MOLESTATION IS RAPE AND RAPE IS RAPE
A Shame Fein junior minister has insisted she did not act improperly by not reporting abuse claims made by Mairia Cahill.
At a debate in Stormont on Tuesday night about Ms Cahill’s claims, DUP MLA Paula Bradley said Shame Fein junior minister Jennifer McCann (pictued above) should consider her position. But Ms McCann said there was “no improper conduct in my actions” and that Ms Cahill had never indicated that she wanted her to report the allegations. Ms Cahill waived her right to anonymity last month to say that she had been raped by alleged PIRA member Martin Morris in 1997, when she was 16. She also claimed she had been questioned about the alleged abuse by an PIRA ‘kangaroo court’ that had eventually led to her being forced to face Morris. A case was brought against Morris, who denied the allegations. But all charges were dropped earlier this year after Ms Cahill withdrew her evidence. A motion put forward by the DUP called for a “full inquiry” into Ms McCann’s actions to “establish any impropriety as well as any breach of the Ministerial Code of Conduct”. Ms McCann said Ms Cahill had told her in confidence about the abuse allegations in 2005 when the pair worked togeather. But she said “at no time” did Ms Cahill suggest that she wanted Ms McCann to report the alleged abuse. She said she advised Ms Cahill to seek counselling and also allowed the alleged abuse victim to stay at her home one night because she was “particulary distressed and on her own”. She added: “I would not cover up or protect anyone who has been accused of rape or sexual abuse.” Ms McCann said she felt that her “credibility not only as junior minister but also in a personal sense as a woman and particularly as a mother is under attack through this disgraceful motion and what members in this chamber have said both during this debate and over the past few weeks”. But Ms Bradly claimed that Ms McCann had “failed” Ms Cahill. “She failed to properly support her, to tell the relevant people of the allegations of the abuse, and she failed herself to report the allegations in order to ensure that they could be investigated,” she said. Ms Bradley said that Ms McCann’s position was “now untenable” because as a junior minister she has responsibilites relating to historical institutional abuse and young people. Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said Ms McCann had “acted at all times with care and compassion”. “There is absolutley basis or substance to any suggestion that she is in breach of the Ministerial Code,” he said. He said the motion was a “wholly unjustified and unfounded attack” on Ms McCann’s “integrity and sincerity”. He also accused the DUP and the SDLP of exploting the issue “in the most crass and self-serving way”. However, SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly said: “it is Shame Fein who are politicising the debate. Mairia Cahill is the victim in this, not Martin (J118) McGuinness or Jennifer McCann.
With many thanks to: The Irish News, for the origional story