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IRA ‘interrogated young rape victim’

14 October 2014
Last updated at 11:09

Maíria Cahill has waived her right to anonymity to speak to BBC Spotlight about how the IRA interrogated her and forced her to confront the man she claimed had raped her as a teenager

A woman has claimed the IRA forced her to confront her alleged rapist before forcing her into silence to protect the republican movement from her claims.

Maíria Cahill said she was raped as a teenager and was later interrogated by the IRA about her allegations.

She claimed she was subjected to a kangaroo court, while the IRA tried to find out if it was her or her alleged rapist who was telling the truth.

Ms Cahill has waived her right to anonymity to speak to BBC Spotlight.

‘Face-to-face meeting’

The Belfast woman is member of one of the republican movement’s best-known families.

Her great uncle, Joe Cahill, was one of the founders of the Provisional IRA and a long-time associate of Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams.

Ms Cahill said that in 1997, when she was 16, she was subjected to a 12-month cycle of sexual abuse, including rape, by a man who was believed to be a member of the IRA.

The man denied the allegations and was later acquitted in court.

However, the programme focuses on how the IRA dealt with an alleged rape victim, forcing her to meet face-to-face with the man she claimed had attacked her.

Ms Cahill described how the IRA questioned her repeatedly, often several nights a week, for months about the abuse allegations, before summoning her to a meeting with her alleged abuser in early 2000.

Forced confrontation

“They told me that they were going to read my body language to see who was telling the truth and that they were going to bring him into a room,” she said.

The programme will examine what the IRA did following the forced confrontation.

Ms Cahill also said that month later, she met Mr Adams to discuss her abuse allegations.

She later reported the alleged abuse to police, and also named the IRA’s so-called investigators.

In a statement, Gerry Adams told Spotlight that he co-operated with the Police Service of Northern Ireland in the course of their investigation.

BBC Spotlight will be broadcast on BBC One Northern Ireland at 22:35 BST on Tuesday 14 October. Available on the iPlayer afterwards.

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On this day: January 23rd 1980- the death of Guisippe Conlon while in a British Prison.

Death of Giuseppe Conlon (Summary of BBC Spotlight Feature)

Giuseppe Conlon’s health continues to deteriorate in Wormwood Scrubs prison where he his serving a sentence for possession of explosives (please see context below). He dies on Jan 23rd 1980, the same day Home Secretary William Whitelaw decides to grant him parole.

Reporter Gavin Esler hears from Alastair Logan, Giuseppe Conlon’s solicitor.
Mr. Logan strongly believes Giuseppe to have been an innocent man who maintained his innocence to the end of his life.

In December 1979 Mr. Conlon’s health (he had a chronic chest condition) became so poor that he had to be moved from Wormwood Scrubs prison in London to the nearby Hammersmith Hospital. Just over a week later – despite having been on oxygen and a drip feed in hospital – he was returned to prison. The authorities informed his incredulous family they feared the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) would snatch him.

Mrs. Sarah Conlon (Giuseppe’s wife) responds, “Who would want him, only them that loved him?”She contends that Giuseppe would have died in ten minutes without medical treatment.

Harry Disley (the Guildford solicitor who represented Patrick O’Neill, Giuseppe’s co-accused) expresses his disappointment that the court system he had previously thought to be infallible could have convicted his innocent client.

Giuseppe Conlon was again moved from prison to hospital as his health worsened. He died on Jan 23rd 1980, the same day Home Secretary William Whitelaw decides to grant him parole.

The clip ends with Mrs. Conlon at her husband’s grave.

On 5 October 1974 the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) targeted Guildford, Surrey, because it was situated close to a number of garrison towns. The PIRA planted two six-pound gelignite bombs in two pubs. The first exploded just before 9.00pm in the Horse and Groom, destroying the front of the building and shattering the windows of neighbouring shops.

It killed Paul Craig, a plasterer (22 years old); two members of the Scots Guards, William Forsyth (18) and John Hunter (17); and two members of the Women’s Royal Army Corps, Caroline Jean Slater (18) and Ann Ray Hamilton (19). A further sixty-five persons were wounded.

After the first explosion, other public houses were evacuated, including the Seven Stars where the second bomb exploded at approximately 9.35 p.m. without causing any serious injuries.

On November 7 1974 Gunner Richard Dunne, a soldier (42) and Alan Horsley, a sales clerk (20) were killed when a PIRA bomb exploded in the King’s Arms in Woolwich. Twenty-six people, including five soldiers, were injured.

In December 1974 the police arrested three men and a woman: Gerry Conlon, Paul Hill, Patrick Armstrong and Carole Richardson. In October 1975 these four were convicted of the Guildford and Woolwich bombings and given life sentences. The group was known as the Guildford Four.

On 4 March 1976 the Maguire Seven were convicted of making the explosives used in these bombings. The Maguire Seven were: - Anne Maguire, Patrick Maguire (Anne’s husband), Patrick Maguire (son of Anne and Patrick), Vincent Maguire (son of Anne and Patrick), Sean Smyth (brother of Anne), Patrick O’Neill (family friend) and Giuseppe Conlon (brother-in-law of Anne Maguire and father of Gerry Conlon).

Over the years, the cases of the Guildford Four and the Maguire Seven came under increasing legal scrutiny and the range of those seeking a review of the convictions extended widely. On 17 October 1989 it was announced that corruption proceedings would be taken against the police involved in the conviction of the Guildford Four. Two days later, with the exception of Paul Hill, those convicted for the bombings were released. This followed an announcement by the Director of Public Prosecutions that it would be wrong for the Crown ‘to seek to sustain’ the convictions of 1975 on the basis of confessions that they had later retracted. The Court of Appeal had decided that the DPP in 1975 had suppressed scientific evidence which conflicted with the confessions. Paul Hill remained in custody because he was implicated in a case that had not yet been resolved. His conviction was eventually quashed in April 1994.

On 26 June 1991 the Court of Appeal overturned the sentences on the Maguire Seven. All of them had completed their sentences. Afterwards many criticised the court for dismissing most of the grounds of appeal and had simply concluded that the hands of the convicted could have been innocently contaminated with nitro-glycerine.

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He wears a corset, midnight blue with black boning. Matching garters and stockings lead to closed toe black pumps.

Words: 955, Chapters: 1/2, Language: English

Series: Part 1 of ~Burlesque~

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New TV Forum post: BBC Local News (The Newsroom)

I have just learnt on Twitter that BBC Spotlight is getting a new studio fitted at the moment. To see this full conversation I had just go onto my Twitter @newsstephen. I think that most local studios will not be up to date, apart from those studios which are more modern and in the latest style already (for example BBC London News). Personally I think the only thing needed to help them all fit in together is new graphic systems for all local BBC News bases. I think this can really help… (Latest post by StephenBailey)

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#Spotlight on Black Fox

One of our favourite Melbourne bands of 2012 now based in London's Camden Town, Black Fox are back with their sophomore album Exotic Trash and it will be available for purchase and download on Feb 6.

An anticipated release after their debut album Line Of Sight produced such hits as Day In Lieu and Monarch.

Produced by Ian Davenport (Band of Skulls/Supergrass/Badly Drawn Boy), the extended player will go on sale as a limited edition audio cassette and digital download through Wasted Years Records.

I was informed about a particular exhibition that celebrates the work of over 100 UK based designers. It is thought that scenic design is under appreciated or an unknown field to the public. After 2 weeks showing at Nottingham Trent University, it will travel to Prague and then later the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. This gives theatre designers a moment in the spotlight. I would like to see this exhibition as it would be great primary research for my future work.

#Spotlight - Valentine 3

The Valentine Brothers are Joel, Sam and Rueben, a trio of siblings ranging from 14-19 yrs of age from Liverpool in the UK that are making waves across the music scene.

2014 finished up in style for the Valentine 3 playing the Coca-Cola Xmas Truck along with a live television performance on the BBC's One Show, performing in front of music icon Donny Osmond, and a live in studio appearance with Billy Butler from BBC Radio Merseyside.

The Valentine 3 having been musically inclined from a young age, it was not really until about 3 yrs ago that on a drive home from holidays, one of their favourite tunes came on the car stereo and they started singing along with the youngest jumping in on harmonies and the rest is history.

As a new and emerging band they are concentrating on writing their own material and It Went On is one of the first. Influenced by some of the funk and soul greats, they class their music as neo-soul. The song was written from a third person perspective about falling in love and not really getting to know someone and the relationship that goes on and on and on and then finally realising it was the right thing!

We are looking forward to watching where things go for this young group in 2015.

You can listen to the Valentine 3 interview with BBC Radio Merseyside's Billy Butler here: