herald

Monday 23 October 2017

Gerry O'Carroll: Sex abuse scandal shows us how Sinn Fein would govern if voters elect them

Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness
Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness
Brendan O'Connor Noel Gallagher
Bishop Kevin Doran

The dust had barely settled on Mairia Cahill's sex abuse allegations when a second victim came forward.

Sinn Fein stands reeling this week by more claims of sex abuse on the part of an IRA member.

The latest claims have been made by Louth man Paudie McGahon, who has stated that he was raped at the age of 17 by a senior Republican, in McGahon's own home.

McGahon also says that he was ordered to appear before an IRA kangaroo court, where the IRA offered to kill or exile his abuser. This young man's ordeal at the hands of his attacker and his subsequent treatment at the hands of the IRA leadership mirrors in many respects Mairia Cahill's terrible ordeal.

She was raped as a child in a house by a senior IRA member. When she sought help she was also subjected to the humiliation of being forced to take part in an IRA court of inquiry, facing her abuser.

The latest allegations, on the part of Paudie McGahon, have once again placed a spotlight in the issue of child abuse by members of the IRA.

How many other victims are set to come forward in the coming weeks, months and years?

Much of the fallout from the McGahon claims have focused on Sinn Fein party president Gerry Adams (above), who is under pressure. Adams was aware of the abuse in 2009 but chose not to report it to gardai.

Adams has slipped into his Pontius Pilate mode, attempting to wash his hands of further involvement in the case and stating that it's a matter for gardai to investigate.

It is simply not credible that Adams, the most senior Republican on this island, was not aware of the extent and scope of the involvement of IRA volunteers in child sex abuse cases on both sides of the Border.

We know that Mr Adams received a list that contained the names of alleged child sex abusers and rapists from the ranks of the IRA. But he must have known more before this.

After all, those IRA sex abusers and rapists who were found guilty by internal IRA 'nutting squads' were banished from the country.

It is a strange irony that the Republican movement now faces the same allegation that Sinn Fein once levelled against the Catholic church, that of 'exporting' those suspected of child sex abuse crimes.

For all their surface unity I have no doubt that Sinn Fein is in internal crisis over this child sex abuse cover-up scandal.

The party's public statements of compassion to the likes of Cahill and McGahon have rang hollow. Their assurances of cooperation with gardai and the PSNI is, to my mind, an exercise in damage limitation after the fact. If a poll last weekend - which saw Sinn Fein drop 3pc - is anything to go by, it's clear that this scandal is damaging the party.

Perhaps voters are now having their eyes opened to the vista of how Sinn Fein would operate if it were in government?

 

Scrapping The Saturday Night Show is another baffling RTE bigwig decision

I WAS surprised and disappointed to read that Brendan O'Connor is to lose his Saturday night RTE TV slot.

2015-03-16_opi_7831012_I1.JPG
Brendan O'Connor Noel Gallagher

Brendan O'Connor and Noel Gallagher

I'm sure that I'm not the only one. Pat Kenny, for one, has expressed his surprise that O'Connor is being sidelined in favour of Ray D'Arcy. Kenny described the move as a "gamble".

He may well be right. D'Arcy hasn't hosted a premier television show in years.

Now he's a consummate radio broadcaster and I've no doubt he'll do a professional job on Saturday nights.

Nonetheless I am baffled by the RTE bigwigs' decision to appoint him, moving O'Connor to a midweek TV slot next year.

It's all the more baffling given that The Saturday Night Show was such a success.

In fact, it had recently eclipsed the viewership of the cherished Late, Late Show on one weekend. Could protecting the sacred Friday night cow have had anything to do with the O'Connor move?

The fact that Larry Masterson, the executive producer of O'Connor's show, is moving over to inject such life into The Late, Late Show is an indication that RTE chiefs are focused on shoring up Friday nights.

Still, it's something of a mystery why O'Connor was forced to make way. D'Arcy was hardly a wet week in his new weekday radio slot when this news was announced. So why the rush to give him a primetime weekend TV slot?

The cynic in me suggests this might be to further justify D'Arcy's paycheck - details of which are still not known, though you and I are paying it.

Looking forward though at least we have the good news that O'Connor is working on his new midweek show.

Will that outshine The Late, Late Show's figures? That could lead to some awkward conversations in the Montrose canteen...

 

Hero

US MARINE staff sergeant Liam Flynn, who was originally from Clane, Co Kildare, died last week in a helicopter crash in Florida. Liam served in Iraq and Afghanistan and had won several medals and honours. What a fine Irishman. My sympathies to his family, friends and colleagues.

Zero

The Bishop of Elphin Dr Kevin Doran produced an extraordinary outburst on radio when he stated that gay couples with children were not parents. Did he have any idea how hurtful such remarks are? Doran apologised afterwards but the damage was long done at that point.

 

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