Wednesday, March 11, 2015

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A Sinn Fein Rabbit in the Spotlight

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.

Meanwhile the bishop himself had to distance himself from the vituperative comments of his underling – so obnoxious were they that even Francie too had to abandon his own handiwork - when questioned on RTE television news this evening. Intuitively sensing the perilous pitch he was now being asked to play on, Gerry Adams was not for aping Francie and putting the ball in his own net. Francie’s comments, viewers were told, were inappropriate and had been withdrawn.

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.

25 comments :

Simon said...

Victims of serious crime particularly sexual crime should always be encouraged to speak to the police. They should be discouraged from giving any sensitive information that would enable the police to disregard the abuse and focus on security issues. They need justice and during the conflict they would have been unlikely to get it. From the police or anyone else.

There was too big a gap in accountability.

Better the police with their forensic and other skills deal with things than chancing nepotism or favouritism.

If the police exploit sexual crime for narrow political or security aims then that should be in turn used to prove a cautious approach was necessary.

Republicans could have done better when it came to dealing with abuse victims. But they were shackled by the conflict. It wouldn't make much sense to go to your enemy to deal with your internal crime.

This particular case was post-conflict and has less reason to have been dealt with covertly.

I don't think 'cover-up' is the right word. The expulsions were the punishment. Just as drug dealers were expelled so too sexual offenders. They weren't expelled to hide the crime but to punish.

Saying that, it should have been dealt with greater efficacy and any breaches of security, when victims go to the police, should fall with the perpetrators and not the victim. That would dissuade the bastards.

And since no-one magically becomes immune from becoming a sex offender as soon as they join any given organisation there will be more stories like this. All organisations have their predators. It is how they're limited and how they're dealt with that counts.

I feel pain for any victim of sexual violence. I wouldn't want my worst enemy to be a victim.

AM said...

Simon,

perceptive comment.

But if it was punishment alone why were the cases not detailed in the AP/RN and why were victims pressurised into remaining silent?

Furthermore, was the way Liam Adams was dealt with punishment or cover up?

Simon said...

I can only suppose victims were pressured into silence lest a police investigation open up all sorts of avenues into intelligence.

It's only conjecture but you need to build a relationship of trust and reliability with an investigating officer no matter what sort of crime you are reporting. Through a relationship like this a vulnerable victim could be easily turned. I say the perpetrator of the original crime should be held responsible for the outcome.

I don't have enough knowledge of the workings of particular cases like Liam Adams. I read he was knee-capped but have no idea why. I know he wasn't presented to the police by Gerry Adams. The victim went to the police and the police wanted information irrelevant to the investigation to say the least. Should Gerry have gone to the police or told others without his niece's consent? He should definitely have asked her to be allowed to do so. Then any question of confidentiality or consent would be answered.

Not all victims of sexual crime want the trauma of reporting a crime or going through a court case. Telling someone about it isn't the same as giving them the right or the duty to go to the police.

Saying that, many horrific mistakes were made. Both by Republicans and the individuals who made up that movement. Some mistakes were worse than others.

Justice should be found for existing victims. Dogmatic demands to never deal with the police by Republicans today will create future problems.

Victims of sexual crime should always have access to those trained in forensic investigation and formal justice. No matter how flawed it's better than what has happened up to now.

Simon said...

Also the BBC by saying "he was subjected to a kangaroo court" implies he was the one on trial in that court. It might have felt that way. The formal adversarial court system that the state runs also makes victims feel like the abuse happens all over again. A court untrained, unskilled and unprepared for sexual abuse claims although they must have frequently occurred would be likely to be as bad if not worse. But there has definitely been a spin put on things by some.

Horrific and unforgivable abuse occurred and was dealt with in a shoddy manner. Political point scoring either through attacking others or defending yourself is morally wrong and doesn't help the yearning for justice.

AM said...

Simon,

valid point as to why victims were pressurised into silence. But why are they still being pressurised into silence? Seems to me that it is about protecting Adams' political career.

I think there were a range of motives which cover what you suggest but also include cover up. Today the leadership is clearly covering up its role in the management of this issue.

The RUC were remiss in the Liam Adams case but Gerry Adams reported the child's mother for head lice but not the child's father for rape. There is something seriously wrong there.

Simon said...

AM, the police are still prosecuting people allegedly involved in IRA investigations. Why would they stop and what incentive is there for them to restrain themselves from looking for more 'valuable' intelligence?

I think there is a fear of ending up in jail and that is more pressing than Gerry's career. Gerry seems to weather storms as it is. I don't think he is the lowest common denominator.

The approach to abuse victims was wrong and more effort should have been made to prevent, mitigate and make right through formal justice any crime like that.

It is a mess. Could it have been otherwise?

Simon said...

As for sexual abuse there is a vile practice of stigmatising the victims. This was more of a culture in the past than today. In society as a whole victims were laughed at, joked about and ridiculed. "How could they be so dumb?" was the attitude from those who only added insult to injury.

Rumours always occur and it is difficult to bring a court case without word getting out.

This would dissuade even the strongest victim from seeking justice and risking the secret being out on the open. There is official anonymity but that isn't watertight. Without permission I can't see how someone can unilaterally go to the police. Permission should be sought and counsel given but outside of that victims should be applauded for having the guts to engage in a failed system.

The percentage of cases going to court are low and the success rates and lengths of sentences are laughable. We should remember the rates were worse and the way victims were treated was worse in the recent past also. As we look further and further back in time victims were treated in a more and more abominable fashion.

Thankfully today the system has improved greatly and people have a better opportunity for finding justice. The stigma however diminished still needs to be challenged.

Henry JoY said...

Surely anyone with the slightest modicum of decency must now ask of themselves can they afford any further allegiance to this corrupt movement.

Shouldn't any healthily cautious and thinking human give any of its derivatives a wide berth too? Mustn't it pose questions for any sentient being as to what sort of individuals are attracted to such cults in the first place? What motivates them; in what ways have they been damaged or traumatised, for what reason have they not succeeded in developing their capacity for getting their needs met in a more wholesome way?

These questions ought be addressed before offering support to such parties or groupings.

Peter said...

Simon
"I don't think 'cover-up' is the right word. The expulsions were the punishment"

Nonsense. Some punishment. They were free to continue their vile crimes in other countries. How many children were raped by these "punished" criminals? That is the scandal. That is the cover up.

Simon said...

Peter, I didn't say it was a just punishment. I pointed out that drug dealers were also expelled. Was that an intended cover-up too? Drug dealers were also free to continue to peddle their trade wherever they ended up.

My pal was offered a kneecapping or to be expelled out of the country. He chose the latter as it was less of a punishment.

They way they punished sex offenders was wrong and badly thought out. What punishment should they have received given that Republicans wouldn't have passed on the information to the police? They had to deal with it themselves due to fear of the police locking everyone up including those not involved in any sex crime.

I say they should have gone to the police with such weighty crimes. But every organisation has its rapists. It's a matter of the demographics of the sexual offender. Look at how they infiltrated human rights group 'Liberty'.

If you can suggest a better punishment than expulsion from the country given the real politik of not dealing with the police. Without killing them they would always be free to continue their crimes. Any other punishment short of death would be a cover-up. If a punishment was public the police would get involved and who better to turn than a disgraced sex offender?

The conflict and Republicans' ability to fight it took precedence. No-one wanted a weak link or a vulnerable security problem. I say that was wrong. They should have gone to the cops.

larry hughes said...

Simon

I think boys were targeted for rape because the shame of exposure ensured they would keep the secret. The abusers were manipulative and very clever. Kids weren't dumb, just kids. There's a lot of attention now on these horrendous crimes and rightly so. The possibility of false accusations coming in the wake of this should also not be ignored. False accusations are as potentially traumatic and enduring on a victim and there's nothing private about those. The victim does not have the choice of going public or not.

As for SF and those inside the party and those determined to support it no matter what, it just indicates how sick our nation actually is. I'm coming to the conclusion that this country (both sides of the border) has a lot of work to do. Partition is not the problem, the people are the problem.

Simon said...

Anyone who denies the IRA used expulsions as a punishment is being either forgetful or disingenuous.

Having the prospect of an unplanned, unscheduled and probably unfunded move away from home within 24 or 48 hours or being shot is a definite punishment. Think how you would like it.

In February 2002 the British government debated the matter and it was still an issue until recently.

AM said...

Simon,

the Liam Adams case is not merely about Gerry going to the police. If he could report the mum for lice to social/health workers why not the father for rape? The harm from lice was hardly of the magnitude of that from rape.

Liam was recycled around the communities. His presence in those communities was known to Gerry. Gerry's lying about it in respect of Louth is now a matter of public record

Why was the father given a full republican funeral if not to cover up his role as a perpetrator?

You seem to feel that because the rape victim in Liam's case did not go to the police or did not want it to go to the police constrained Gerry's ability to do so. But the corollary of that is that Gerry with his knowledge that a child rapist was at large continued to allow it to happen and warned no one of the danger. He was quite willing to allow Liam to stand as an elected representative. In law and journalism and law there is a term called heinous discovery which in order to prevent future harm the person in possession of such heinous knowledge is obliged to share it. Gerry concealed it. He concealed it as part of a cover up.

You are right about the police still looking for something that will allow them to jail people for IRA activity. But there are ways to come clean about matters that would not lead to prosecutions but which would cause problems for a political career.

I agree expulsions were a punishment but they often ran parallel with cover up.

I think there is an onus on the SF leadership to reveal the full extent of the problem, allow people to come forward or at least explain why they will not, and discourage the campaign of intimidation that the trolls are waging against people who do come forward.

If we were back at war today would we handle it any differently? I don't think so. I still don't feel the type of culture you accurately outlined would encourage us to allow out people to be dealt with by the enemy police. I think the IRA was heavily constrained by the logic arising from its war. But now that the war is over the extent of the problem can be disclosed.

What the SF leadership wants to cover up is its own role in how the IRA dealt with matters of sexual abuse. And that in my view is about protecting political careers. They should step aside and no longer allow political careers to stand in the way of tackling this issue.

As ever thanks for your critique.

AM said...

This hascover up and abdication of responsibility all over it

Seán Ó Maoilearca said...

I would have no problem exchanging western pedophiles for western aid workers and journalists with jihadi John.

Organized Rage said...

I agree with Simon's comments, it seems to me the individual mentioned in the Spotlight film whoever he might be, was a soldier and would have been tasked to conduct the inquiry. From what we have heard, he did the best job he could have done at that time.

As far as the SF TD Morgan is concerned I feel he did his best in a difficult situation. At the time he could not have reported the abuse to the police without the victim's permission.

As to the abuser returning to Ireland, once the IRA was stood down, there really wasn't much the republican movement could do about it legally.

In truth back then I cannot see how the IRA could have dealt with members within its ranks who acted as sexual preditors and peadophiles in a different way. By the way I doubt the IRA contained any more of these than any army, as such people gravitate to the power the military gives them.

I don't feel the case of Liam Adams is relevant here as it raised all sorts of questions, family history and loyalties, how do families act when they have realised they have a monster within.

Thankfully these are issues which most of us have never had to face and my heart goes out to those who have suffered such misfortune. Whoever they might be.

AM said...

Mick,

how do families react when they have a monster within? What they do not do is risk inflicting them on any other family.

I think it wrong to take the line that family history determined this. As the barrister said during cross examination saving political skin was more what determined behaviour here.

The problems posed by this type of thing are of a post war nature. They tend not to arise during war. This is what makes a party vulnerable when it has martial politicians in key positions. And if these politicians make demands that cardinals stand aside for covering up sex abuse, then trouble is never far away.

And Kincora tells us quite a bit about the state's attitude to these matters.

Sinn Fein should avoid looking like the SWP did when the Comrade Delta issue raised its head.

Boyne Rover said...

Organized Rage
If Maria or Paudie were your children would you be happy with how these thugs handled both of their complaints ,


Peter said...

Organised Rage
"In truth back then I cannot see how the IRA could have dealt with members within its ranks who acted as sexual preditors and peadophiles in a different way"
So just move them on to somewhere else to continue their kiddie fiddling? You think that is the best option?

larry hughes said...

Boyne Rover

Had it been my kids I would be in jail now never getting out and SF wouldn't be having leadership issues.

Boyne Rover said...

Larry people handle situations differently and I for one would never want anyone else taking a leaf out of my book or anyone else's, but I am in total agreement with you, I remember a prominent member of Sinn Fein from Derry a few years back was on telly describing how he brought his son to the IRA for a punishment beating , this is how dangerous society has become only a moron or someone who had been brainwashed would do should a thing, in my opinion a father who would do such a thing to his child is capable of anything , my belief is that this father would condemn another father for sexually abusing his own child, but a punishment beating by the freedom fighters of the Provo’s is ok

Organized Rage said...

Just a couple of points, what happened in the case i'm commentating on was a naive young man was take advantage of by an older man. This had nothing to do with child abuse no matter how wrong and awful for the young man it was.

The IRA became involved because the victim complained to them, as the family did not trust the police to do the right thing; we should not lose sight of this..

In truth I am shocked the predator got off so lightly. As by abusing this lad in a safe house, provided by his parents, he put in jeopardy the likelihood of supporters offering their homes as a sanctuary for volunteers on the run, or what ever.

The abuser understood this perfectly otherwise he would have not needed to threaten his victim with death.

The expulsion was punishment for taking advantage of the lad, but I do wonder what the punishment was for breaking the IRA's green book? After all volunteers were shot for much less. That is the question I would ask, or did they cover up for one of their own?

As to the Spotlight programe what worries me about it is the IRA man who was allegedly tasked to investigate this case was named, but the man who sexualy abused this lad was not. Surely that cannot be right and for me it raised questions about why the programe was broadcast.

Boyne Rover

I do not disagree with you comment, but I would add any parent who takes his child to the police to deal with their misbehavior is equally wrong. Whether in Ireland or England I would add. In my experience and I have seen this happen on a number of occasions, no good ever comes of it. To my mind only a moron or someone who had been brainwashed would do should a thing.

AM said...

Mick,

taking advantage of is an anodyne way of expressing it. The youth was raped. The rapist is said to have raped people much younger than Paudie McGahan.

It was the Garda, not the RUC. The young man claims to have been in two minds about going to the Garda. According to him Sinn Fein advised him to go but told him that in going he would jeopardise the situation of the younger victim.

The perp got off lightly in my view largely because of who his family was not because the IRA approved of what he did. I imagine they felt they were treating family leniently.

I think the man who is alleged to have chaired the investigation was named by Spotlight because he has been alleged to have sat on other inquires but that does not detract from the point you make.

Organized Rage said...

taking advantage of is an anodyne way of expressing it

AM

Indeed, maybe i didn't explain what I meant well, when I wrote taking advantage I was referring to how the perp came to share the bedroom with Paudie McGahan, ie the ghost stuff mentioned in the Spotlight film. This is not a criticism Paudie, he was 17 and understandable probably naive about the devious behavior of sexual predators, I know I was at that age.

After he manipulated his way into the lad's bedroom the bastard raped him, i'm very clear about that.

AM said...

Well, that's that cleared up Mick.