Kenny vows action for IRA abuse victims

Gerry Adams: McGuinness has three times sought mechanism.

Enda Kenny has agreed a mechanism is needed to protect victims of Republican abuse and said he is willing to discuss a cross-border process with British prime minister David Cameron.

The Taoiseach’s comments came as pressure intensifies on Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams to answer questions about fresh claims his party covered up the rape of a boy by the IRA.

A BBC Spotlight programme last night revealed how Paudie McGahon was raped, aged 17, at his home in Louth in the early 1990s by a senior IRA figure. The victim said he was later subjected to a “kangaroo court”.

The claim follows similar allegations last year by rape victim Mairia Cahill.

Mr McGahon said he reported the rapeto a Sinn Féin representative in Louth in 2002 but was brought to a secret court.

He says he was from a Republican home which gave IRA members refuge.

The IRA figure threatened Mr McGahon to keep the abuse secret, he says.

“He says: ‘Listen to me, if you ever open your mouth about this to anybody you’ll be found on the border roads,’ ” Mr McGahon told the programme.

The IRA members offered either to shoot dead the abuser or send him abroad.

The fresh claim raises questions about the Republican movement’s handling of child sex abuse within its ranks and how Sinn Féin has addressed these.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin told the Dáil that some sort of mechanism was needed to help victims of Republican abuse now starting to come forward.

“These people who come forward have been afraid for a long time,” said Mr Martin. “They are afraid of the IRA and the IRA community.”

Mr Kenny responded that two law authorities in the North were carrying out inquiries into how abuse claims had been handled. Furthermore, justice ministers from both jurisdictions were examining how an inquiry could be held.

He added:“I can discuss this with Prime Minister Cameron, not on the individual cases but in terms of whether there is a mechanism through which we can deal with this, when criminal investigations cease, on the basis of support, encouragement, mentoring and protection.

“We have to devise a mechanism to support that courage and protect people, while at the same time allowing criminal investigations to take place so that the courts can do their duty whenever that becomes necessary.”

Mr Adams said Sinn Fein’s deputy first minister in the North, Martin McGuinness, had written to Mr Kenny three times seeking some manner of cross-border mechanism. He said any Republican who had been an abuser did not represent those who had fought for the Republican cause over a long period in history.

He said: “I have also read in the media that allegations made by a Co Louth man, Paudie McGahon, are to be rehearsed in a television programme this evening.

“The agencies to deal with allegations of abuse are An Garda Síochána, the Police Service of Northern Ireland, and social services. From what I have read, Mr McGahon feels badly let down.”


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