Northern Ireland

Maíria Cahill claims the IRA interrogated her after she made rape allegation

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionMaíria Cahill has waived her right to anonymity to speak to BBC Spotlight about how the IRA interrogated her and forced her to confront the man she claimed had raped her as a teenager

A woman has claimed the IRA forced her to confront her alleged rapist before forcing her into silence to protect the republican movement from her claims.

Maíria Cahill said she was raped as a teenager and was later interrogated by the IRA about her allegations.

She claimed she was subjected to a kangaroo court, while the IRA tried to find out if it was her or her alleged rapist who was telling the truth.

Ms Cahill has waived her right to anonymity to speak to BBC Spotlight.

'Face-to-face meeting'

The Belfast woman is member of one of the republican movement's best-known families.

Her great uncle, Joe Cahill, was one of the founders of the Provisional IRA and a long-time associate of Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams.

Ms Cahill said that in 1997, when she was 16, she was subjected to a 12-month cycle of sexual abuse, including rape, by a man who was believed to be a member of the IRA.

The man denied the allegations and was later acquitted in court.

However, the programme focuses on how the IRA dealt with an alleged rape victim, forcing her to meet face-to-face with the man she claimed had attacked her.

Ms Cahill described how the IRA questioned her repeatedly, often several nights a week, for months about the abuse allegations, before summoning her to a meeting with her alleged abuser in early 2000.

Forced confrontation

"They told me that they were going to read my body language to see who was telling the truth and that they were going to bring him into a room," she said.

The programme will examine what the IRA did following the forced confrontation.

Ms Cahill also said that months later, she met Mr Adams to discuss her abuse allegations.

She later reported the alleged abuse to police, and also named the IRA's so-called investigators.

In a statement, Gerry Adams told Spotlight that he co-operated with the Police Service of Northern Ireland in the course of their investigation.

Related Topics