Máiría Cahill says Roy Greenslade tried to question her motivations in a 'pretty disgusting way'

Máiría Cahill has accused journalist Roy Greenslade of attempting to question her motivations i...
Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

12.29 10 Mar 2021

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Máiría Cahill says Roy Greensl...

Máiría Cahill says Roy Greenslade tried to question her motivations in a 'pretty disgusting way'

Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

12.29 10 Mar 2021

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Máiría Cahill has accused journalist Roy Greenslade of attempting to question her motivations in a "pretty disgusting way".

She has also accused former Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger of 'failing spectacularly' in his responsibilities while he was the veteran columnist's editor.

Mr Greenslade recently revealed he supported the IRA’s ‘political ambitions', although said he began to 'doubt its bombing tactics' over the years.


He also confirmed he wrote columns for Sinn Féin newspaper An Phoblacht under the pseudonym George King.

Last week, The Guardian apologised to Ms Cahill over an article Mr Greenslade wrote in 2014.

In the column, the journalist criticised a ‘lack of balance’ in a BBC documentary in which Ms Cahill detailed her claims that she was raped by an IRA member.

He claimed Ms Cahill’s political stance "should have been explored more fully".

The paper now says the lack of disclosure of Mr Greenslade’s own political position “was especially unfair to a vulnerable individual”.

The Guardian’s former editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger has also apologised for the column’s publication.

Mr Rusbridger is currently a member of the Future of Media Commission, and there had been calls for him to step down over the Greenslade controversy.

However, yesterday it was agreed by the Government that 'on balance' he should remain a part of it.

Media Minister Catherine Martin said she knew the news would "come as a disappointment for Máiría Cahill" and that the Government had not arrived at the conclusion lightly.

'Bolt out of the blue'

Ms Cahill told The Pat Kenny Show the recent controversy has hit her like a 'bolt out of the blue'.

She said: “I was minding my own business doing my garden when news of this hit me. I’ve had a pretty tough week, and I just think the events around it are really unfortunate.

"I’ve been sick from September. I had a virus which wrecked nerve endings… I’ve had a pretty rough ride in terms of pain.

“Last week… I was delighted with myself that that had dulled down a good bit. I got out to the garden and was weeding away when this news hit.

"I have been physically sick this week and probably emotionally unwell. I had to speak to my GP two days ago."

The former senator says it should be Roy Greenslade speaking to the media and facing scrutiny, and that it 'speaks volumes' that he hasn't come forward to do so.

She noted that Roy Greenslade wasn’t disputing her rape claim in the column.

However, she added: “What he was doing - in a pretty disgusting way, in my opinion - was to try to raise the motivation around me waiving my lifetime right to anonymity - no small feat for any abuse victim to do.

“I am still quite emotional about it… when that blog for The Guardian originally printed, within two days I had to be driven from Dublin to Belfast to my GP to be put on anti-anxiety medication because I was finding it very difficult to cope."

She said Mr Greenslade is “entitled to have opinions", but is "not entitled to malign someone and retraumatise them in a very public manner without having any editorial oversight”.

Alan Rusbridger

Former editor of the Guardian Alan Rusbridger. Picture by: Ian West/PA Archive/PA Images

Ms Cahill said that even back in 2014, there had been plenty of public comment and revelations about Mr Greenslade's republican-leanings - all well before the recent acknowledgement of his IRA support.

She said: “If I had been his editor, I wouldn’t have allowed him free rein to write pieces - I would have scrutinised what he was writing in case there was a potential conflict of interest. I think Alan Rusbridger has spectacularly failed in his responsibility as an editor.

“I understand he’s saying he never saw the piece until recently. But who did? Did Roy Greenslade just have free rein to publish something without anyone checking, or was someone actually line-managing him?"

Ms Cahill said she can only take Mr Rusbridger at his word that he'd only seen the column in question recently, but that there are questions around what he knew about the journalist's 'republican sympathies'.

She said the way the update about the Commission was communicated to her yesterday was “appalling”, and that she ultimately found out from a tweet.

She said the Taoiseach has been 'so decent' in listening to her story over the years, and that Media Minister Catherine Martin sent her a 'very nice email' last week amid the ongoing controversy.

However, she said: "The first insight I had from the minister that she’d made a decision was 5:45pm yesterday… she didn’t lift the phone to tell me, and I don’t think that’s an acceptable way to deal with someone who’s been hurt.

“I am a former member of the Oireachtas - the least they could do is lift the phone.”

Ms Cahill said she also wasn't contacted by anyone from the Commission to hear her side of the story.

She said her main hope now is that if anyone comes forward now to share similar experiences to her are "treated properly and with care", no matter who the perpetrators are.

Main image: File photo of Máiría Cahill. Photograph: Sam Boal /

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