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"MARTIN CAHILL, MY FATHER" : Autism Charity Unimpressed by Book 'Stunt'

Sunday Independent, 14 October  2007

The president of the Irish Society for Autism (ISA) said last night that it was a total surprise to him that Frances Cahill, daughter of Martin Cahill, the major criminal known as The General, intended to donate the proceeds of her book to the society.

Dr James Hayes said this was the first he had heard of the offer. "So far the ISA have not had any offer of money arising from the publication of Ms Cahill's book," he said.

A board source told the Sunday Independent last night that the money would not be accepted. "We don't want to be used in any cheap publicity stunt. Besides, I doubt this book will raise very much money."

The Irish MEP and leading disability-rights campaigner said it would be wrong for the Irish Autism Society to accept these proceeds.

The CEO of another autism charity group said it would in no way accept money from the sale of such a book given the ethical difficulties associated with it.

Frances Cahill appeared on the Late Late Show on Friday and made it known that she was donating the monies earned from the sale of her new book, Martin Cahill, My Father, to the Irish Society for Autism.

During her contentious interview with Pat Kenny, Ms Cahill said that she had not wanted it to become public that she was donating the proceeds to the charity, but the level of criticism in the media left her with no option.

Frances Cahill said: "I was taken aback by the level and the nature of the criticism, and given the nature of it, I wasn't going to say this, but I am not making any money from this. I am planning to give the money to the Irish Autism Society."

Martin Cahill was murdered in 1994, a short distance from his home in Ranelagh.

However, yesterday, Kathy Sinnott, MEP for Munster, said that any book glorifying the actions of a crime lord should be resisted and no charity or voluntary organisation should associate themselves with it.

Speaking exclusively to the Sunday Independent, Ms Sinnott said: "Given what her father did, it is inappropriate for such a book to be written which could in some way glorify his actions. But, certainly, it is not OK at all for a charity to be connected with this."