'IRA member' Seamus Marley jailed for raping two boys

Seamus Marley Image copyright RTÉ
Image caption Seamus Marley, 45, is originally from north Belfast but lives in Dublin

An alleged IRA member, originally from Ardoyne in north Belfast, has been jailed for seven years for raping and sexually assaulting two teenage boys in the early 1990s.

The incident happened at what was described as a republican safe house close to the border in County Louth.

In April Seamus Marley, 45, was convicted of six counts of sexual assault and two counts of rape.

The offences took place when the two boys were 13 or 14 and 16 or 17.

During Marley's trial, the Dublin court heard he had threatened one of the boys that if he ever told anyone about what happened he would be found dead on a border road.

One of the victims had told the court, in a victim impact statement, that Marley preyed on him, groomed him and ruined him during his most important years.

He said when he later found himself in a psychiatric hospital and rang someone from Sinn Féin to get him out and get the help he needed, he knew he was on his own and that people with power were seeking to protect their own interests.

But he said "if you are right and truthful, keep shouting", as eventually someone will listen.

Image caption Seamus Marley was found guilty after a trial at Dublin's Central Criminal Court in April

The other victim said he had lived in a mental state of despair for 27 years over what had happened.

But he said there would be no more sleepless nights and he was taking his life back.

Both said they had suffered from alcohol abuse and sleeplessness.

The court was told most of the abuse happened in a house where IRA volunteers were brought in the 1980s and 1990s and stayed for a few days or weeks.

The court also heard Marley, who is now a born-again Christian, has been in a relationship with a Spanish man for 16 years and engaged in extensive charitable work in that period.

His father, Larry Marley, was a leading republican who was murdered by loyalists in 1987.

Larry Marley is said to have been the mastermind behind the 1983 IRA mass prison escape from the Maze.

Image caption IRA prisoners escaped from the former maximum security prison

One of the victims said Marley had introduced alcohol to the house and given it to him. He said he did not think anyone would believe him if he complained.

The other man told the court he had been abused by Marley beginning when he was 17 years old. He said he was told by Marley that he could be found dead on a border road if he told anyone.

Detective Garda Seamus Nolan told the court gardaí (Irish police) had no intelligence that he was involved in any paramilitary organisation until the complainants came forward with their allegations.

Marley gave evidence in his own defence and denied the allegations.

Defence counsel John Fitzgerald urged the court to sentence his client as he was now.

Sentencing Marley, Judge Paul McDermott noted that he had pleaded not guilty and had not offered sincere remorse.

The judge ordered that, when Marley completes his sentence, for the protection of society he complete a two-year supervision programme.

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