Press Notice – Statement Of Padraic Wilson
We represent Padraic Wilson who was one of 4 people acquitted at Belfast Crown Court last May along with Breige Wright, Seamus Finucane and Maura McCrory.
We attach his statement in relation to comments made by Micheal Martin TD in Dail Eireann on 12th November 2014.
Statement of Padraic Wilson
Prior to the commencement of the Leaders Statements in Dáil Éireann on 12th November 2014 An Leas-Cheann Comhairle issued the following reminder to all members:
“Before we begin, I must remind Members that, while all Members have absolute privilege under the Constitution in respect of anything they say in the House, they also have a responsibility not to name or identify and debate any person upon whom the reference may be perceived as an adverse reflection or as affecting his or her good name because such persons are defenceless against remarks made by Members under privilege.
There is the long-standing rule that, even where matters are already in the public domain, Members must not repeat under privilege allegations made outside the House. Members should also be aware that allegations against any Member can only be made by substantive motion and not by innuendo or otherwise across the floor of the House.
If allegations are made about named or otherwise identifiable persons by any Member in the course of the debate, I will stop the Member and ask him or her to retract the remarks. Any failure to do so is prima facie an abuse of privilege and will be treated as disorderly behaviour. I call the Taoiseach to make a statement”.
During the course of the ensuing contributions and exchanges Micheal Martin made the following contribution:
“The Provisional IRA and Sinn Féin cover up has too many dimensions to go into them all today, but we should note the sheer number of times that figures acknowledged as Sinn Féin representatives have turned up in these cases. The most striking example of this is Pádraic Wilson, someone Deputy Adams continues to refer to as a “decent man”. Pádraic Wilson was a leader of the Provisional IRA in the Maze. He was twice temporarily released to attend Provisional IRA conventions. When he was released under licence, Mr. Gerry Kelly, MLA, was at the gate to greet him and hail him as a movement hero. After his release, Pádraic Wilson assumed an active role in enforcing Provisional IRA justice and close to the Northern leadership of Sinn Féin. He is a consistent thread in many of the stories from the last decade and a half. He was involved in the investigation into the abuse of Maíria Cahill. He was involved in the investigation into the rape of brothers in Louth and other cases, yet Sinn Féin has gone to extraordinary lengths to protect Pádraic Wilson. When he was first arrested, Sinn Féin threatened to withdraw support for policing unless he was released. It held demonstrations on his behalf and stated without qualification that he had no case to answer. There is no doubt that within the Provisional republican movement there remain untouchables”.
Mr. Martin ignored completely, for political gain, the caution of An Leas-Cheann Comhairle. I believe that in doing so he abused the Parliamentary Privilege that he was warned about at the start of the proceedings.
In doing so he also made a number of false accusations and assertions in relation to me.
I was not released on parole to attend or speak at any IRA Convention or meeting of any description.
Prior to ‘Home Leave’ being extended to all ‘Qualifying Prisoners’ through the Sentence Review Commission (SRC) I applied for and was granted 5 periods of ‘Temporary Release’ between December 1997 and August 1998.
Two of those periods of parole were granted to me in relation to events and engagements linked to or arising from the Good Friday Agreement.
On May 9th 1998 I was granted a period of 48 hrs to attend and speak at the Special Sinn Fein Ard Fheis held in the RDS in Dublin. The Ard Fheis had been called to discuss the GFA and to vote on whether or not to support it.
On August 7th 1998 I was granted a period of 8 hours to take part in a meeting with the SRC. I was accompanied at that meeting by: Geraldine Ferrity (who had been released from Maghaberry under the same conditions as me), Gerry Kelly, Siobhán O’ Hanlon and Leo Green.
The Ard Fheis and SRC events were done in the full glare of the media.
My attendance at the Ard Fheis was given extensive national and international coverage. The SRC meeting was covered in the national media. A ‘Doorstep’ press event took place after the meeting outside the SRC offices in Belfast city centre.
The other three periods of parole, December 1997 (8 hours), April 1998 (10 hours) and June 1998 (8 hours) were granted to allow me to visit my father who, at that time, was physically unable to visit me in Long Kesh.
I was not involved in any investigation into allegations of rape of two brothers or anyone else for that matter in county Louth.
He also asserted that I was involved in the ‘investigation into the abuse of Maíria Cahill’. I was not. I refute these allegations. I was acquitted of the two charges that were levelled against me because Maíria Cahill refused to take her case into court and have her claims against me subjected to cross – examination.
I refute totally the allegations that Mr. Martin has put into the public record.
I challenge him to back up his accusations and produce the evidence to substantiate them. In the absence of such I request that he retracts those allegations and place that retraction on the record.