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Gerry Adams: 'Sinn Féin has not covered up abuse at any level'

The Sinn Féin President said he never doubted that Mairia Cahill suffered abuse.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

GERRY ADAMS HAS apologised to victims of abuse and critised opposition parties in a keynote speech in Belfast today following a week of controversy.

Sinn Féin has come under criticism by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil after Mairia Cahill claimed she was raped by a member of the IRA when she was 16 in a BBC Spotlight documentary.

She also alleges that the IRA held a “kangaroo court” over the abuse claims, in an effort to prevent a police investigation.

The Sinn Féin President said “Sinn Féin has not engaged in any cover-up of abuse at any level of this party.

The accusation is a vile slur on thousands of decent, upstanding republican people right across this island.

“Maíria Cahill has made serious allegations against myself and named Sinn Féin members. While I am very mindful of the trauma she has suffered – I and the others she has named reject those allegations.”

He added that “the IRA was not equipped to deal with these difficult matters.

IRA actions failed victims of abuse. As Uacharáin Shinn Féin I have acknowledged that. I am sorry for that. And I apologise for that.

On the attack

Adams criticised the reaction of opposition political parties, saying, “The allegations made by Mairia Cahill have been seized upon in the most cynical, calculated and opportunistic way by our political opponents.

Their aim has little to do with helping victims of abuse, but everything to do with furthering their own narrow political agendas.

However, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin says Gerry Adams still has questions to answer as to how his party and the IRA dealt with allegations of sex abuse within their own ranks.

“Adams opted to use his speech this morning to attack his political opponents for continuing to pursue the truth, and demand answers about the manner in which sex abuse allegations were handled by members of the IRA and Sinn Féin.

This vain attempt to deflect attention from the cover-ups within those organisations, which are now emerging is sickening.

“It is unacceptable and reprehensible that he has failed to address these important issues.”

Deputy Adams also attacked certain sections of the media over their treatment of the controversy.

Some sections of the media …have taken these allegations against Sinn Féin, added to them, and reported them as fact.

“They speculate with ill-concealed glee about how much damage this controversy will do to me and Sinn Féin.

He added, “I am calling on any former IRA Volunteers, who may have any information about any allegations of sexual abuse to pass this on to the appropriate authorities.”

Originally published 15:30

Read: Solicitors for group accused by Maíria Cahill claim Enda is holding ‘kangaroo courts’>

Read: Mairía Cahill blog allegations ‘shameful and cruel’>

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