Europe

Irish police seeking 'IRA man' in child sex abuse case

Garda officer
Image caption The investigation is being carried out by a team of detectives on Dublin's northside

Interpol and gardaí (Irish police) are seeking a man, believed to have been a leading figure in the IRA, who disappeared before he was due to stand trial for child sex abuse.

The man, 68, is believed by security sources to have been a major figure in the IRA's Southern Command.

He fled to Spain after the IRA's murder of Det Jerry McCabe at Adare in Co Limerick, in 1996.

The man is originally from Belfast.

He cannot be named for legal reasons.

The alleged victim told gardaí that she was sexually assaulted by the man, who was known to her, on four occasions in the early 1990s when she was still a girl.

The man was extradited from Spain in 2016 and given bail despite garda objections.

He complied with his bail conditions, including surrendering his passport and regular signing on at a garda station for a year, before he disappeared.

He was due to stand trial in 2017.

It's understood that the case is only now coming to light after media enquiries.

It's also understood that gardaí were unable to publicise what had happened because of the nature of the charges against him.

The man is believed to have fled abroad.

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