arrest was carried out by agents of the Fugitive Location Group of the Judicial Police Commissioner General and a specialist crime unit based in Alicante.
It has also been claimed that the man moved to Spain a number of years ago but when he had been living here he had worked as an activist for Sinn Féin.
In a statement to the Irish Examiner last night, a spokesperson for Sinn Féin said the party is unaware of the identity of the person being extradited.
He added that any questions about the matter should be directed to the gardaí and not the party.
“There is a man before the courts in relation to this case. The gardaí and the justice system now need to get on with their work and justice must be done,” the spokesman added.
While Sinn Féin has sought to focus on its economic and social policies during the general election, it has repeatedly been forced to address a series of controversies about members and others associated with the wider republican movement throughout the campaign.
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