Northern Ireland

BBC Spotlight: Second 'IRA rape victim' speaks out

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Media captionMr McGahon told BBC Spotlight's Jennifer O'Leary that he was told that the alleged perpetrator had admitted abusing not just him, but others too

A second alleged sex abuse victim who claims he was raped by a member of the IRA has spoken out to criticise how republicans dealt with his case.

Paudie McGahon told BBC Spotlight he was subjected to an IRA "kangaroo court" after a Sinn Féin representative was told of the allegations.

He said the IRA offered to kill the alleged rapist but instead exiled him.

It follows similar allegations made to the programme by Belfast woman Maíria Cahill last year.

It is five months since Ms Cahill waived her right to anonymity as an alleged victim of sexual abuse to tell her story of how Sinn Féin and the IRA dealt with her claims that she had been raped by an alleged IRA man when she was 16.

Since then republicans have repeatedly questioned her version of events.

But now, BBC Spotlight has conducted an interview with another man who tells a remarkably similar story. This time, the case is alleged to have taken place in the Republic of Ireland.

'Remain silent'

Paudie McGahon is from County Louth, and grew up in a strongly republican household.

He said IRA members would use his family home often as a safe house.

He alleges that when he was 17, an IRA man, from a well-known republican family in Belfast, abused him and then threatened him to remain silent.

Recalling his experiences, Mr McGahon told the programme what happened when he tried to escape from his alleged rapist.

"He says 'listen to me, if you ever open your mouth about this to anybody you'll be found on the border roads'.

"Many's a person asks me 'why didn't you go to a doctor? Why didn't you go to this?'

"This isn't stuff that you walk into a doctor and say, 'your man raped me last night'," Mr McGahon said.

Image caption Paudie McGahon told his story to BBC Spotlight reporter Jennifer O'Leary

He told the programme he felt he could not report the matter to the Garda (Irish police).

"How can you report it to the guards, when you have been threatened keep your mouth shut? So I hid it all, I hid it all," he said.

'In custody'

Mr McGahon said that for years, he told no-one about what had happened.

But in 2002, he said he broke his silence on the alleged abuse, and a local Sinn Féin representative was informed.

Mr McGahon said he was then subjected to an IRA 'kangaroo court' in his family home.

In a second meeting that he said he had with the IRA, Mr McGahon claimed he was told that the alleged perpetrator had admitted abusing not just him, but others too and that he had been detained by republicans.

Mr McGahon told the programme that the IRA man said: "We have him in custody. We have other comrades standing over him at the minute.

"He is in custody and he is not going anywhere until we have dealt with him. But by the way, he has admitted to doing what he did, plus other people."

'Bullet'

Mr McGahon also spoke to BBC Spotlight about the 'options' he says were outlined to him by the IRA.

"The first one was for them to deal with it - put a bullet in the back of his head," Mr McGahon said.

"It was said with such ease you knew that it wouldn't be a problem."

Mr McGahon said it was eventually agreed that the man would be expelled to England.

BBC Spotlight asked Sinn Féin whether the party leadership had been informed of this case, and if so, when.

The party did not answer that specific question but said that "at all times, those concerned acted in the best interests of the victims of alleged abuse, consistent with party guidelines".

'Live investigation'

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said that Sinn Féin's priority was to support victims of abuse whether that abuse was historical or contemporary and that the party would support victims in their efforts to get truth and justice.

"Sinn Féin has rigorous child protection guidelines. At all times the Sinn Féin representatives seek to support the victims of alleged abuse," Mr Adams said.

"We believe that all victims of abuse should be supported to access the justice system and social services and that the most appropriate bodies to deal with these allegations are the Gardaí [Irish police]and social services.

"I have previously acknowledged that the actions of republicans in the past in dealing with allegations of sexual abuse were inadequate and inappropriate."

Mr Adams said Paudie McGahon "clearly feels badly let down".

"Nothing that I may say will change this but it is a matter of deep regret to me," he said.

"I hope that justice is served and support delivered to Mr McGahon."

In BBC's Spotlight programme on Tuesday, Mr McGahon claimed senior republican Padraic Wilson, 55, was involved in the kangaroo court meetings he said he was subjected to.

In a statement issued through his solicitor on Tuesday, Mr Wilson said he does not know nor has he ever met Mr McGahon.

He said: "I have had no dealings whatsoever with the man he alleges raped him.

"As a victim of alleged abuse Mr McGahon has every right to have his allegations pursued through due process.

"But I refute entirely the allegations that he has made against me."

Mr Wilson said he he had previously offered to assist the garda investigation in an effort to "clear up this matter".

Meanwhile, Justice Minister David Ford has ruled out holding a cross-border review into allegations of sexual abuse by members of the IRA while individual agencies of the justice system in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland conduct their inquiries.

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