Many people are aware of what happened to Paudie Gahon who was a Louth teenager raped by a member of one of the elite Belfast Brigade IRA families, the Marleys.  Séamus Marley  is the son of Larry who organised the H Block escape in 1983. Someone else now claims to have been the mastermind, but that’s for another day.

Séamus Marley was sentenced to seven years last April having been convicted of raping Gahon and another man when both victims were just teenagers. Paudie Gahon waived his anonymity to speak publicly about his ordeal. “I was aware that I would be seen by some as a traitor or a tout. 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 be easily swatted away and silenced,” he wrote.

These boys were not the only victims. The worst aspect of it all is that members of Sinn Féin in Louth spent years attempting to destroy the character of those who had been abused.

It has to be borne in mind first most that the Gahons were republicans, a family who supported the IRA when some of  the current leaders of Sinn Féin were members of other parties – when some of its current apparatchiks were openly hostile to republicanism.

So the Gahons’ first resort was to the local republican movement. They contacted then local councillor Pearse McGeough who it seems was less than satisfactory in his dealings with them. Then again, it ought to be borne in mind that Dundalk was where Gerry Adams’ brother Liam was given refuge after allegations of his rape of his daughter emerged. The moral barrier is clearly not set high.

It is no reflection on Larry Marley who was a courageous republican and was murdered by loyalists but his son was a serial rapist who damaged many people’s lives. Not only that, but like Gerry Adam’s brother Liam, Séamus Marley was protected by the IRA for many years. As were others. The former Officer commanding the Southern Command was extradited back from Spain on charges of child abuse and disappeared before the trial started.

The level of hypocrisy within Sinn Féin over such matters is staggering. Every other section of Irish society is subject to their moral judgement, but they are outraged when anyone questions them. Not only did the IRA know of the activities of people like Liam Adams and Séamus Marley but it used them for its own purposes.

The Dublin Brigade of the IRA used a young volunteer to entrap Marley by appearing to have agreed to a liaison. I have no idea of what the consequences of that were.

It is also the case that the activities of another Armagh republican, whose brother was later killed by the IRA for his part in an appalling act of savagery, were ignored despite the complaints of other republicans including people who had supplied safe houses in which that person stayed.

I could go on. The bottom line is that the party that is the inheritor of the IRA in its degenerate period, and which is still controlled by the last leadership of the IRA, appears from opinion polls to be set to be one of the parties that will make up the next government.

That would not be a good thing.