Woman who alleged IRA rape meets political leaders in Dublin

FF leader Martin accuses Gerry Adams of “despicable” behaviour over allegations

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has supported a victim of sexual abuse in accusing Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams of “despicable” behaviour in denying her account of conversations she had with him after her ordeal.

Belfast woman Maíria Cahill travelled to Leinster House yesterday in the wake of Tuesday night's BBC Spotlight programme in which she said she was raped by a leading republican in 1997 and later interrogated by the IRA about her case.

She met Mr Martin, who raised the issue two years ago, yesterday and last night she met Tánaiste Joan Burton.

At Leinster House after her meeting with Mr Martin, Ms Cahill told reporters she was appalled at Mr Adams's denial in an interview on RTÉ's News at One yesterday of her account of the conversations they had about her abuse allegations.

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Anonymity waived

“Gerry knows the truth. He knows I know the truth. I have been forced into the position where I have had to waive my anonymity because of his previous denials on that issue and I think that is reprehensible,” said Ms Cahill, who is a grandniece of the late IRA leader Joe Cahill.

Mr Martin said he had met Ms Cahill in 2012 and she had given him a very comprehensive account of her case.

“I think Sinn Féin and Gerry Adams have very serious questions to answer. What role did the IRA play? There clearly was an internal kangaroo court operated by the IRA to keep Maíria quiet and silent on this.”

Ms Burton said “Maíria’s story is deeply disturbing, both in the incidents she describes and in the frustrations she has experienced in seeking justice, and it raises serious questions for all of those involved.”

Mr Adams last night strongly denied he had made the comments attributed to him by Ms Cahill in the Spotlight programme.

Stephen Collins

Stephen Collins

Stephen Collins is a columnist with and former political editor of The Irish Times