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File photo. Mairia Cahill.
File photo. Mairia Cahill.
Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

The Guardian apologises to Mairia Cahill over Greenslade columns

Earlier this year, Greenslade wrote an article describing himself as having “republican sympathies”.
May 14th 2021, 4:57 PM 14,501 0

THE GUARDIAN NEWSPAPER has today published an apology to Mairia Cahill over two articles written by its former columnist Roy Greenslade.

In its apology, the Guardian said that Greenslade “failed to disclose his support for the Provisional IRA” when he criticised a BBC Spotlight NI programme which covered the alleged sexual abuse of Mairia Cahill in the late 1990s.

In a statement today, Cahill said she noted the Guardian’s apology and said she thanked her lawyers for securing it. 

Cahill, the great-niece of prominent republican Joe Cahill, said in 2014 that she was sexually abused as a 16-year-old by an alleged member of the IRA.

The person she accused denies all wrongdoing, and was acquitted of rape when the case against him collapsed.

Cahill received an apology from the Northern Ireland public prosecution service in 2015 over the way her case was handled.

In 2014, Greenslade wrote two columns which referenced the BBC programme which featured details of her case.

In February this year, Greenslade described himself as having “republican sympathies” in an article for the Sunday Times.

Cahill then questioned the nature of an apology written by the former editor of the Guardian following this admission

In its statement today, the Guardian said: “In October and November 2014, the Guardian published two articles by Roy Greenslade entitled “BBC programme on IRA rape allegations flawed by lack of political balance” and “Demonisation of Gerry Adams a consequence of Ireland’s ‘media bubble’”, which remained on its website until 14 March 2021.

These opinion pieces criticised a BBC Spotlight NI programme which featured the sexual abuse of Mairia Cahill in the late 1990s, when she was 16, and questioned Ms Cahill’s possible political agenda in going public with her story. Mr Greenslade failed to disclose his support for the Provisional IRA and the Guardian now acknowledges that the articles cast doubt on the motivations of Ms Cahill and apologises for the distress which was caused to her.

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In a statement, Cahill said: “I note the Guardian apology in relation to their former blogger Roy Greenslade’s articles on me, following earlier removal of those articles from their site.

“Their apology speaks for itself. For my part, I wish to thank my lawyers for securing this apology which, along with damages goes some way to recognise the harm caused and compensate for the hurt and distress caused to me.”

Cahill also praised the BBC documentary and said that, going forward, she would continue to campaign on sexual and domestic abuse and “engage with people across all communities in Northern Ireland to end the harm caused by paramilitary violence in order to make it a better place to live”. 

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Sean Murray

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