A Question To The Irish Times & RTE Arising From The Mairia Cahill Scandal

Ed Moloney with a piece questioning the lack of coverage of the Máiría Cahill abuse scandal in some key Irish news outlets. It featured in The Broken Elbow.
There are many questions arising out of Tuesday evening’s BBC Spotlight expose of the Mairia Cahill scandal, especially concerning the alleged IRA/Sinn Fein/PSNI cover up of her rape by an IRA member in West Belfast when Mairia was just sixteen years old. (The programme can be watched in the US on the BBC iPlayer via Hola.org)

Máiría Cahill,

She was raped by an IRA member when she was sixteen and alleges an extensive IRA-Sinn Fein cover up, assisted by the PSNI. But neither RTE nor the Irish Times have breathed a word about it.

But one immediate concern is this. The programme was extensively flagged in other media over last weekend and, following broadcast, the issues it raises have been the subject of not inconsiderable debate in the wider media. The BBC has for example, in this report, zeroed in on one troubling question, viz the role played by Gerry Adams. Neither RTE nor the Irish Times can claim ignorance about the programme, yet as of 4.15 pm EDT on Wednesday, not a word has appeared on either’s website.

One would think that the embroiling of a major political leader in the Republic, for the second time in four years, in a sexual abuse scandal involving a minor and allegations of a cover up might be of interest to the island’s premier media outlets. All the more so since the opinion polls suggest that Mr Adams may well be leading his party into government within a year or so and that he himself may become Tanaiste in that government.

For the Irish Times and RTE to continue a silence about this affair serves only to foster suspicions either that they have as media organisations been co-opted by Sinn Fein or they are so afraid of being implicitly tarred with the anti-peace process brush they so liberally applied to those involved in the Boston College archive affair that they will not raise any issue that causes discomfort to the leadership of that party.

Either way they have ceased in their primary function of informing their audiences about matters of genuine public concern. Shame on them both!

p.s. Needless to say Niall O’Dowd’s IrishCentral.com site, normally attuned to every quiver and tremble involving Sinn Fein has also managed to ignore the story today.

p.p.s. A colleague has been in touch to make this valid point: if a scandal like this involved the Catholic Church and touched damagingly on one of its leading figures, say a bishop or archbishop, both RTE and the Irish Times would have been all over the story by now. Surely, someone will ask these two outlets to explain their double standards. Or is that a silly question?

p.p.p.s. You won’t believe this but someone has just told me about this story which was put on the RTE website earlier this evening. You couldn’t make it up!

UPDATE - The Irish Times posted a story, under Gerry Moriarty’s byline at 1.00 a.m. GMT on the paper’s website, an unusually late time to file a story that had been available since late Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning. At 2.42 a.m. GMT a search of RTE’s website failed to turn up any story referencing Mairia Cahill.


  1. It would have been a surprise if there weren't more cases like Ms Cahill's in Republicanism. For an organisation of it's size the IRA was unlikely to be untarnished by reports of sexual abuse and it's mishandling.

    IRA members are like any other members of society in that some amongst them would be perpetrators of domestic violence, theft, bullying or sexual violence.

    If these crimes arose they would almost inevitably be poorly dealt with. Even state run agencies who use best practice can treat victims shoddily. What chance for those victims who were dealt with by the untrained, unskilled and whose roles were usually that of combatants rather than counsellors?

    The IRA, I suppose, were afraid of allowing the RUC or PSNI to investigate in-house crimes in case security was jeopardised.

    Together with all these factors belongs others like nepotism or favouritism. The scourge of justice.

    Republicans today should learn and allow victims of any serious crime by fellow Republicans to go to the police. If the police use the crime for political ends then it wouldn't look good for them particularly if the victim's rights are in second place. If a victim goes to the police and "security" is jeopardised then the blame should lie with the perpetrator of the original crime and no-one else.

    People talk about the "British" police but at least they have an ombudsman, the criminal justice inspectorate and other mechanisms of transparency and accountability. Republicans have none of this.

    For those who argue against going to the police what about worst case scenarios? Should it only be allowed if someone is raped and then murdered or not at all? Where on the spectrum should permission to go to the police lie?

    Logically it should be in all cases. Perhaps I am not a Republican but people who are Republicans will lose and victims will also lose. In twenty years time the same stories will come out otherwise.

    For those victims of past cases now is the time for justice not for sweeping it under the rug. Empathy and understanding of victims is needed although alleged perpetrators should be investigated by the police not Republicans.

    The past needs to be corrected and it's repetition needs to be prevented.

  2. There are indeed many questions about this case.
    How come Ed Baloney has missed out that
    1-in-9 of rape cases reported to the so called Uk police forces are dismissed.Written off. without investigation.
    This compares to 1-in-33 Burgarly cases for example.
    So, How come certain sections and certain media pundits are coming over all Rape Crisis Centery all of a sudden.
    I don't recall their sudden concern for rape when the above Dismal statistic of the so called Uk police force was featured on Google News and given National coverage in the so called Uk.
    Couldn't be that they wanna use Rape as a political football?
    I do wonder what the Rape Crisis Centre who have to hoover up after these crimes would feel about that?
    I doubt they'd be impressed. somehow.
    Heres' the source for the 1-in-9 claim


  3. All the money wasted on rape and sexual abuse cases in England recently could be avoided with lie detector testing. I'm not talking about testing someone in trauma and shock. I'm talking about days/weeks/months/years after the alleged event accusations.

    Those BBC celebs would not unnecessarily have been trashed in the gutter press and shamed needlessly if an hour had been set aside to polygraph accusers before sending a squad car to some geriatrics celebs house 60 years later.

    The 'practice' of a polygraph would in my opinion stop scheming wee gold diggers and nut-jobs in their tracks and also give 100% empathy to genuine victims.

    Like goal-line technology in football, the means are there, why are the authorities procrastinating?

    In relation to Adams I do sense those who despise him will enjoy this episode. But that isn't justice. I would like to see the Cahill girl volunteer for a polygraph and only then would I be convinced there isn't some percentage of political agenda in this.

  4. Larry, Polygraph tests are notoriously unreliable.

    But you're right there seems to be a backlash against Gerry Adams. The tweets I read from Unionists when the story broke were repugnantly self-serving.

    Justice won't be served with lie detector tests. Only the courts can decide.

  5. Without commenting on the actual rape, I thought the republican movement (Morris apart) came out of this quite well , certainly better than the Aine Tyrell case. If even the victim didnt want to go to the RUC, and you believe men shouldnt be condemmed to mutlilation without proper investigation, then what followed was entirely reasonable, and given who was investigating the case, was taken seriously. She was going to point fingers in court too, I think she got a good deal on balance. (I repeat leaving aside the rape, im talking about her dealings with the Republican Movement , Morris apart)

  6. This case is deeply uncomfortable to hear. But if the allegations are true then the culprit should be ripped out by the ears. However in ones haste to slam adams we must not lose the sight of the fact that the enemies of irish republicanism are using this story to demonise republicanism entirely.
    Just take a look at Vincent Browne on tv3 last nite and you will be left under no illusions how people masquerading as genuine journalists can't wait to guddy republicanism.
    Whether we like it or not adams and co are seen as the nearest threat to the status quo from republicanism, the dissos are no threat to the state and thus are irrelevant to FF,FG etc.
    Republicans must realise the vitriol aimed at gerry Adams and his party from the media and state isn't because they view them as 'sell outs' or because they harbour some concern that they abandoned their republican principles, but rather they view them as the black northerners who may just rock the system if they obtain power. They may not rock the system but as far as I can see they are the only party in my capital that reminds people of the 6 counties. If they were not there then we wouldn't exist at all in the eyes of FF,FG,Labour etc. They may be a bad lot in the Dail but the shinners are the best of that bad lot.

  7. Daithí D, Ms Cahill stated on Spotlight that the Republican investigation was almost as harrowing an experience as the alleged rape itself. The lady from Foyle Women's Aid said that official police investigations can be as bad as the experience itself.

    So in that sense it seems it is hard to measure the distress caused by the allegation being investigated by Republicans rather than through the justice system.

    Society as a whole has, as Ozzy says, been ambivalent towards cases of sexual abuse. However people should be allowed to go to the police. If it isn't related to Republican actions but criminal actions then people should be able to seek justice in whatever way they feel best.

    If the police then use the crime to investigate Republicanism generally it should be exposed.

  8. It would appear that the media holiday is over and that this story is growing legs.

    It is sad to see people on this site who are more concerned with protecting republicanism than they are with the rights of the alleged victim in this case.

    Anyone who has followed the career of Adams must be aware that he is an extremely bad man. I say that being well aware that it is the understatement of the year.

    People who support him must take realise that by doing so they are endorsing that badness. Is that how you want people in Dublin to be reminded of you? Reminded of constant lying and the cover up of child abuse?

  9. Simon

    the fear of being faced with a polygraph would in my opinion be sufficient to deter the toxic evil wee schemers and wreckers out there. And permit police to focus energy and resources on worthy cases.

    I agree this is not about Adams. That family shouldn't have been permitted in anyone's street let alone send people to jail and early graves.

    The bigger picture is men's rights just for a change. Too often wee town 'bikes' say awful things destroying people and walk away scot free when caught out.

    I'm not saying that about the Cahill girl; but by the same token SF in Belfast would know her a lot better than any of us.

    Give Jeremy Kyle a buz, it's where this story belongs.

  10. More British than Finchley
    Having watched the Spotlight programme about the abuse of that poor girl at the hands of a Provo monster and subsequent Provo kangaroo court made me cringe but was of no surprise , this is exactly what I would have expected from the Provo’s .
    The sad thing for her is that she had been born into what is known as a republican family or what also might be called a Cult . Cults control their members no matter what crime that may have been committed either by them or against them . It is unfortunate what has happened to this poor girl , but what I must say is had she not been the victim of such abuse and experienced how the Provo Cult really operates , she would have lined up along side Mary Lou Mc Donald ,Jennifer McCann, Peader Tobin and others to support the Sinn Fein/IRA point of view.
    Most people who come from nationalists areas of the North who watched how this poor girl was treated would also agree that its not surprising how the Provo’s handled this case but what would have surprised them is how the Sinn Fein/Provo’s are now telling us to report all crimes to the PSNI and that the only place we can get justice is in the British Justice system
    What a dangerous bunch of misfits

  11. I seriously can't believe that there are some who still believe that Adamsite SF are still Republicans...

    FFS!! McGuinness has not only toasted Lizzie he seems to spend his spare time attempting to make her acceptable to nationalists.

    Adamsite SF are the propaganda mouth pieces of Britain and if those attempting to claim that they are some type of threat to the system would open their eyes they'd see that not only the PSNI and PPS but the very British themselves in the form of Shaun Woodward allied to scupper Mairia's chances of justice...

    "Poor Padraig' my arse!

  12. Simon,
    Exactly Simon, but I also feel the trauma she experienced coloured her view of what people were saying to her , and its understandable too.For example could Seamus Finucane telling her he had him under house arrest but that would change if she called the RUC be read in a more compassionate way? Likewise , especially in Mairia's context,could Adams comment of victims being tricked into enjoying it could be read more neutrally?
    What is less easily explained away by trauma is naming names in court, she is very lucky Republican justice wasn't followed in this instance. So on balance, she got a good deal.

  13. I will state it again, whether we like it or not the shinners are viewed as the republican movement in the eyes of the wider public. It isn't nice to admit it but it is the case, but when people are attacking individuals in that organisation in a wider attempt to discredit everything republicans ever stood for then I take umbrage. When Vincent Browne and his ilk state that the IRA were criminal by ignoring the RUC and conducting their own investigation then I take umbrage.
    I don't give two damns about adams and his even more sinister sidekick mcguinness but I do care about republicanism. In an effort to pull down individuals there is very real danger of pulling the whole house down. To blindly ignore the demonisation of Irish republicanism just to spite adams et al is a questionable policy I have to say.


  14. But Dixie, What is the alternative?
    I have the funny feeling that this is Michael Collins all over again.
    Some bloke shot him, and I think with the benefit of hindsight that that was a mistake. ( I know this is a large topic in of itself ) but I get the feeling that this current generation is wanting to repeat this but in a character assassination way, rather than a bullet this time.

    I believe had Collins lived he would have got a 32 County Ireland or at the very least 3 or 4 Counties back.

    Now, Gerry Adams is no Michael Collins.
    But Collins DID run an intelligence operation against Stormont. He planned to continue the war in the North.etc etc.
    The Modern day Republican movement have proved to be equal of this task, in many ways. Thiepval barracks for example.
    So, to get a UI under our own steam ( without the assistance of events outside our control ) is going to require Machiavellian manoeurvings.
    Who is up to that task?
    You don't have to like Machiavelli but you can't argue he gets results.
    And Adams is No Prince, either.

  15. ozzy said...

    "But Dixie, What is the alternative?"

    Ozzy what alternative were the IRA volunteers given who went to early graves not knowing that Adams and McGuinness were taking a political route even as they were dying needlessly?

    Adams now admits that he and Fr Reid were working on a peace process even before men died on hunger strike. He said it during his brothers 1st trial. In fact recently released British documents confirm that the British knew from at least two days before the death of Joe McDonnell that certain members of PIRA wanted 'to bring about an end to the current 'terrorist campaign'.

    It is clear from the Mairia Cahill case that the British were intent in protecting the image of Adams and SF. Now why would they do that if not to protect their own assets?

    Why are they pumping millions in funding into SF controlled community groups if they see SF as a threat?

    The Adamsites are not a threat to Partition, in fact they are now the corner stone on which Stormont stands.

  16. bit much seeing her on papers outside leinster house with micheal martin. larry, im not sure about polygraph but one thing is for sure women who falsely accuse men of sex crimes should have their tongues and clitoris surgically removed. ozzy, collins and co got weapons from brits to bomb the shit out of four courts. there was no civil war here, it was republicans versus free staters and brits. the brits even trained them on how to fly planes. check article called - british military involvement in irish civil war by john dorney on site called - the irish story. anthony, u shud take a look at it too, very good piece.

  17. Grouch,

    and what should happen to the men that they truly accuse of sex crimes?

    Rape and false accusations of rape are heinous destructions of people and character. But so too is mutilation.

  18. Mackers

    In fairness I think it is impossible for us in Tyrone, Donegal or Galway to accurately judge what was going on within the SF/IRA people in Belfast. What we do know is that it is very sordid and seedy. For Adams to apologise on behalf of the republican movement in its entirety makes me want to puke. Are the dead volunteers and places like S. Armagh reduced to covering up incest and rape in Belfast?

    A disgusting wee gang in Belfast that's for sure. False accusations are horrendous and people being what they are just love to dish the dirt. But if this wee girl is sincere then there should be a huge crowd supporting her all the way to the court.

  19. Grouch

    Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.... or ignored lol

    Best thing for them when they slander people is plenty of publicity, they don't seem to like a dose of their own medicine. People talking about THEM is a fate worse than death!

    No need for physical mutilation. They aren't worth it.

  20. I didn't say mutilate, I said surgically removed. But then again Anthony maybe I'm over the top because I met a complete life wrecking cu#t fifteen years ago. That I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I'm willing to compromise on the clitoris but not the tongue.

  21. Grouch
    The BBC radio 4 seies DOCUMENT did an episode on that.
    and also about whether 1916 caught the British by surprise. Interesting programmes.
    Check out "the British Gunner and the Irish Civil War" on this link. and 1916 also.

  22. Larry,

    worse was covered up in South Armagh: the murder of Paul Quinn springs to mind. Bad as incest or rape is, murder is even more severe.


    surgically removing someone's tongue or clitoris on grounds that are not medical is in my view mutilation: mutilation by surgery.

    Our views are shaped by our experience: if my daughter was raped I would want to mutilate. If my son was a rapist I would not want him mutilated. I can hardly be right in both instances so it is best that we stand back from victims' justice.

    We all experience cunts at some time and at other times some people will experience us as cunts.

  23. Maybe ur right mackers, if I cut off her tongue she could still lie thru the keyboard , if I cut off her fingers as well as her tongue she would still lie through her eyelid like that bloke who got paralysed and learned to communicate by blinking. Yours nonmutilatingly, grouch.

  24. Ozzy will check that and larry pity we didn't meet hughsie in late 80s. The rotten eggs nearly bumped him off. What a total downer buzz learning now what went on. Anyway , life goes on .

  25. Grouch, had a couple of run-ins with reptile/wasp crossbreds myself. Mackers I'm never a cunt, if you doubt that just ask Tain Bo. There were a couple of killings in S. Armagh which made me 'step-back' in shock/horror. The young lad Quinn and Eamon Collins, by virtue of their viciousness for me both went beyond the pale.

  26. grouch

    A friend who graduated from university with me recently joined SF here. (young lad) His wife was unimpressed with the personnel he was with at a recent protest, asked him if he was sure these were the people for him... I txt him today and asked did he join SF because of all the casual sex going on in the party?

  27. Larry,

    everybody is a cunt to someone, somewhere at some time. I don't mind people saying I'm not a bad cunt - cunt nonetheless!!

  28. larry, are they a party or a cult?

  29. Grouch

    I think at this stage they are neither a Party or a cult. More like a shower.... of DEVIENTS.

  30. Larry,

    I would vouch for you but the female reproductive organ has a purpose.

    What is within the pale when it comes to the business of murder, and why would you find only a few murders particularly shocking that seem to cross some line of acceptability with you?

  31. Tain Bo

    Assassination or military actions are one thing, butchery to my mind belongs in the realms of loyalist nut jobs. Maybe you can shine some light on the mental workings of such horrors?

  32. Larry,

    Assassination or military action or both polite forms of death and destruction I assume you mean bombing which has its own devastating form of butchery ripping limbs from bodies leaving survivors permanently scared and disfigured… not so personal for the bomber but extremely personal for the families and victims.

    The bullet doesn’t always manage a kill many rip a limb off and leave the target a cripple. Punishments squads by nature were up close and very personal and not all were carried out with a gun.

    Assassination and military action you find agreeable would you say that the death squads that murdered Mairead Farrell, Sean Savage, and Danny McCann had any other intention but butchering them. The primary objective was to murder them with the secondary objective of sending a message to the RM with the ruthless shock value.

    The two captured SAS men didn’t exactly receive a clean kill again the shock value sent a return message to the Brits and undoubtedly put the fear into the security forces.

    That minority of loyalist nut jobs succeeded in putting fear and terror in your mind but don’t over exaggerate as most loyalist paramilitaries preferred the gun circumstances and tactics get in and get out.

    Lenny Murphy would probably have went on to kill even if the war never happened the war just provided him with twisted reason his psychopathic lust for blood was not political his reputation put fear not only in nationalists but also in the PULs. His criminal gang associates latched on to the false prestige it brought them in a small area, at a price they knew exactly where they would end up if they crossed Murphy.

    Initially the loyalist paramilitary leaders may have endorsed this but in a short time the butchers became a problem for them they feared the butchers and the power they had. Sooner or later Murphy would have to be put to sleep and when that happened his disciples would have been on the reverse end of the fear they instilled into NI.

    I doubt too many shed a tear for Murphy and those who believe he was a loyalist hero; well the only cure for stupidity is education.

    Butchery is a theme in history even today extremists cut off heads as they believe it will shock the infidels but even the bible is riddled with butchery, films and shows on the box glorify it, even video games indulge in blood lust.

    The world is and always has been a violent place and the Sweeny Todd’s and Jack the Rippers walk amongst us. Fortunately there are plastic utensils you can use and don’t sweat it about the fictional barber you might end up having to grow a beard.

    I am away to sit and await the rising of the moon nothing like a good aul howling session to clear the lungs and head.