Northern Ireland's Director of Public Prosecutions has named the two people who will review the legal issues that arise from allegations made by Belfast woman Máiría Cahill.

Sir Keir Starmer, a former director of public prosecutions for England and Wales, and Australian-born lawyer Katherine O'Byrne have been appointed to the role by Northern Ireland's DPP Barra McGrory.

They are being asked to carry out an independent review of the prosecutorial systems in relation to three interlinked cases involving sex abuse and terrorist related charges. 

Ms Cahill has stated she is dissatisfied with how her claims of sex abuse and being subjected to an interrogation by IRA members were dealt with by the authorities.


Máiría Cahill alleged that in 1997, as a 16-year-old, she was sexually abused and raped by a Belfast Republican.

She also claimed that afterwards, she was subjected to an interrogation over a prolonged period by the Republican movement and that the ordeal included coming face-to-face with her alleged abuser.

Over a decade later the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland sought to pursue charges of sex abuse and terrorist related offences in three interlinked cases.

Máiría Cahill indicated she was not going to give evidence. Five individuals were acquitted of all charges.

Two weeks ago, in a BBC Spotlight programme, Máiría Cahill made public her allegations.

Ms Cahill and Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams have given conflicting accounts of conversations between them.

Her complaint about how the authorities dealt with her case is currently being investigated by the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland.

Now, in a second review, Northern Ireland's Director of Public Prosecutions has appointed two senior legal figures to examine the prosecutorial systems and processes in relation to those three interlinked cases.

Sir Keir Starmer, a former DPP for England and Wales and Australian-born lawyer, Katherine O'Byrne, will carry out that work and expect to complete it by spring of next year.

The two of them are known for their work on human rights issues.