Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has sparked a war of words with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny over the Mairia Cahill affair.
Adams has reacted angrily to claims by Kenny that he has tried to discredit Cahill over her claims she was raped by a senior IRA figure.
Cahill met Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson on Monday, days after she revealed that she was subjected to an IRA ‘court’ appearance over her claims.
Ahead of that meeting, Kenny accused Adams and Sinn Fein of treating Cahill in an “utterly despicable” manner.The Irish Independent reports that Kenny was directly referring to a blog posted by Adams in which he rejected Cahill’s claim that Sinn Fein was guilty of a cover-up.
Kenny told reporters in his native Mayo: “I think there’s been a despicable, an utterly despicable conduct by Sinn Fein to discredit Mairia Cahill over the last period.
“Is this another part of an attempt to discredit a young woman whose telling a story from the inside and my understanding is that there is more to follow.”
A furious Adams responded by accusing the Irish PM of making ‘politically motivated’ remarks about the Mairia Cahill affair.
Adams said: “In comments today, the Taoiseach (PM) suggested that my recent blog was ‘part of an attempt to discredit’ Mairia Cahill.
“The Taoiseach is entirely wrong and his remarks are mischievous and clearly politically motivated.
“The blog was a sincere effort to deal directly with the issue of how allegations of abuse had been handled in the past by republicans. The Taoiseach should not try to score cheap political points about these sensitive and serious issues.
“The Taoiseach also said, in relation to people who have suffered abuse in the past, that he understood more ‘there are more to follow.’
“Abuse of any kind is totally wrong. If anyone, including the Taoiseach has any information whatsoever about any child abuse, they should give that to the appropriate authorities North or South and they will have the full support of Sinn Fein in doing this.”
Cahill, the grand niece of former IRA leader Joe Cahill, is due to meet Kenny in Dublin on Tuesday amid claims that further abuse cases will be made public.
She has vowed to support abuse victims whom she says are sill too scared to come forward and tell their stories and warned that abusers were still walking the streets because victims were fearful of contacting the authorities.
Speaking at Stormont, Cahill said: “There are perpetrators at the minute that have never been before a court of law because victims have been frightened into silence and haven’t been able to report it.”
Northern Ireland’s Justice Minister David Ford has also appealed for abuse victims to come forward.
He said: “If there are wider issues which emerge from that, then it may well be that there are appropriate issues to be considered by a public inquiry.
“But, the important issue at this stage is that any of us who have any influence should encourage anybody who is in that position to come forward.”