Varadkar: I don't believe Gerry Adams' denials over abuse

The Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, said he doesn't believe Gerry Adams' claims that he has no knowledge of Republican sex abusers being moved from the North to the Republic.

The Sinn Féin President made the remarks during yesterday's Dáil debate on the allegations brought forward by Mairia Cahill, after the Taoiseach accused the party of "unholy collusion" in covering up alleged sex abuse by members of the IRA.

Minister Leo Varadkar says the Republican movement has "consistently told us lies about the past".

"I don't [believe it]. The revelations that the republican movement may have moved child abusers around the country, and exported some from the north to the south are very worrying," he said.

"I think it's high time that Sinn Féin started telling us the truth about their past, about the present and about the future."

After yesterday's Dáil statements, Mairia Cahill said she knows of one alleged IRA abuser who was moved to the care of a priest in New York.

"We know of one in particular that was moved to the succour of a priest in New York … and moved back again. Scotland was another location, I think, even mentioned about Sinn Féin," she said.

"We're talking about children here … being at risk. Any parent out there will know, as Mary Lou said yesterday, you'd walk over hot coals to protect them. That's what we need to do as a country, both North and South."

Minister Varadkar also criticised Gerry Adams' joke about holding a newspaper editor at gun point.

Deputy Adams made the comments at a fundraising function in New York and a subsequent online blog, referring to an Old IRA raid on the offices of the Irish Independent.

"And when the Irish Independent condemned his actions as ‘murder most foul’ what did Michael Collins do? He dispatched his men to the office of the Independent and held the editor at gun point as they dismantled the entire printing machinery and destroyed it," Adams wrote.

The remarks - which were used to hit out at media scrutiny of his handling of Mairia Cahill's sex abuse allegations - have been criticised by journalism unions around the world.

"I imagine it was intended as some form of joke, but I think it's a bit inappropriate for somebody to start joking about killing people or holding them at gunpoint," Varadkar said.

"This is a man who likes to compare himself to Mandela - he's now comparing himself to Michael Collins. He has quite an opinion of himself."

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