Northern Ireland news

Mairia Cahill wins Irish Tatler accolade

Mairia Cahill was recognised at the Irish Tatler Woman of the Year awards in Dublin on Saturday evening 

WEST Belfast woman Mairia Cahill has been recognised in the Irish Tatler’s Women of the Year awards.

Ms Cahill, who is standing for the Seanad, received a standing ovation at a ceremony in Dublin on Saturday evening as she accepted the magazine’s Special Recognition prize. In a social media post, she thanked the organisers and said: “Delighted to be in the company of these strong women, and others.”

Last month Ms Cahill confirmed she would run as a candidate for the Labour party in the Seanad and if elected would use the opportunity to speak out for abuse victims. Party leaders proposed her for the seat vacated by Jimmy Harte. The Seanead by-election results are expected to be announced this Friday.

Last year Ms Cahill spoke in a BBC documentary about her experience of being raped as a teenager and later interrogated by the IRA about her allegations. She later went to the police and a case was brought against the alleged rapist and those said to have been involved in the IRA inquiry. But all charges were dropped and the accused rapist acquitted after Ms Cahill withdrew her evidence.

Her great uncle, the late Joe Cahill, was a former leader of the IRA. Ms Cahill has insisted she is against violence after it also emerged last year that she was a member of the dissident group, Republican Network for Unity.

Ms Cahill confirmed that she was the organisation’s national secretary but insisted that she only held the post for “a period of a few hours”. She described the “leaking” of the information as part of a “smear campaign” against her.

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