Taoiseach challenges Adams on 'safe houses' for sex abusers

Enda Kenny today challenged Gerry Adams to state whether Republicans moved those accused of sex abuse to safe houses in the South.

Speaking in the Dáil chamber, the Taoiseach said there will a comprehensive Dáil debate into the issue of abuse by the IRA.

He said there are a number of very clear issues that have to be answered in the wake of his meeting with Mairia Cahill this morning.

He described as "reprehensible" the way she was "kicked about" in the past week, saying she is a courageous, confident and brave young woman.

But he said Mr Adams has questions to answer as leader of the Republican movement, and listed several.

"Whether your associates in the IRA, when it was in formal session, knew of people who were moved down to this jurisdiction to so-called 'safe houses' in this city [Dublin] … [or] other places south of here, or to Donegal or to Louth, who were guilty of sexual acts in Northern Ireland, and were moved from that location because of fear of publicity?"

"Are those people still here? Is this true? Do you know of any of the activities that they're involved in now?"

Gerry Adams has also apologised to abuse victims, admitting the IRA had let them down:

"I'm acutely conscious that there may be vicitms who were let down or failed by the IRA's inability to resolve these cases. And as Uachtaráin Sinn Féin I want to apologise to those victims."

Mairia Cahill held a meeting with Enda Kenny this morning before Leaders' Questions for around 90 minutes.

Speaking to reporters as she left Leinster House, she revealed that Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald had sent her a direct message on Twitter offering a meeting.

However, she said she would not meet with Sinn Féin until the party and its leaders "told the truth".

"I haven't refused the offer of a meeting, but in order for a meeting to take place, Sinn Féin have to admit that I've been telling the truth all along," Cahill said.

She said she found Enda Kenny to be "quite compassionate" and that he seemed "quite moved by the issues".

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