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Saturday 10 June 2023 Dublin: 17°C
# ira abuse claims
Micheál Martin: I know Gerry Adams was a former chief of staff of the IRA
The Fianna Fáil leader made the comment in the Dáil as new abuse claims will be broadcast on BBC Spotlight this evening.

BBC Northern Ireland / YouTube

Updated 8.05pm

FIANNA FÁIL LEADER Micheál Martin has said that he knows Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams was a former chief of staff of the IRA.

Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon, Martin made the claim in the course of a discussion on new claims in a BBC Spotlight programme airing tonight in.

Paudie McGahon will tell his story of an incident where he claims he was raped by a member of the IRA when he was 17 and later subjected to a ‘kangaroo court’.

Adams earlier told the Dáil that when this case was brought to the attention of local representatives, ”I am assured that the victims of the alleged abuse were advised in person and writing to go to An Garda Síochána”, and noted that there is currently an investigation ongoing.

Paudie McGahon clearly feels badly let down. Nothing that I may say will change this but it is a matter of deep regret to me.

“I have previously acknowledged that the actions of republicans in the past in dealing with allegations of sexual abuse were inadequate and inappropriate,” Adams added, and said all victims of abuse should be supported to access the justice system and social services.

Gerry Adams Dail Scenes Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

Discussing the set-up of “mechanisms” to help overcome the fear of retribution among abuse survivors, Martin told the Dáil:

I’m under no illusions, despite what has been said, that Deputy Adams would be very well aware of the mechanisms, the procedures, by which the IRA dealt with all of these. Because he said it himself. And…I don’t know whether the Ceann Comhairle will say I’m making allegations if I say I know he was a former chief of staff of the IRA… It just, sort of, beggars belief that he would come forward here and pretend I know nothing about this…

Earlier in the course of the debate the Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett warned TDs to be careful when making allegations.

“I can’t allow a situation where Question Time is being turned into a sort of semi-court, and allegations are being made…of various acts taking place. Just be careful would you please? Because it’s extremely difficult to chair a situation like this,” he said.

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What’s in the Spotlight programme

McGahon’s story has emerged almost five months after Mairia Cahill’s earth-shattering allegations on abuse she claims to have suffered at the hands of the IRA, and the ensuing handling of this by Sinn Féin.

In the Spotlight programme, due to be broadcast this evening at 10.45pm on BBC One NI, McGahon will tell his story of an incident where he claims he was raped by a member of the IRA when he was 17.

He said the incident took place at his Co Louth home while it was being used as a safe house by Republicans, and he was told to not to reveal it to anyone.

“[The abuser] says ‘listen to me, if you ever open your mouth about this to anybody you’ll be found on the border roads’,” McGahon told the BBC.

Because of this intimidation, the incident wasn’t reported to the gardaí, and he never sought medical attention following the attack.

Similar to Mairia Cahill’s case, McGahon claims he was subject to a kangaroo court in his home when a member of Sinn Féin discovered he had broken his silence on the incident in 2002.


The man later admitted to several other incidents of abuse to the IRA. He was eventually sent to England, but one option that was put to McGahon was that the men would get ‘a bullet in the back of his head’, it is alleged.

The ‘kangaroo court’ hearing was reportedly chaired by Padraic Wilson, who in a statement this afternoon rejected the allegation.

“I do not know nor have I ever met Mr McGahon,” he said, “I have had no dealings whatsoever with the man he alleges raped him.”

As a victim of alleged abuse Mr McGahon has every right to have his allegations pursued through due process. But I refute entirely the allegations that he has made against me. They are completely baseless and untrue. “I am concerned that media outlets and political leaders are repeating these allegations as fact when they are without foundation.

Wilson added that he has previously offered to be voluntarily questioned by gardaí on the matter, and this remains his position.

North-south cooperation

Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon, the Taoiseach said Martin McGuinness’s suggestion that an all-Ireland inquiry be set up is “not as simple as it might look” as there are different laws in each jurisdiction.

However, he said he would be happy to discuss the issue with him further, noting: “There is not and there should not be a hiding place for abusers.”

Kenny said he hasn’t discussed the abuse with David Cameron or Peter Robinson, as “justice and policing matters are not covered in north south ministerial framework”.

He noted that Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has discussed the issue with her counterpart in Northern Ireland David Ford, and that An Garda Síochána is liaising with the PSNI.

A spokesperson for Gerry Adams later said that the Taoiseach has not responded to three letters from McGuinness about an all-Ireland inquiry, adding that the Sinn Féin MLA is concerned about “the lack of engagement” from Kenny.

Martin said McGahon came to him, not the other way around, adding that victims coming forward is not political.

‘Spectacular distractions’

Speaking to reporters this morning, Martin said Sinn Féin’s decision to withdraw support from the welfare reform bill in Northern Ireland was “inexplicable”.

Albert Reynolds Has Died Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

Martin suggested the move was an attempt to distract from the BBC Spotlight programme.

There’s a tendency of Sinn Féin when negative material comes their way, they have a habit of fairly spectacular distractions and we’ve seen that in recent times.

Martin then referenced Mary Lou’s four-hour sit-in the Dáil the day after a debate on Cahill’s claims, and Adams calling Unionists “b**tards”.

: Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams delive Stephen Kilkenny / Photocall Ireland Stephen Kilkenny / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

“I think [Gerry Adams'] credibility is in tatters on this issue and many other issues. Sinn Féin have a fundamental problem in telling the truth,” Martin stated.

He added that the ”tsunami of untruth and smears” remark made by Adams in his Ard Fheis address on Saturday was “directly a hit at Mairia Cahill”.

Martin, who has met McGahon, said the programme will show that people at “the very highest level” of Sinn Féin and the IRA covered up abuse.


Adams released a statement this afternoon, dismissing Martin’s comments as “ridiculous” and “misleading”

The comments by Micheál Martin has again demonstrated his scandalous use of allegations of abuse for party political ends. He also has a tendency to make the most ridiculous and misleading comments on the workings of the institutions in the north.

Sinn Féin’s leader said his party had “sought to resolve the issue of the DUP reneging on their welfare commitments in the preceding week and over the Ard Fheis”.

“The DUP refused to honour the agreement on welfare and Sinn Féin had no option but to block the legislation on Monday.”

Additional reporting by Órla Ryan, Hugh O’Connell and Dan MacGuill

Originally published: 10.13am

Gerry Adams: I’ve given the guards names of alleged IRA sex offenders