Adams: IRA was 'ill equipped' to deal with abuse allegations

Gerry Adams has admitted he regrets how the IRA dealt with rapists.

The Sinn Féin leader has issued a statement this evening in the wake of abuse allegations by Maria Cahill.

Maria Cahill first came to public attention when she claimed she had been raped by a leading Republican back in 1997 at the age of just 16.

Ms Cahill went on to say that Sinn Féin's Gerry Adams knew about her situation and met with her, but failed to report the matter to authorities.

She also claimed that members of the IRA held their own version of an investigation into the alleged assualt and in the process brought her face to face with her reported assailant.

Tonight Gerry Adams once more refuted Maíria’s allegations against himself and Sinn Féin but he did concede that the IRA had 'made mistakes' in its efforts to fill what he called 'a policing vaccum' in the North.

Mr Adams admited that IRA personnel were 'singularly ill-equipped' to deal with matters including child abuse and rape and said 'victims were left without social service support and abusers without supervision'.

He flatly denies there was any cover up and claims he told Maria's family to advise her to go to the RUC. When she finally did go to the police, he said co-operated with the investigation.

Gerry Adams ended by saying anyone who has any information whatsoever about any child abuse should come forward to the authorities North or South and they will have the full support of Sinn Féin in so doing.

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