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IRA commander nabbed over alleged child abuse linked to smuggling ring

Crime DeskBy Eamon Dillon
IRA commander nabbed over alleged child abuse linked to smuggling ring

THE former IRA commander arrested in Spain last week over allegations of child sexual abuse has also been linked to a major international cigarette smuggling ring.

The top Provo left Ireland in the wake of the murder of Detective Garda Jerry McCabe in Adare, Co. Limerick, in 1996, and has since lived in Spain.

Police arrested him there 11 days ago after a request from the Gardaí through a European Arrest Warrant.

Several years ago he was arrested on another occasion by Spanish police investigating the tobacco racket run by crime boss Sean Hunt.

The current investigation began two years ago after a woman in north county Dublin made a complaint to Gardaí about alleged sexual abuse in the 1990s.

At the time the man was a senior figure among the IRA’s command south of the border and was wanted for questioning over the fatal shooting of McCabe.

He is suspected to have played a part in giving the Provo gang the go-ahead for the robbery in which the officer was callously shot dead. Four members of the IRA unit were later convicted of the killing.

This week, a spokesman for Spain’s National Police confirmed officers detained the fugitive as he was wanted on a warrant for four sexual assaults on a minor.

“The detainee was the subject of four arrest warrants issued last January by a judge in Dublin,” it was stated.

Officers from a specialist Madrid-based anti-fugitives unit and a local unit specialising in combating violent crime arrested the suspect at an undisclosed location. He was briefly detained on the Costa Blanca before being transferred to Madrid, where he was brought to court to face extradition proceedings.

The case against the former top Provo is being carried out by Gardaí from north Dublin.

It has nothing to do with the separate investigation by a specialist unit into allegations of sexual abuse by other members of the IRA.

That probe is based on the allegations made by Senator Mairia Cahill and Paudie McGahon.

The national Garda unit is leading the inquiry into more than 30 allegations of sexual abuse within the republican movement.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has come under pressure over claims the republican movement shielded IRA child abusers.

Both Senator Cahill and Paudie McGahon made allegations they had been raped by IRA men and forced to take part in kangaroo courts.

Adams has been accused of shielding his brother Liam, who was convicted at Belfast Crown Court of raping his daughter when she was between four and nine. Liam Adams is serving a 16-year sentence for the abuse, which occurred from 1977 until 1983.