The Michael Reade Show
Michael speaks to sexual abuse survivor Paudie McGahon.
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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.
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.
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.
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)