Review of authorities' handling of Mairia Cahill case to be published after election

A review of how the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) handled three cases linked to an alleged rape and IRA cover-up will be published after the British General Election.

Keir Starmer has already submitted his report to the North's Director of Public Prosecutions, Barra McGrory QC.

In a statement the PPS said: "The director is committed to publishing the report at the earliest point.

"The publication date will be finalised with Sir Keir following the General Election."

Starmer was asked to investigate three connected cases involving sex abuse and terrorist-related charges following claims by Belfast woman, Mairia Cahill.

Ms Cahill, 33, a grand-niece of prominent republican Joe Cahill, said that as a teenager in 1997 she was raped by an IRA member.

She claimed republican paramilitaries conducted their own inquiry and subjected her to interrogation before forcing her to confront her alleged attacker in a 'kangaroo court'.

The man she accused of rape was acquitted after Ms Cahill withdrew her evidence. Charges against four others allegedly involved in the IRA's internal investigation were also dropped.

Ms Cahill claims the police and PPS failed to properly investigate her allegations and was also critical of the four-year timeframe to get to court.

Starmer, who was head of the Crown Prosecution Service in England and Wales, was asked to look at whether the PPS was at fault.

He vowed to conduct a robust review and rejected any notion it would be a box-ticking exercise.

The Cahill controversy has shone a light on how the IRA dealt with alleged sex abusers during a time when co-operation with the police in republican communities in the North was extremely limited.

Claims the IRA moved some abusers south of the border have proved highly inflammatory in the Dail, where attention has centred on the response of Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams, member for the border constituency of Louth.

Mr McGrory QC, said he had commissioned the review so that, if needed, lessons could be learned.

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