Sinn Fein’s deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald.Google Images

Sinn Fein’s deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald has denied any party cover-up on child abuse as a grand niece of former IRA leader Joe Cahill prepares to meet the leaders of the Dublin and Belfast governments.

Mairia Cahill claimed on BBC television that she was raped by a leading Republican in 1997 and later subjected to an IRA interrogation about her claims.

Ahead of meetings with Stormont leader Peter Robinson and Irish Prime Minister, Enda Kenny Cahill has claimed she knows of several other victims who were raped by Republicans and then subject to IRA courts.

She has also accused Sinn Fein of refusing to cooperate with the police in Northern Ireland on the claims.

But now, in a row over Irish radio and twitter which has been reported on by the Irish Times, McDonald and Cahill have engaged in fresh claims and counter-claims.

McDonald has insisted that all allegations that members of her party have covered up child abuse are ‘completely wrong.’

She told Irish state broadcaster RTÉ that she ‘didn’t accept the assertion’ that Sinn Féin has information on a cover up of child abuse.

The Sinn Fein number two said: “That’s a most serious allegation. It’s also completely wrong.

“Ms Cahill had earlier expressed a wish to meet me but has since decided she doesn’t want to meet with anyone from Sinn Féin.”

The Irish Times reports that Cahill responded to McDonald’s remarks on social media when she accused Sinn Féin of verbally attacking and threatening her in an attempt to ‘get me to go away.’

She tweeted: “Imagine a woman being used by a political party to verbally attack a victim of sexual abuse publicly.

“This is an attempt by Sinn Féin to try and get me to go away. It is a threat.”

Cahill also responded to McDonald’s claim that she has refused to meet Sinn Fein.

She tweeted: “I have not said I won’t meet with Sinn Féin. At no stage did I say I wouldn’t meet Ms McDonald.”

Cahill is set to put her story to Northern Ireland First Minister Robinson on Monday while a meeting is also being organised with the Republic’s Prime Minister Kenny.