Máiría Cahill grew up in Belfast, deep in the shadows of Irish republicanism, with family links to the IRA’s leading members and an expectation that she would have a glittering career within the political sphere of Sinn Fein…until she was sexually abused by a leading IRA member when she was 16. What followed was a series of brutal and inappropriate interrogations and investigations that saw members of the party question her story before her attacker left Belfast, while Sinn Féin and the IRA professed bafflement about his whereabouts. Cahill exercised her right to waive anonymity to shine a light on the goings on within the underbelly of the movement and Rough Beast tells her story in its entirety for the first time. It is a story of unimaginable trauma and political corruption.
Felicity Hayes-McCoy has had a 40-year writing career which spans radio, television, digital media, music theatre, fiction and non-fiction, including, her latest novel, The Keepsake Quilters, and A Woven Silence—part memoir, part family history, part Irish history and part Enniscorthy geography, this introspective history takes an interesting but at times painful journey through a hidden Ireland, from 1916 until the present day.
Hayes-McCoy and Cahill will discuss writing about personal experiences as well as discussing how Cahill’s decision to waive her anonymity has impacted her career to date and what it means for survivors of sexual assault.