Taoiseach Enda Kenny has confirmed that he is happy to meet Maíria Cahill to discuss the allegations the Belfast woman has made against Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams.

A Government spokesperson said arrangements were currently being made to facilitate a meeting, following a request from Ms Cahill yesterday.

Ms Cahill alleges that she was abused by a member of the Provisional IRA and that the republican movement knew of the abuse.

Ms Cahill later went to the police.

A case was brought against the alleged rapist and those said to have been involved in the IRA inquiry.

All charges were dropped after Ms Cahill withdrew her evidence.

During the week, Mr Adams said a BBC Spotlight documentary had broadcast a remark attributed to him, which is "reprehensible" and the matter is now in the hands of his solicitor. 

He said that he has had to deal with abuse in his own family and is very aware of how allegations of rape have to be "treated very sensitively".

Victims of abuse have come to him because of his own experience and he continues to work with victims of abuse, he said.

He said that when it transpired there was an abuse at the centre of Ms Cahill's behaviour at this time, he went to Mairia's uncle Joe Cahill and asked him to persuade her to go to the RUC, but she refused to do so.

Mr Adams said that if this woman was raped, this is wrong, and if the IRA did become involved in the matter in the way that has been suggested, this was wrong.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald said she resents the "slur" that her party is involved in a cover-up of sexual abuse.

She said that this is "entirely untrue" and that Ms Cahill, or anyone else, should bring all abuse allegations to the authorities.

"Sinn Féin is not in possession of information about child abuse and is not refusing to co-operate with the authorities.

"If the IRA conducted an investigation into sex abuse complaints that would have been entirely wrong," she said.

The Dublin Central TD said she is not in a position to say what the IRA did in the past.

She said  anybody with information on cases of sexual abuse should come forward to the appropriate authorities, north and south, without fear.

She said that any such person would have the support of Sinn Féin.

Communications Minister Alex White said Deputy McDonald must show greater leadership on this issue particularly with regard to her party leader, Mr Adams.