Northern Ireland

Peter Robinson to meet with Maíria Cahill

Maíria Cahill
Image caption Maíria Cahill waived her right to anonymity to speak to the BBC's Spotlight programme

A west Belfast woman who claims republicans were involved in a cover-up of sexual abuse is to meet with First Minister Peter Robinson later.

Maíria Cahill has said she was raped by a suspected IRA member and interrogated about it by the organisation.

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

Mr Robinson said Ms Cahill had been "incredibly courageous" in waiving her right to anonymity.

"Since making her case public, Maíria has become a source of encouragement for others in similar circumstances," he said.

"Whilst I could never fully imagine the trauma Maíria has had to endure, I will be listening to her story, supporting her campaign for truth and justice and providing any help I can."

Meanwhile, Irish prime minister (Taoiseach) Enda Kenny has said would be happy to meet Ms Cahill.

An Irish government spokesperson said Ms Cahill had requested the meeting.

The spokesperson added that arrangements were being made to facilitate the request.

On Thursday, Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt said he wanted the issue to be discussed at Stormont inter-party talks.

"I have promised Maíria Cahill I will raise her allegations of sexual abuse and intimidation by members of the IRA," he said.

Sinn Féin has also offered to meet with Ms Cahill to answer allegations she has made against party members.

Ms Cahill waived her right to anonymity to speak to BBC Northern Ireland's Spotlight programme, broadcast on Tuesday night.

The Belfast woman is a 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 was a long-time associate of Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams.

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