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Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty threatens legal action in abuse row

NewsBy Neil Fetherston
Pearse Doherty
Pearse Doherty

Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty has described allegations that the party conducted internal investigations into over 40 incidents of abuse by its members as “scurrilous” and without foundation.

Fine Gael’s Regina Doherty has claimed that four senior figures in Sinn Féin had instigated inquiries into physical and sexual abuse cases involving party members who were in the IRA during a series of “kangaroo court” sittings in 2006.

Ms Doherty also insists that party leader Gerry Adams played an integral role in the investigations, which she says were deliberately hidden from public view and did not involve any input or consultation from policing forces north and south of the border.

“We as a party will be taking legal advice in relation to the accusations that you (Regina Doherty) are making because they are without truth, and they are impugning the reputation of members of our party, and they are scurrilous,” Mr Doherty said.

The rival politicians were speaking on RTÉ radio following a BBC Spotlight documentary aired earlier this week in which Louthman Paudie McGahon alleged he was raped by an IRA member as a 17 year-old in 1992.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has accused Enda Kenny of demeaning the office of Taoiseach with his comments from the US suggesting Mr Adams has knowledge of sex abuse by IRA members that has not been passed to the authorities.

Speaking in Belfast, Mr Adams described Mr Kenny’s attack on him while on a St Patrick’s Day visit as “despicable”.

“He called upon me to do something regarding it (abuse claims) when he knows clearly that I have done that,” Mr Adams said. “We dealt with that in the Dáil earlier on in the week.”

Mr Kenny challenged Mr Adams to follow his own advice to others and to “present himself” to the gardai and tell them what he knows about the cases of abuse victims Paudie McGahon and Maíria Cahill.

The Taoiseach disputed the assertions by Mr Adams that he was not aware of the identity of Mr McGahon’s alleged abuser or his whereabouts.

“I don’t believe the leader of the Sinn Féin Party when he says he didn’t know about these things,” he said.