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Archbishop on IRA sex offenders: "Let the truth come out"

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has admitted the IRA “on occasion shot alleged sex offenders” – adding that the actions were “not appropriate” but “of their time”.

Maíria Cahill prior to her meeting with Enda Kenny at Government Buildings.
Maíria Cahill prior to her meeting with Enda Kenny at Government Buildings.
Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

THE ARCHBISHOP OF Dublin has said authorities need to establish the truth about how the republican movement dealt with alleged sex offenders.

Diarmuid Martin was asked to respond to Gerry Adams’s article earlier this week about how the IRA dealt with the issue.

The Sinn Féin leader said in a blog post that the group “on occasion shot alleged sex offenders or expelled them”.

He said the actions were “not appropriate” but were “of their time and reflected not only a community at war but also an attitude within Ireland which did not then understand or know as we now do, how deeply embedded abuse is in our society”.

Asked specifically about that assertion in a Morning Ireland interview, Martin said that Irish communities had been aware of the issue of sexual abuse and pedophilia for generations.

He said that, when he met with victims and parents of victims of clerical sexual abuse, “they knew it was wrong”.

Parents came to bishops and said, ‘I don’t want this to happen to anybody else’.

He added:

“People say to me ‘we didn’t know about pedophelia’…

“My mother told me not to take sweets from strangers … and she wasn’t worried about my digestion.

She knew that there was a problem there and that this existed, and that it was wrong and that it was dangerous for children.

Source: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland ... Archbishop Martin

Asked what he would say to Adams, who’s been under political pressure as a result of his dispute with Maíria Cahill, Martin responded:

I would say to anybody – let the truth come out.

“Let the truth be investigated in a transparent open way by the competent authorities.”

Cahill met the Taoiseach at Government Buildings yesterday morning to discuss her claims that, after she was allegedly raped by a senior member of the IRA at the age of 16, she was subject to interrogation by senior members of the organisation.

The Belfast woman has had her version of the events surrounding her interrogation and subsequent conversations with Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams disputed by the Louth TD and senior members of his party.

Earlier this week, Adams admitted that the IRA internally investigated her rape allegations in an apparent shift from his previous position. But he continues to reject claims about a conversation he had with Cahill, and has taken legal action against a BBC programme which broadcast those claims last week

The Sinn Féín leader yesterday offered an apology to victims who were let down by the IRA’s investigation of sexual abuse. He also insisted that “Sinn Féin has not engaged in a cover-up of child abuse” describing it as “a slur on thousands of decent republicans”.

Earlier: Enda Kenny meeting Maíria Cahill after war of words with Gerry Adams

Read: Gerry Adams says IRA “failed victims” in how it dealt with sex abuse claims

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