Gerry Adams apologises to abuse victims let down by IRA
Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has apologised to victims of abuse who were let down or failed by the IRA’s inability to resolve these issues.
He said that those who wish should come forward now and report complaints to the appropriate authorities, North or South.
Mr Adams rejected allegations that Sinn Féin was involved in any cover-up of such issues and said the issue had been politicised in the Dáil chamber by Sinn Féin’s opponents.
Speaking in the Dáil today, Gerrry Adams said:
“I am mindful that there are victims and families affected by abuse watching us today. Sexual abuse and abuse of any kind is wrong. The abuse of a child is a particularly heinous crime. The consequences for victims and their families are devastating. We know this having seen the human cost of abuse right across Irish society.
“I have set out the circumstances in the North when there was no democratic, civic policing service. The IRA sought to deal with some cases of abuse when asked to do so by families and victims. While IRA Volunteers were acting in good faith, the IRA was ill equipped to deal with such matters.
“IRA actions against sex abusers failed victims. That is a matter of profound regret for me and other republicans. I am acutely conscious that there may be victims who were let down or failed by the IRA’s inability to resolve these issues.
“As Uachtarán Shinn Féin, I want to apologise to those victims.
“Those who wish should come forward now and report their complaint to the appropriate authorities – An Garda Síochána or the HSE in the south, or the PSNI or Social Services in the North. They will have Sinn Féin’s full support in doing so.
“Secrecy has surrounded abuse in Ireland. It was taboo to discuss, and some victims were very fearful to disclose. The only way to face this problem is to support victims, and to empower them to speak out. To cover up child abuse is to deny the basic humanity of the victim and to shield the perpetrator. It is an unthinkable act of cruelty.
“Sinn Féin has not engaged in a cover-up of child abuse as some of our political enemies cynically suggest. This accusation is a slur on thousands of decent people.
“Republicans are no different to any other Irish citizens. Like most other parents we do our best to protect our children, to keep them safe. Republicans have learned, like every other section of society that ongoing vigilance and believing children when they disclose is essential. Republicans, like everyone else know that reporting quickly and to the right channels is the way to seek and achieve justice.”
Mr Adams asked the Taoiseach to accept that such difficult issues need to be dealt with in a victim-centred way by the appropriate authorities and not politicised as they have been in the Dáil chamber.
Referring to Enda Kenny’s meeting today with Maíria Cahill, the Sinn Fein Leader said that all those Sinn Féin representatives who supported Maíria believe that she has been a victim of abuse and suffered trauma.
He went on:
“However Maíria has made some grievous allegations against myself and named Sinn Féin representatives. I and all the others refute those allegations – allegations that are now embellished and reported as fact.
“Taoiseach these matters were addressed in the courts. Four people were charged and acquitted in a court of law in relation to these allegations. You have yet to meet with me to address these allegations.
“Taoiseach having met with Maíria is it not right and proper that you meet with myself and the other Sinn Féin members to hear of their experience of trying to help Maíria, to hear of their support and the advice they offered? Is that not right and proper before you rush to judgment?”
The Taoiseach, in his response agreed to Mr Adams’ request to meet with him and other Sinn Féin members to hear of their experience of trying to help Maíria Cahill.