Northern Ireland

Máiría Cahill: social services 'were aware of abuse claims'

Máiría Cahill
Image caption Máiría Cahill says she is willing to meet Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald

Máiría Cahill has said social services were made aware of abuse allegations 18 years ago but did not act upon them.

Ms Cahill alleges she was raped as a teenager by an IRA man and that Sinn Féin and the IRA tried to cover it up.

The Police Ombudsman report into how her allegations, and those of three other women, were handled said the police service "failed" the women.

The Department of Health said its staff will "respond appropriately" when they have time to review the report.

Speaking to BBC's Good Morning Ulster, Ms Cahill said social services received an anonymous tip-off in September 2000.

She also said social services closed the file two months later.

"I want social services to step up to the plate and explain what their actions were in relation to this.

"I want to know from them why they also failed us victims," she added.

Image caption Máiría Cahill said she reported her abuse to Gerry Adams when he was leader of Sinn Féin

Ms Cahill also rejected the apology from Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald.

"I expect her to apologise personally for her own actions and what she said about me when I went public in 2014.

Ms Cahill said she would meet Ms McDonald "anytime anywhere" as long as there is "an independent arbitrator there who can provide a proper record of that meeting".

Ms Cahill is a member of a prominent republican family and her great-uncle, Joe Cahill, was one of the founders of the Provisional IRA.

In 2010, she told the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) that she had been abused and raped by an alleged IRA member from 1997 to 1998.

Two other women also reported that they were abused by the same man, but the accused denied the allegations and the prosecution case against him collapsed in 2014.

On Thursday, as the Police Ombudsman published a critical report into police officers' handling of the case, Sinn Féin responded to Ms Cahill's demand for an apology.

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