Paudie McGahon The Michael Reade Show LMFM Radio 20 May 2019

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The Michael Reade Show
LMFM Radio
Co. Louth

Michael speaks to sexual abuse survivor Paudie McGahon.

(begins time stamp 0:00)
Audio: Advertisement and station identification.

Michael:   Now at the beginning of this month an alleged IRA man, Seamus Marley, a forty-five year old man, was sentenced to seven years in prison for raping two teenage boys and sexually assaulting the same boys at a Republican safe house two decades ago. The judge, Paul McDermott, said that Marley had used his standing in the Republican Movement, a movement well capable of clandestine killings, to silence his victims. One of his victims is with us today and won’t be silenced – indeed doesn’t see himself as a victim and would regard himself, quite rightly it has to be said, as a survivor. Paudie McGahon, Good Morning! And thanks for coming in to us today.

Paudie:   Good Morning, Michael.

Michael:   Tell us who Seamus Marley is.

Paudie:  


Paudie with Michael Reade
Photo: The Michael Reade Show LMFM Radio

Seamus Marley is the son of Republican royalty, Larry Marley. Royalty, I mean, so much that they actually went to the troubles of making a film which was cast by ‘Nidge’ from Love/Hate – he played a very good part; actually a very good film – but Seamus Marley had the power, and this was discussed all the way through the court case, had the power to silence me. Sinn Féin silenced me. Sinn Féin may have come out over subsequent years since I done the Spotlight interview and said: We encouraged the victims stroke survivors now to go to the Gardaí. That was in one hand and in the other hand said: No, don’t. We dealt with that in 2002. We got you your meeting. We exiled him. But the day of sentencing, myself and the other survivor were gutted, sickened, to the fact that we knew he was never exiled. He, Pearse McGeough, assured us after the second meeting: Yes, that’s done and dusted. There’s no need to involve the Gardaí. Now he can come out in the media ’til the cows come and say different. But the fact of the matter is Seamus Marley was never exiled. He moved to Dublin and volunteered, from 2002 to 2004, to work with autistic children and from that he moved on to travel the world to teach English to young children so who else is out there? Like…

Michael:   …Right. And just for people who are coming to this story for the first time to explain: Seamus Marley had raped you and another boy and sexually assaulted you over a long period of time in a Republican safe house – because you’re from a Republican family; it was your family home where this occurred and elsewhere I think. But eventually you brought this to the attention of the IRA and a ‘trial’ took place, it was called a kangaroo court, and it was agreed, beyond any doubt, that Seamus Marley was guilty of these crimes. And you were given three options, I think, at the time. One was that the IRA would shoot him. Another was that you and the other boy could beat him up and the third was that he be exiled – sent out of the country. And you’ve discovered since that that was not the case and that he was in Dublin and working with autistic children.

Paudie:  That’s correct. It’s, it’s – we went through the trial; it was one of the most – Oh! It was very – it’s very hard to put the words together – it was the hardest time of our lives but we came out on top. Pearse McGeough and Gerry Adams assured us that it was sorted. We were happy enough with that back then. That was in 2002. But when you’re sitting and listening to this man, Seamus Marley, his own barristers read out letters of recommendations from priests, from institutions – yes, Seamus Marley is now born-again whatever it may be but the facts are the facts and I don’t like going over it again and again – he was never exiled and I would urge anybody that has seen me in the past, the present or the future if you have been affected by Seamus Marley – don’t be afraid. It was a journey but the journey has ended. You can do it. We’ve done it, myself and the other survivor have done it. It’s a great weight off our shoulders but it’s not finished until Drew Harris the (An Garda Síochána) Commissioner brings the people to justice for: 1) perverting the course of justice and 2) investigate fully Seamus Marley – where he worked with autistic kids, where he worked round the world – this is not just linked to Ireland now – it’s global and I would appreciate it if Drew Harris would take me serious.

Michael:   And you believe that Seamus Marley abused other people?

Paudie:   Oh! We, we do, yes! As two survivors and ever since Spotlight information has come to the front of other abused people. There was an article in the paper around four years ago about a young boy, twelve years of age, that was abused in Dublin, two girls in Doire – many, many other victims that are sitting back at the minute, rightly so, probably thinking: Can I do it? Can I do it? Can I come forward? Can I make a statement to Gardaí? Yes, you can. Now, I’ll give you another example of Gerry Adams: Gerry Adams done a speech at a rally a few years ago and he said: I am Gerry Adams. I am the leader of Sinn Féin and a representative for the IRA and by the way, he says, the IRA haven’t gone away you know. And do you want to know what I have to say to Gerry? Paudie McGahon hasn’t gone away either! So, it’s up to him.

Michael:   To Gerry Adams.

Paudie:   Yes. I’m back.

Michael:   We asked Sinn Féin before the programme this morning if they wanted to make a statement in advance of you coming on and they said that Pearse McGeough had advised you to go to the Gardaí and that’s a position that Pearse McGeough and Sinn Féin, Pearse McGeough obviously a Sinn Féin Councillor in Louth, but it’s the position that Pearse McGeough and Sinn Féin have taken over a long period of time.

Paudie:   Well, if that’s their position, I like that ‘long time’, but can I ask the people out there: Pearse McGeough used to, when I lived out in Watertown in Racondra, Pearse McGeough would come out for his meetings. Why would an elected councillor come in to your room, your sitting room, ask you for your phone, take the battery out- at the time SIM (subscriber identification module) cards were only in at the time – take the SIM cards out, do the same to his phone and my wife’s phone – put them out in the back bathroom – we’re safe enough now – that’s how clever Pearse and Sinn Féin are. (inaudible) we seen it there with the likes of (inaudible) Pearse is only a pawn in a chess game – that’s all he is. Sinn Féin must do, Sinn Féin members, both TDs and County Councillors, they follow party guideline, whether you like it or not. But I’m not following party line. I’m following my own line and they can take that and they shove apologies – they didn’t even have the decency to come out and say: We’re sorry. But they’ll still come out and say: No, we didn’t cover this up. They did.

Michael:   Pearse McGeough hasn’t spoken about this since you went public, at least not to this programme – in fact, he hasn’t spoke to this programme at all since you went public and you decided to go public after seeing Máiría Cahill tell her story and that she was treated the same way by Sinn Féin and the IRA as she puts it and that a kangaroo court dealt with her case and that prompted you then to come forward, go public and go to the Gardaí. But since then we’ve had a trial and we were told that there was reporting restrictions that neither of the people who made the allegations, yourself and the other boy, wanted to be named by the media. What has prompted you to change your mind today?

Paudie:   The simple facts. As I said to my wife before I came in here: I’m keeping it simple this time. I’m not going to go on any bombardment against the IRA (inaudible). They’re gone! But Sinn Féin and Pearse McGeough and Gerry Adams – forget about Mary Lou McDonald, she’s only a puppet on the end of Gerry’s hand – that’s just what I think of Mary Lou. So reason coming out now is ’cause as two survivors we know that we had the strength to do this so anybody in the country that’s listening to me that was affected by Seamus Marley or any other member of the former IRA – do not be afraid. It’s a process but when you get ‘Guilty!’ – I’ll never forget when when ‘Guilty!’ was read out in court – I sat with the other survivor and I looked around when we were nearly finished with all the ‘guiltys’ and I seen three members of the jury crying. That’s how emotional – they seen the torture that Seamus Marley put us through on that stand – put all my family through. He’s rotting in jail, albeit maybe not as long as I would like, and then he has to come out and do a further two years – but his own defence turned round and basically – they gave up the ghost at this stage, they knew he was gone, and they basically said: Look it, we know Seamus Marley is now going to be investigated for other possible crimes and that’s why I call on Drew Harris – Drew, don’t mess around with this. Get it done! This autistic centre had children. These schools had children. The parents of these people need to be notified. Albeit the children were autistic but it’s still possible that Seamus abused other people. It’s not a possibility – I strongly believe it because if it happened to two people, you know, he wasn’t afraid to, you know – the very fact that he volunteered for that job is amasing. And most incredible is the fact that Sinn Féin, Pearse McGeough, above all, would have known that he wasn’t exiled and that he wasn’t out of the country – this was Larry Marley’s son – royalty – but this is me now. The facts are the facts. We have to act upon the facts.

Michael:   And you are speaking on behalf of two people. The court found in favour of you and the other boy. We have the permission of the other boy, now a man of course like yourself, it’s a long time since you were a child and a…

Paudie:   …I’m still young…

Michael:   …I think both of you have said that your childhood was robbed of you. But we have a handwritten note from the other survivor giving permission for this interview to take place despite the anonymity that was requested originally after the verdict and you are speaking on his behalf – it’s very clear reading that note and we’ll hear more from you in a moment, Paudie McGahon. We just need to take a very short break and come back with you.

Audio:   Station identification.

Michael:   As I said, we contacted Sinn Féin Press before the programme today asking if they wanted to make a statement available to us before Paudie McGahon said what he has said and the statement we received was on behalf of Sinn Féin Councillor Pearse McGeough and it says:

The testimony of the victims in this case was harrowing. I want to commend them for their courage in pursuing this matter. I would urge anyone with any information relating to abuse to report that to the relevant policing or social services bodies North and South. Sinn Féin’s advice at the time was to bring the allegations of abuse to An Garda Síochána. As adults that decision was for the victims. We support their stand and commend their courage.

What you make of that, Paudie McGahon?

Paudie:   That’s, that’s the way it’s been, it’s the way it’s been for so many years. But I’ll just go back to the point I made: Why would Pearse McGeough want to come into my house for a meeting with me and dismantle phones? He shouldn’t have to if he’d nothing to hide. Why would you take out your batteries and SIM cars and the whole lot? As I repeat – ’cause a smart aleck got on to me one day about a previous interview: Oh! SIM cards, they’re wonderful! – SIM cards were only in at the time of some of these meetings so to protect their party he wanted to make sure nobody was listening. I’ll give you an example: I went for a meeting with the other survivor with a family member four years ago – and I hope this guy, he knows who he is and I hope he hangs his head in shame – he tried to record the conversation and only for his phone timed out we’ve never had known and we just got up and terminated the meeting straight away. Now he is possibly listening this morning – so hang his head in shame to try and, you know, shut us up. Like you go to Sinn Féin…

Michael:   …Have there been others who’ve tried to shut you up?

Paudie:   Oh, many, many people. I go back to…

Michael:   …You’ve been vilified actually, haven’t you?

Paudie:   Oh yeah. But I, one day for the All Ireland Final and just because I am who I am, a fella, just ’cause I wouldn’t say hello him, decided he wanted to attack me, you know? But I dealt with all that. I took it all on my shoulders. Even though the other survivor took it all on his shoulders he would have been taken similar trouble off people but he took it on his shoulders – we won the case – Seamus Marley’s in jail. But we want to make sure, again, that he’s fully investigated in all parts of the world he was – especially with them children in Dublin. And as far as Pearse and Sinn Féin Press Office are saying they told us to go to the Gardaí – no – it was never an option. That was why the kangaroo courts were there – we have dealt with it – are you happy enough with that? Yes. We had Seamus Marley.


Independent.ie

So then, if you go to paperwork from the past here’s one from Tuesday, December the 2nd 2014 – Gerry Adams out ice skating in Dundalk and the headline is: There Was Absolutely No Cover Up and then you fast forward nearly four months after that: Gerry Adams admits he didn’t report Paudie McGahon’s abuse claims to Gardaí and he was wrong to do so.


Irish Mirror

That’s him. We weren’t allowed to do it but he was. So they can say, they can say what they want…

Michael:  …So when you’re told you’re being supported in this statement by Pearse McGeough – do you accept that?

Paudie:  No. No. Pearse…

Michael:  …When he says he commends your courage do you accept that?

Paudie:  He can stick out whatever statement he wants. Myself and the other survivor have the courage of a lion and we would hope and pray that other people will see that it is possible. Don’t be afraid and sit in the background any more. I’m not sitting in the background any more. The people, as I said, the likes of Pearse and Gerry and Arthur Morgan going back – they can put out whatever paperwork or statements they want but they should be prosecuted for perverting the course of justice. If it was me I’d be preferred. I’d be done. Then the IRA itself, the team that was there in that house in 2002, April 2002, as you see there’s my diary from 2002 – that’ll go back into a safe, well away from anybody but it has everything in it. So that’s going to leave my hands when I walk out of here but that has everything in it. So there’s no point to even looking for it – it’s gone into a safe down the country. But statements can be issued, feelings can be hurt but at the end of the day we survived.

Michael:   You got your day in court and Mr. Marley is behind bars and will be for some time to come…

Paudie:  …Thank God…

Michael:  …he’s been convicted, is now a registered paedophile and will be treated as such when he’s released. You’re concerned about others who may have fallen victim to him and that needs to be addressed. And you’re also concerned about what you believe, it would seem very sincerely, to have been a cover-up and you want that to be investigated. Is there anything though that members of Sinn Féin who you’ve named today can say to you to make you feel any better or is it too late at this stage?

Paudie:   Oh, it’s twenty-seven years too late. It’s seventeen years since the kangaroo courts. It’s over and done with. They told us they helped us is 2002. Now fast-forward to where I’m sitting and in court, as I said, my stomach fell to the ground when we realised, and it took courage not to say nothing, that he wasn’t exiled! And Pearse – he stood outside the house in 2002, shook hands with us – I told you I’d deal with it. No need to talk to the Gardaí.

Michael:   Okay. It’s clearly not the end of the story but you’re at the end of a very significant chapter because of the court verdict. Our time is running out, Paudie, and I know that there’s some people you wanted to mention and to thank for that matter before you finish up.

Paudie:   First and foremost I thank my wife for sticking with me – most marriages would have split up long ago – but she’s the best. My kids – brilliant! The best part of sitting here now today, public, is I can thank Pat Murray, he’s retired now. Nicky Kelly, Andrew Walsh, Seamus Nolan – and Seamus Nolan…

Michael:  …All Gardaí.

Paudie:   All Gardaí. Dave Clifford, Ardee Barracks. But first and foremost: Dave O’Sullivan – shoulder to shoulder, all the way through for the last four and a half years – not only is he a Gard but he’s a friend and a true friend that stuck by me. I’d also like to say thanks to my mother and father for standing by me, my sister, Bernie, my brother, Mickey, and the rest of the family that stuck by me. Thank you very much. We would have never got through it. I applaud youse all.

Michael:   Has it been difficult for the family?

Paudie:   Very difficult. Very, very difficult. Emotions – we stuck together. This will not be easy, me going public again, I understand that but as Conor McGregor said before: I’ll apologise to absolutely no one – ’cause that court case, it’s over and done with but it was like going through twenty rounds against Conor McGregor. So I’ve come out the other end, so has the other survivor, and I applaud everybody that was there to help us.

Michael:   Paudie McGahon, thank you indeed for coming into us this morning.

Paudie:  No bother.

Michael:   Thank you very much. (ends time stamp ~20:14)

Paudie McGahon NewsTalk The Hard Shoulder 20 May 2019

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The Hard Shoulder
NewsTalk

Ivan Yates speaks to sexual abuse survivor Paudie McGahon.

Where’s the audio? This programme is not available for download. To listen along as you read go to the NewsTalk Listen Back page and select the date of this interview: 20 May 2019. From the list of shows that will appear from that date click on the programme, The Hard Shoulder, and the audio player will appear at the bottom of the page. (begins time stamp ~ 1:05:13)

Ivan:   It’s a great pleasure now to talk to an extraordinary man who has experienced one of life’s horrors. I’m referring to Paudie McGahon from Co. Louth. Let me just quote a particular comment of his:

I was taking on a powerful monster with limitless resources and a record of burying anyone who ever tried to expose the truth at the centre of its rotten heart. A few sad childhood rape victims could easily be swatted away and silenced.

End of quote. Those are the words of Paudie McGahon who saw his rapist convicted and sentenced for seven years for raping him and another man in a safe Republican house when they were boys. This month, an alleged IRA man, Seamus Marley, was jailed for seven years for raping two teenage boys at such a Republican safe house two decades ago. Paudie is here to tell his story and with the permission of the other victim who still wishes to remain anonymous. Paudie, welcome to the programme. Good afternoon to you. Could we start with the events? Was it 1992?

Paudie:  

Paudie McGahon with BBC Spotlight NI’s Jennifer O’Leary
10 March 2015
Photo: Still from BBC Spotlight NI

Yes, in 1992 Seamus Marley was brought to our house. He would talk the talk if you know what I’m saying. He was the son of a top IRA man in Belfast, Larry Marley, who was subsequently shot and died of his injures so at the time when Seamus first came to my home the family would have looked up to him because of his father’s past. So we had no reason not to trust him and for that reason he just became part of the household and we had no problem with that. But it was in the subsequent weeks, we would go camping and as I said in court in my testimony he molested me when I was camping and went on forward then to rape me. Now thank God the man was found guilty by a jury but on the day of sentencing we discovered, myself and the other survivor – I must say a ‘survivor’ because we are survivors now and no longer victims, we’re survivors; we came through it all – but we discovered that Seamus Marley was never exiled like it was promised to us.

Ivan:   Yeah, I will come back to the three options and so on of what happen to it but I just – how long did the abuse go on for? And it happened in your home? Your home is in Dundalk is it?

Paudie:   Dunleer, Co. Louth.

Ivan:   Dunleer. So like would this have happen ten times? Twice?

Paudie:  …Twice, yes…

Ivan:  …Like was it over a period of time?

Paudie:  Speaking about my own abuse it would have been over a period of a week to ten days.

Ivan:   And how old were you?

Paudie:   I was seventeen. I had just turned seventeen. On that particular night that we went camping, on my seventeenth birthday, we had a few too many drinks, that was the first night Seamus Marley tried to abuse me. When I realised what was going on I left the camping area and went back home. At the time, in hindsight, I thought it was just him with alcohol but then when he abused me in my own room less than two weeks after that I knew it was for real and I just left home.

Ivan:   And did you tell anybody?

Paudie:   I didn’t. I did not because after the initial abuse he told me out straight that if I was to ever speak to anybody about it I would be shot and found on a border road as was the way it was back in the days of The Troubles, that’s what happened to people – we called them ‘touts’.

Ivan:   And when did you change your mind about that and say: Look, I just can’t keep this to myself?

Paudie:  My, when did I change? I changed my mind after meeting the second survivor, and it was in 2002, and it was only during a conversation we both realised that it happened to both of us.

Ivan: Okay. Where did you both go then?

Paudie: We went down and we reported it to Pearse McGeough, the local Sinn Féin – he wasn’t a councillor at the time, he is now and he’s running again this week in the local council – so it was explained to him and after that the so called ‘kangaroo courts’ were set up. We all know about the three options…

Ivan:  …Oh, no, just tell us about the…so he said: Look, I’m going to deal with this and you didn’t think of going to the police?

Paudie:   We were told not to go to the police. That’s the…

Ivan:  …Okay. So what happened in the kangaroo court? They came to your house did they?

Paudie:   They came the first time. We explained. As victims at the time we explained exactly what happened at the hands of Marley. We were told: That’s okay, lads. We shall go and investigate this. So on the second meeting…

Ivan:  …Sorry, who was this? Men, women? How many of them?

Paudie:  Pádraic Wilson was the main man, from Belfast, one of the top Republicans, he was the main man there so he assured us that they would go and investigate and in which they did. So a short time after we were brought back for a second meeting and there was a woman in the room, I can’t think of her name, but we were given the option of using her as a shrink and we both turned that down and then we were given the other three options. First and foremost they did say to us: We believe youse, lads. We have Mr. Marley in custody. What do you want us to do? And that is when the three options were put to us.

Ivan:   Which were?

Paudie:  The first one was put us into a room with him and deal with it ourselves. The second one was that they’d shoot him for us and the third one was to exile him out of the country. We went for the third one.

Ivan:  Alright. And then what happened?

Paudie:  We all went to the, shook hands with Pearse McGeough on the way out and he says: Now lads, fair play to youse. That’s all sorted. I told you, he said, I’d sort it out and I have sorted it out. Now youse know yourselves we don’t need to go to the Gardaí with this one. We deal with these matters internally and it’s sorted.

Ivan:   Alright. And you were happy enough with that?

Paudie:  Oh, yeah. Very happy with that.

Ivan:   Okay, so when did you become unhappy with that? When did you realise that the culprit, Seamus Marley, had not been exiled? When did that come to your attention?

Paudie:   On the day of sentencing, on the day of Seamus Marley’s sentencing, his legal team brought forward letters from people of support and one of the letters was from an institution in Dublin that looks after autistic kids and on it said he worked from 2002 til 2004 with autistic children – and not only that he worked at – he volunteered for the job. Now this is a guy that was meant to be exiled out of the country.

Ivan:   No, no, no, but sorry, I thought you must have known – like the court case was only fairly recently.

Paudie:  Oh yeah.

Ivan:  I mean surely, surely it came to your attention that he hadn’t been exiled much earlier ’cause that was the basis on which – well, tell me: When did you say: Hold on a second. I’m not happy the way this case has been dealt with and I should go to the police. What was that moment?

Paudie:   The moment was around the time Máiría Cahill, when she went public, and remember the Dáil debate about four years ago now?

Ivan:  …Okay…

Paudie:  …and the fact, the very fact watching that on TV at the time, that Máiría Cahill was up in the gallery I just said: Máiría Cahill is going through exactly what I went through and it’s about time something was done about it and that’s exactly when I went and made my statement.

Ivan:  So what happened then with the police? Did you find like, because obviously, you said there was a whole culture of touts, that they had their own enforcement system, their own justice system within the Republican Movement – were you not afraid when you did go to the police that you might be under threat?

Paudie: No, for one reason and one reason only: Because in this society that we live in Sinn Féin have people in every job in every position so they have their fingers in many, many pies and I’ve come across that in many situations that it’s fairly – I’ll put it to you another way, Ivan, over the last four to five years it’s very hard to trust even your most loyal people because you don’t know…

Ivan:  …oh, no, but were you not afraid?

Paudie:   No, no. I have nothing to be afraid of. I have done nothing wrong.

Ivan:  And you found the Gardaí and everything, they quickly established the facts, they sent a file to the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) – you found the criminal justice system worked well?

Paudie:  Brilliantly!

Ivan:  Okay.

Paudie:   And that’s why I would urge other victims out there: Don’t be afraid because the Garda system is brilliant!

Ivan:  Okay. Now what are you calling for now?

Paudie:   I’m calling for, basically, because of the cover-up, like Pearse McGeough was so in fear that this would come out. When I used to live, I used to live out in the countryside so Pearse would make trips out there on several occasions but the first thing Pearse would do was come into the sitting room, ask myself and my wife to dismantle phones and as I said before SIM (subscriber identification module) cards were in at this time so you had to take out your battery, your SIM card – he done it, we done it and they’d be put out into a separate room so that there was no chance that anybody could be recording the conversation so – and my wife is a witness to that and will stand by that.

Ivan:  Well, speaking of that there’s two points I want to put on the record: Councillor Pearse McGeough has denied that he was involved in the kangaroo court. He said that he advised you and the other victim to go to the Gardaí and last night Sinn Féin insisted that the party’s advice to the victims had been to report the abuse to the force and that is their standard advice in all circumstances.

Paudie:   No. That was never the situation because Sinn Féin’s county councillor, Pearse McGeough – if that was his advice why would he need kangaroo court? Why would he need myself and the other…

Ivan:   …Well he denies he was involved in them.

Paudie:  Well he can deny it all he wants. I know it. My wife knows it. The other survivor knows it.

Ivan:  And is there, is there… But Paudie, is – you know, there’s local and European elections on Friday, you know, a lot of people are saying when the government announced broadband or this or that – they’d say: Ah well, there’s an election coming up. Is there a political element to what you’re saying?

Paudie:  No. As a matter of fact I would still count myself a Republican and you might find that hypocritical – I was born and bred in it but this has absolutely nothing to do with politics. It’s got to do with the fact that Seamus Marley was never exiled out of the country and the second fact being is that Sinn Féin knew of that and he was working with autistic children and all over the world he was teaching English to children across Madrid, Thailand, China. He went all around the world teaching young children and the Sinn Féin party and the old IRA had full knowledge that he was not exiled in 2002.

Ivan:   So you believe there are other victims out there who haven’t come forward.

Paudie:  Oh, I do, yes, I do. I believe there’s many more victims that would probably sit back and say: God! I’m afraid to go forward. Well, I urge them: It’s not. Do not be afraid. Show them up for what they are – they’re bully boys!

Ivan:  You spoke of being a victim and now a survivor. You’re married. Do you have children or a family of your own?

Paudie:   Yes.

Ivan:  Just tell me what scars this whole saga has had on you personally and your family.

Paudie:   Well, people wouldn’t see me at home in my own background. They didn’t see the breakdowns, the mental torture I had, the tears – I’ve shed so many tears. I shed tears the day of the guilty verdict. Now my tears are all dried up. I’m shedding no more tears for that man. That man is in jail now. I have the mental scars, I have the physical scars but I fought on. And I won. And that is better than winning anything. It’s better than winning Lotto and I beat the man, I beat the system. I beat their system.

Ivan:   And tell us something about the problems you’ve experienced with alcohol, sleepless nights.

Paudie:   Well lookit, if, lookit when you can’t sleep at night, you’re at home – and you’ll have a few beers just to make you sleep at night. But that’s all gone now. I have slept so well. I have just had the best time and I don’t mean that in a funny way. I am more relaxed. I actually, I walked into a local supermarket yesterday and I met an old friend of mine from twenty years ago and it was just amasing. He said: God lad, don’t you look well and I says, Well lookit I’ve been going – No, he says, I seen you over the last couple of years. You were wretched looking, but he says, you’ve actually put on weight and you look well, and he said, I commend you for that.

Ivan:  Are you bitter?

Paudie:  I’m not – I’m bitter with Sinn Féin for coming out and keep giving us the same old rigmarole: We told Paudie McGahon and the other survivor to go to the Gardaí. Never did it happen – never has it happened – and they can put out whatever they want. And like Mary Lou McDonald can make any speech she wants – but she’s not the real leader, she never was and she never will be. Gerry runs the party but the same old mantra goes with Sinn Féin: Deny, deny, deny.

Ivan:  Finally, and I want to thank you for joining us, if someone is listening to this who has a resonance and an echo in their own experience – it might be someone politically involved, it could be clerical, it could be an incestuous family case and in terms of the way you’ve pulled yourself around, leaving aside the politics at this – what advice would you give them?

Paudie:  I would say to them: Look at yourself, this is a very simple project to do. Look at yourself in the mirror and say: What way will I be in a year or two years? Will I keep letting, from all parts of society – this sexual abuse – will this eat me up and eat me up and eat me up? Or will I go forward and have the courage? And I promise all the potential victims out there – you will find the strength, deep down, and when you walk out of that court room you will feel as if you’re a new person, especially like when I got the guilty verdicts and I looked round – the emotion in the court room! I seen three jury members crying ’cause they could see the emotion that was involved in the family. It can be done. And it has been done. I have done it. And I encourage anybody that has been abused in any way, shape or form: Do not be afraid. Your family is going to rally round you.

Ivan:   Paudie McGahon, thank you for joining us on The Hard Shoulder.

Paudie:   No bother. Thank you. (ends time stamp ~ 1:22:07)