Alleged IRA man guilty of raping two boys in County Louth

Dublin Criminal Court

A 45-year-old alleged IRA man has been found guilty of raping two teenage boys in the Republic of Ireland.

The offences happened in County Louth two decades ago.

The man had pleaded not guilty to charges of rape and sexual assault on dates in the early 1990s and in 2001.

The court heard the boys lived in a large house owned by a "dedicated republican" which was used as a "safe house", according to Irish broadcaster RTÉ.

A jury at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin returned a unanimous guilty verdict on eight of the ten charges the man faced.

He was remanded in custody pending sentencing.

'Big brother figure'

The man cannot be named under Irish law, in which a person found guilty of a sexual offence retains their anonymity until a judge rules that they can be named.

If the victim waives his or her right to anonymity then the judge can allow the abuser to be named.

Dublin's Central Criminal Court heard testimony from the first complainant that he lived in the house in the 1980s and 1990s and that IRA members would be brought to the property during the night to stay for a few days or weeks.

He told the court that he looked up to the accused man as a "big brother figure" after he first came to stay in 1991 or 1992.

The court heard that the man began to sexually abuse him when he was 13 or 14.

He rejected defence claims that he had been in a relationship with the accused and had engaged in consensual sexual activity on the night he alleges he was raped in 2001.

'Found on a border road'

The second complainant testified that the house he lived in as a teenager was used to house people as they travelled to "missions" across the border.

He accused the man of sexually abusing him during a camping trip when he was 17 and again at the house.

He added that the accused man warned him that if he told anyone about the abuse he would be "found on a border road".

The accused man testified that he stayed at the house about "half a dozen" times for up to two nights on each occasion in the early 1990s while working a casual job.

He denied sexually abusing the two boys and agreed with prosecuting counsel that he was "the victim of a series of unfortunate lies".

The court also heard that gardaí (Irish police) had no indication the accused was involved in any paramilitary organisation until the complainants came forward with their allegations.

The judge remanded the 45-year-old in custody for sentencing at a later date.