herald

Tuesday 24 October 2017

I didn't read Mairia blog before posting it, says ex-IRA man

Mairia Cahill
Mairia Cahill

A FORMER IRA man believed to have been involved in Mairia Cahill's kangaroo court hearing has claimed he didn't read a controversial blog post, which suggested she wasn't raped, before it was shared on his Facebook page.

Seamus Finucane, who was allegedly one of the men that forced her to confront her alleged rapist, claimed he "did not endorse" suggestions within the blog post that Ms Cahill engaged in a "year-long clandestine sexual relationship" and that described her alleged rapist as a man "whom many a 16-year-old would likely fancy".

Mr Finucane stated that he "did not read the blog apart from the title" before it was shared on his Facebook page. The blog post sparked outrage when it was posted last week.

"A seven-page blog was posted to my Facebook page. I was not the creator of that blog. I did not read the blog at that time apart from the title," Mr Finucane told the Herald.

"It was brought to my attention later that this blog contained references to Mairia Cahill and a 'year-long clandestine sexual relationship'. I was not aware of this as I had not read the blog in full. I immediately read the blog in full and removed it from my Facebook page as I did not and would not endorse those sentiments."

The blog was posted by a writer claiming to be called Ruaidri Ua Conchobai, who pens a regular blog on Northern Irish affairs under the title 'Belfast Child'.

Sinn Fein also moved quickly to distance itself from the claims, with deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald stating: "The assertion in that blog is shameful and cruel and should not be posted anywhere by anyone."

This came after Ms Cahill directly challenged Ms McDonald on Twitter, asking: "Will you condemn Finucane for doing this and apologise to me now?"

Since her allegations came to light in an episode of the BBC's Spotlight programme, Ms Cahill has claimed to have been subjected to a smear campaign by members of Sinn Fein.

In a speech delivered on Saturday, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said Ms Cahill had made "serious allegations" against him and named party members, adding: "I and the others she has named reject those allegations."

Ms Cahill said Mr Adams must "publicly apologise for the way in which his party has treated me in the last week".

hnews@herald.ie

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