It is a measure of the ability of researchers to perform the task of investigative journalism to a quality that so cuts to the chase that they immediately become the target of vitriol from the swollen ranks of those who just revel in taking offence, at the very moment of disclosure. After last evening’s BBC Spotlight documentary which addressed the hyper-sensitive matter of rape by a member of the IRA, Francie Molloy, a Member of the British parliament in Westminster, led the by now familiar Sinn Fein refrain.
Which basically amounts to nothing more than Father Francie pretending there is a rapeocrat conspiracy out to undermine the peace process. It does this by attacking the inherent goodness of his political church and its beleaguered bishop who in Francie's considered opinion, should be praised for the pastoral work of his ministers and not held to account for any rapes they may have committed on his watch.
That the peace process seems to have failed lamentably to undermine the rape process somehow does not figure in Father Francie’s theologising as he sought to include the Spotlight team, the Indo and the Blue shirts in a grand conspiracy against the Green shirts.
This was nothing other than a politician taking nasty umbrage at his party being subject to the same type of scrutiny another BBC documentary had previously subjected the Catholic Church to. It seems okay for the BBC to scrutinise the Cardinal of Ireland's affairs but not the Bishop of Louth's.
Earlier on RTE a much tetchier Sinn Fein president was complaining that he could answer questions without the presenter interrupting. Adams is quite capable of answering questions. He just can’t answer them truthfully. It is something which gives every serious interviewer a considerable psychological edge.
Paudie McGahon, despite the usual doubts of Jude Collins when it comes to allegations of sexual abuse against priests and Provos, was an incredibly compelling witness. His testimony was both persuasive and moving. The harrowing account he offered was so strong that it was possible to blot out the abuser and see only the deep suffering of the abused. He came forward despite seeing the hate campaign launched against Mairia Cahill both to undermine her credibility and deter anyone else who might think of telling their story.
And tell their story people shall. The impact of what they tell will be greatly amplified solely because Sinn Fein remains in the firm grip of its martial leadership which was responsible for both directing the IRA's war and prescribing the mechanisms and procedures by which the IRA court system operated. The party in the absence of that martial leadership would not have to answer for the manner in which the IRA handled sexual abuse claims against its members. Mary Lou McDonald without the albatross of Gerry Adams' past around her neck would emerge from a media grilling relatively unscathed.
Spotlight is at the cutting edge of investigative journalism in the North, only last week exposing the PSNI for being extremely reluctant to process a case against a loyalist killer in order to protect its own present and past members who were up to their necks in running teams of loyalist killers. Of course Spotlight will be accused by Sinn Fein trolls of being a repeat offender, but only for having investigated the repeat offending by the IRA. Not that the IRA as an organisation was guilty of rape but it has certainly been guilty of cover up. And that cover up has been meticulously directed by the army council which the Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams served on for three decades. Jennifer O’Leary of Spotlight should be awarded for public service, not smeared by the doyens and dullards of Sinn Fein for doing exactly what Sinn Fein demanded be done of the Catholic Church.