I have been following the bravery of Belfast woman Mairia Cahill closely. The recent revelations that came via the BBC Spotlight programme have sparked a lot of interest but mostly fury.
I met Mairia Cahill two years ago when she came to live in Derry. Prior to that, through a mutual friend we became acquainted via Facebook. Through our chats I could sense that Mairia was somewhat of a solitary person who took comfort in the company of her family and a select few, which was hardly surprising considering her suffering and the struggle she faced. On a personal level I have always been moved by Maria's courage, persevering spirit, strength of character and indomitable spirit.
Mairia Cahill was let down by members of the Republican Movement, the State and those in the community who turned their backs on her. It is exactly these attitudes that keep and kept the perpetrators of such monstrous acts free to hurt again.
Furthermore some including those who claimed to be representative of the people felt it best to keep Maria's issue hidden, or depending on your view, in house. It is unbelievable that anyone could feel it was appropriate to take an abused child to 'face' her alleged abuser? But then this type of activity was exposed before in the case of Aine Tyrell. I would also add that it defies logic that someone could feel it appropriate to advise an abused child to seek counseling and then fail to inform the police or take action themselves? And the two people I'm referencing in these instances are both elected representatives!
Now just when you think you've heard it all....
It was announced a few days ago that the investigation into abuse that took place in the Kincora boys home in Belfast will not be part of a UK wide investigation. What needs to be questioned is why this case is subject to exclusion with Belfast supposedly part of the United Kingdom?
However, British Secretary of State Theresea Villiers stated on Tuesday that as child protection is now a devolved matter, the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry, currently sitting at Banbridge courthouse was the better forum to investigate the allegations. Theresa Villiers also said the UK government and its agencies, including the Ministry of Defence and the security service MI5 would give the HIA inquiry "the fullest possible degree of co-operation". The fullest possible degree of co-operation, doesn't really inspire confidence, and really don't be surprised if a public immunity interest certificate appears.
With MI5's alleged involvement in the cover up of this scandal how can there be a thorough investigation? MI5 are unaccountable to the institutions set up under devolution therefore these claims cannot be investigated by anyone outside of the British Government. And if by a chance Mi5 was found culpable in the abuse that took place through Kincora, I feel I can safely say that there is a snowballs chance in hell of anyone being taken to task for it.
The question now is how far will the state and those now is positions of power go to protect themselves? People have always known that the there was a dirty war taking place in the North, the terrifying thing is that we will never know the extent of it.
What we do know and take some comfort from is that through the bravery of people such as Mairia Cahill and Kincora survivor Clint Massey, the innocent victims who were caught in a crossfire that didn't contain a single bullet do have some hope of getting justice and closure they deserve.
And for that I am grateful for their courage, as for the others, who covered up abuse, protected abusers and terrified the survivors of abuse, they're just two sides of the same vile coin.