herald

Thursday 19 October 2017

Tanaiste rounds on Sinn Fein over moving abusers

Tanaiste and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton
Tanaiste and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton
Mairia Cahill

Tanaiste Joan Burton has said it "won't wash" for Sinn Fein to claim it has no knowledge of sex offenders being moved from Northern Ireland to the Republic.

She has accused the Republican movement of "effectively mimicking" the actions of the Catholic Church by moving alleged abusers around.

Ms Burton was speaking after it emerged that as many as 10 men were moved south of the border following allegations of rape and abuse against children.

ALLEGATIONS

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein saw its support slump by 3pc in an opinion poll carried out after Mairia Cahill's allegations about the handling of her rape emerged two weeks ago.

"It won't wash for Sinn Fein to now say they have no knowledge of alleged sex offenders being moved from the North," Ms Burton told the Herald.

"Gerry Adams admits in his blog that the IRA expelled some alleged abusers - but doesn't say to where. This raises serious and urgent questions about whether the republican movement placed, or continues to place, children at harm in the Republic or elsewhere by effectively mimicking the actions of the Church in moving alleged abusers around," she said.

Ms Burton said the safety and well-being of the child is paramount, and any organisation in this situation must ensure the alleged abuser is removed from any contact with children and the matter reported to the appropriate authorities.

Sinn Fein saw its support drop to 20pc in a poll carried out by the Sunday Business Post over three days last week.

A spokesman for Taoiseach Enda Kenny last night said the burden of responsibility for answering questions rests with Gerry Adams.

"Since his story has changed significantly in the last week, it is difficult to give credence to anything he says. It is not plausible to say he knows nothing," the spokesman said.

Fianna Fail TD Timmy Dooley raised the political pressure on Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, calling on him to clarify where such alleged abusers are living now.

"Last week Gerry Adams said he accepted the IRA were ill-equipped to deal with this issue. He said that people were shot and that people were displaced," he said.

"So clearly he knows that that happened. Who was shot? who was moved? And where were they moved to? What parishes are they now living in? Are children at risk as a result of the displacement carried out at the hands of the IRA," he added.

Sinn Fein councillor and senior party advisor Eoin O Broin called on Mr Adams to reveal information, if he has any, about the expulsion of alleged sex offenders from Northern Ireland.

OUTRAGE

"If I had information about any of this at any time during my 20 years as a Sinn Fein activist, I would have brought that forward," Mr O Broin said. "Anyone with any information should reveal that to the relevant authorities."

His party colleague Cavan TD Caomhghin O Caolain said that if Mairia Cahill was confronted by her abuser, as she has alleged, then "it was an outrage".

Mr O Caolain said there is "no question that she has been through a horrendous experience", but denied there was a cover-up by Sinn Fein. Asked if he believed she was raped, Mr O Caolain said: "She has said so, there seems to be a consensus that something along those lines took place."

"There can be no hiding place here for those who were abusers. We have to be saying this clearly," he said.

SEE PAGE 14

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