Northern Ireland

MLAs seek Ford meeting over Spotlight IRA rape claim

Maíria Cahill
Image caption Maíria Cahill waived her right to anonymity to speak to the programme

Stormont's justice committee is seeking an urgent meeting with Justice Minister David Ford to discuss allegations made in a BBC Spotlight programme.

Maíria Cahill said the IRA forced her to confront her alleged rapist before forcing her into silence to protect the republican movement from her claims.

The DUP's Paul Givan said he wanted to know what Mr Ford's plans were to investigate issues raised by the show.

The committee chairman said it should consider setting up its own inquiry.

Mr Givan, his fellow DUP committee member Edwin Poots and the SDLP's Alban Maginness all raised concerns about what was described as a "very disturbing programme".

Ms Cahill told the programme she was raped as a teenager and was later interrogated by the IRA about her allegations.

The man she accused, Martin Morris, has consistently denied her claims and was acquitted of all charges.

Ms Cahill told BBC Radio Ulster on Wednesday it was "very telling but not surprising" that Sinn Féin was the only political party not to contact her after the programme was broadcast.

"I would like them to take the issue seriously but I don't hold out much hope of anybody proactively making contact with me," she said.

Sinn Féin said in a statement that the interests of victims of sexual abuse were "always paramount", and the judge in a trial had acquitted all those facing charges.

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