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Micheál Martin: Republican movement ‘failed’ to protect some sex abuse victims

The Fianna Fáil leader alleges that in a number of cases, the Republican movement did not alert authorities – instead, they decided to deal with the reports internally. Sinn Féin has criticised the remarks.

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Updated 5.53pm

FIANNA FÁIL LEADER Micheál Martin has claimed that his party is aware of a number of cases where the Republican movement attempted to deal with cases of sexual abuse internally rather than involve the authorities.

Martin made the accusation following the sentencing today of Liam Adams, brother of the Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, for the rape of his own daughter.

The Fianna Fáil leader told reporters today outside Leinster House that there has been condemnation of the Catholic Church over the years for not doing enough to protect vulnerable people but says that the Republican movement has similar questions to answer.

Martin acknowledged the complexities of abuse cases but said:

I think there are questions to be answered yes in terms of  steps not being taken, from what I can see, to first of all alert the authorities and also to work to protect others who could potentially have been vulnerable in other locations.

In reference to the Liam Adams case, Martin said that the “length of time taken to report it to the authorities was far too long and the fact that Liam Adams was allowed to work in a variety of centres involving young people, I think is not tenable and not acceptable”.

Martin alleged that in separate cases:

From information that we’ve picked up and other people we’ve talked to, this may have been a broader trend within the Republican movement. That just like the church that the Republican movement saw the institution of the Republican movement as more important than individual victims.

The Fianna Fáil leader would not elaborate on particular cases.

In a statement this evening, the Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald described Martin’s comments as “absolutely disgraceful”.

“There is no comparison between the approaches by Gerry Adams in this case [referring to the Liam Adams case] and that of the Catholic Church in dealing with abuse allegations,” she said.

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McDonald said that Martin’s references to other abuse cases that he has been “notified of” should be referred to the gardaí.

She continued: “The question needs to be asked of Deputy Martin as to when he received this information and has he passed it on to Gardaí? That is the only appropriate course of action for any responsible citizen.”

She accused Martin of trying to “score cheap political points”.

- additional reporting by Hugh O’Connell

First published 4.49pm

Read: Liam Adams ‘laughs with prison guards’ as he is sentenced to 16 years in prison >

Read: DUP MP says republican “fixed committee” existed to deal with sex abuse claims >

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Rónán Duffy

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