herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Mairia Cahill left 'vilified' as blogger labels rape 'sexual liaison'

22/10/2014 Mairia Cahill speaking to media following a meeting with Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD outside Government Buildings, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
22/10/2014 Mairia Cahill speaking to media following a meeting with Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD outside Government Buildings, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

MAIRIA Cahill has been subject to "appalling" online abuse from individuals who claim she is responsible for her alleged rape at the hands of a suspected IRA figure.

Ms Cahill says she has been "vilified" by internet users who have taunted the Belfast woman over her rape allegations.

"I have been vilified by people online, one of whom claimed I enticed my rapist," Ms Cahill told the Herald.

It emerged yesterday that a man, who is believed to have been involved in Mairia Cahill's kangaroo court hearing, has lent his support to a blog which describes her alleged rape ordeal as "a year-long sexual liaison".

Seamus Finucane, a leading member of the IRA at the time of the forced inquiry into Ms Cahill's ordeal, was allegedly one of the men who forced her into a confrontation with her alleged rapist.

Yesterday, he shared a blog on his Facebook page which described the alleged rapist as a man "whom many a 16-year-old would likely fancy".

He posted the link to a blog by a writer who calls himself "Ruaidri Ua Conchobai" and who pens a regular blog on Northern Irish affairs under the title "Belfast Child".

In his scandalous article, the author wonders whether what happened between Ms Cahill and her alleged abuser was in fact a "year-long clandestine sexual relations between these two people ignited by a lawful but 'a few cans of beer' induced seduction by a silver-tongued, musically talented, IRA-powerful type of charmer whom many a 16 year-old would likely fancy... it's possible but I don't know, do you?".

In a statement last night, a spokesperson for Sinn Fein said the party "condemns any such vilification or online abuse and calls on anyone engaging in this type of behaviour to desist."

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein politicians have expressed deep unease about Gerry Adams's handling of the Mairia Cahill affair but insist that his position as party leader remains secure.

unrest

Mr Adams has spent this week meeting TDs and senators in an attempt to quell the growing internal unrest over the IRA sexual abuse scandal.

For the first time since taking over the leadership of Sinn Fein in the Republic, Mr Adams's authority and judgement have been seriously questioned.

The public outrage over the treatment of Ms Cahill, and the blatant attempts by the party leadership to discredit her story, have unsettled Sinn Fein politicians at all levels.

A number of TDs said they have been contacted by constituents critical of Sinn Fein's handling of the affair, while other party sources said they believe Mr Adams has been left damaged internally.

hnews@herald.ie

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