herald

Thursday 13 December 2018

Sinead reveals SF sex abuse in letter to Mairia

Sinead O'Connor
Sinead O'Connor
Mairia Cahill

Singer Sinead O'Connor has revealed that she was repeatedly sexually molested as a child by a member of Sinn Fein.

The star made the revelation in an open letter to Belfast woman Mairia Cahill, who has told how she was raped as a teenager and later interrogated by the IRA.

Ms Cahill described feeling "so depressed" when singer Sinead announced that she was joining Sinn Fein last week.

However, she revealed she had spoken to the singer on the phone on Saturday.

"I had thought before this phonecall that maybe my experiences at the hands of the IRA and Sinn Fein had escaped her. I know after speaking to her that she was not fully aware of this issue. I welcomed the opportunity to explain it to her, and also listen to her views," she said.

"I felt like I had been kicked this week. It's been a tough few months and I imagined someone like Sinead would stand up for those victims of abuse.

"I know now after speaking to her that she intends to do that, though I am still mystified at how she is going to reconcile the issue in her head as she strives to make a difference from within," Mairia said.

"Sinead is not known for keeping her mouth shut. Sinn Fein are not known for their advocacy of free thinking. It's bound to end in tears. I hope she doesn't get hurt.

"I wish Sinead all the best with whatever she does in her life, because I know that she is passionate about whatever she chooses to stand for.

"I hope she continues to stand for all victims of abuse no matter who the perpetrators, and manages to achieve her vision of Sinn Fein - minus those people who have been complicit in the cover up of abuse," she added.

In her open letter to Mairia explaining why she has joined Sinn Fein, O'Connor wrote: "I deplore what happened to you and I can understand why you would find it upsetting that someone like myself would join Sinn Fein.

"I assure you I have not changed my personality overnight and as someone who has put her career on the line for 30 years as an advocate for child protection, the very first thing I did when I applied to join the party was state publicly that the elders of the party whose faces are associated with frightening things and who are associated with either the carrying out or the covering up of sexual crimes or other crimes should stand down - so that Sinn Fein can get back to what it was intended to be after 1916."

dead

The singer said that she was "repeatedly sexually molested as a child in the 1970s by a member of Sinn Fein".

"And I am certain I was not the only victim of that man, who is now dead."

Meanwhile, she has sought a meeting with party leader Gerry Adams to discuss the "creation of a new country" and "a private matter".

She said this is an issue she has not previously discussed publicly. O'Connor revealed that she had joined the party in a Facebook post last Monday.

fdillon@herald.ie

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