Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Saturday 9 December 2023 Dublin: 9°C
abuse claims

TD will give gardaí names of eight sex abusers that IRA allegedly moved to Republic

Micheál Martin said that as many as 28 victims are now considering coming forward.

Updated 5.05pm

A TD HAS told the Dáil that she will give gardaí the names of eight alleged sex abusers within the IRA who are suspected of being moved to the Republic.

Regina Doherty said she was “too afraid” to read out the men’s names in the Dáil. Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said that as many as 28 victims are now considering coming forward.

The comments came during a special Dáil debate on allegations of abuse in the Republican movement in the wake of the Maíria Cahill controversy.

Also during the Dáil debate: 

  • Taoiseach Enda Kenny accusing Sinn Féin and the IRA of moving abusers to the South. 
  • Gerry Adams said he believed Cahill was raped but denied a Sinn Féin cover up 
  • Adams insisted he has no information about abusers being moved from the North to the South. 
  • Cahill was present in the Leinster House visitors’ gallery for the debate.

Doherty read out quotes from Cahill during her speech:

I remember the first time a finger was laid on me and what it felt like … as the IRA man got a kick out of using me like a ragdoll.

The Meath East TD added that she holds out little hope of Adams telling the truth during today’s debate.

“I know I wouldn’t believe the Lord’s prayer from his mouth at the moment.”

rep regina

Last month Maíria Cahill made the claim that her alleged abuser was moved out of Northern Ireland by the IRA. Other victims are believed to have come forward since.

Gardaí are currently investigating the claims.


During the debate, the Taoiseach accused Sinn Féin and the IRA of covering up sexual abuse by moving the perpetrators to the South “so the untouchable would remain untouchable”.

Enda Kenny said that Gerry Adams’ party didn’t care about victims “once the institution remained in tact”.

He stated that Republicans thought so much of the Republic they decided to “honour us with their rapists, gift us their child-abusers”.

Kenny said that Sinn Féin must let the public know the locations of any alleged Republican sex abusers as families may be at risk and the Government needs to “act to protect them”.

He stated that the IRA had acted as “judge, jury, banisher and executioner”, adding that “instead of manning up or doing what real men would have done … they did the polar opposite … they objectified her, they humiliated her, they degraded her all over again”.

rep enda

The Taoiseach said that Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald has a “pathological loyalty” to Adams and accused her of reneging on Cahill as a woman: “You’ve let her down.”

‘Hidden in plain sight’

Tánaiste Joan Burton has said Maíria Cahill told her that Adams, despite his denials, “was involved in her case over a six year period”.

Burton said that Cahill’s trauma was made greater by having to deal with her perpetrator being “hidden in plain sight by Sinn Féin”.

The Tánaiste said that Cahill “also lifted the lid on the reality of life in a community under the brutal control of the IRA – a community where the need to protect the abuser trumped the needs of the victim, lest the reputation of the IRA suffer”.

rep burton

Burton expressed concern that Adams had allowed his brother Liam to work with children in Belfast and Dundalk for ten years while knowing he had sexually abused his daughter. Liam is currently serving a 16-year jail sentence for the offences against his daughter Áine. He is appealing the sentence.

The Tánaiste also quoted from the poetry of Maya Angelou, as did Kenny and Doherty.

Burton accused Sinn Féin of hypocrisy for staying relatively silent on this issues raised by Cahill, while in the past heavily criticising sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

‘Powerful and ruthless machine’

Junior Minister Gerald Nash echoed this sentiment and praised Cahill for taking on the “powerful and ruthless machine” that is Sinn Féin and the IRA.

Nash added that Sinn Féin “seems to be very fond of whistleblowers”, unless they are in their own party.

He said that by continuing to support Adams, members of Sinn Féin make a ”visible mockery of their crocodile concerns”.

Micheál Martin described Cahill as “brave to an extent which puts to shame those who have sought to deny her justice and undermine her claims”.

He then went on to discuss claims of abuse against a senior Republican made by two brothers, one of whom he met last week.

Martin claimed that when their father found out about the abuse he went to Sinn Féin, and the men were given three options regarding the fate of their abuser:

1. That the IRA would execute him;

2. That he would be handed over to them so they could ‘deal with’ him themselves;

3. That he would be banished from the North.

They chose the latter.

‘Inadequate and inappropriate’

After listening to more than an hour of speeches, Adams responded.

He said that he believes Cahill was raped but said there was no cover-up within Sinn Féin and that he has no knowledge of sex offenders being moved to the South.

Adams said that, should he receive any other information, he will inform the gardaí.

“The actions of the IRA were inadequate and inappropriate, we cannot change that … Sinn Féin has sought to deal with the issue in a victim-centred way.”

Adams said that Sinn Féin urged Cahill to go to the police, but she refused.

He claimed that other political parties and the media had no interest in the truth, befor stating that members of Fianna Fáil had approached him to say that they are uncomfortable with how Martin is handling the issue.

Adams said that claims the Taoiseach made in the Dáil on 22 October “ignored the findings of a court of law”, referring to the fact that four people charged in relation to Cahill’s allegations were acquitted of all charges.

He said that he wished Cahill happiness and said he hopes she gets justice.

The Sinn Féin leader said he was going “off script” to note that politicians had made personal remarks about his family that were very hurtful.

He concluded by stating: “All of us will be judged by what we do to protect the rights of children.”

You can watch the live debate above and we’ll keep you updated on any developments here on the @TJ_Politics Twitter account.

Additional reporting: Hugh O’Connell

Gardaí investigating claims that Republican sex abusers were moved across the border

State of the Nation: Why it’s going to be a difficult day for Sinn Féin