Sinn Fein county councillor Pearse McGeough has issued a statement about his knowledge of allegations of sexual abuse made against a member of the IRA in 2002.
Two men claim they were sexually abused as teenagers by an IRA member in their home, an IRA safe house, in Co Louth.
It was claimed last week that the men reported their allegations to a Sinn Fein member and that the matter was investigated by a so-called IRA kangaroo court.
In a statement at the weekend, Cllr Pearse McGeough acknowledged that he had been made aware of the allegations made against an IRA member but he stressed that he advised the brothers to go to the Gardai.
“I am aware of the case of alleged abuse that has recently appeared in the press,” Cllr McGeough said at the weekend.
“I have known the family concerned for over 30 years. When I became aware of the abuse allegation I worked to support the victims.
“I was acutely aware that the best agency to deal with the matter were the gardaí and advised the family to report the matter to the gardai.
“The victims disclosed the abuse when they became adults and decided not to notify the gardaí. I fully recognise that going to the authorities is huge step for victims and supported their decision.
“Over the intervening period I have continued to support the family and advise them to go to the gardaí. With the agreement of one of the alleged victims I arranged to accompany them to the garda station to make a complaint. However shortly before the meeting the alleged victim decided not to go ahead at that time.
“I am aware a formal complaint has been made and a garda investigation is underway. I hope that this will lead to some closure, justice and support for the family. I will provide any information I have on the matter as part of the garda investigation and will continue to support the family,” Cllr McGeough said.
The day before Cllr McGeough’s statement was issued , a number of Sinn Fein councillors spoke to the Dundalk Democrat and said they did not know the name of the Sinn Fein representative to whom the alleged abuse had been reported.
Cllr Jennifer Green, Cllr Kevin Meenan, Cllr Edel Corrigan and Cllr Tomás Sharkey all told this paper that they were not aware of who the representative was.
Representing Sinn Fein councillors in Louth, Tomás Sharkey said: “Sinn Fein rules are very clear. If a representative or member of party is given any information regarding abuse, we must go directly to the gardaí or HSE authorities.
“It would be wrong for any Sinn Fein representative or member of the public to convene an investigation when it is clear that is a job for the gardaí or the HSE authorities.
“This could not and should not have happened.”
The latest allegations have increased the pressure on Sinn Fein following the controversy over Mairia Cahill’s allegations that that the IRA tried to cover up sexual abuse in its ranks.
Newspapers over the weekend claimed that as many as ten alleged abusers fled Northern Ireland to Louth, Donegal and other counties in the wake of allegations made against them.
Last week in the Dail, Taoiseach Enda Kenny challenged Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams to reveal whether Republican abusers were “exiled” to “safe houses” in Louth, Donegal or Dublin.