February Comments

ANON Feb 26th, 2016 @ 07:22 PM

A drama teacher who raped a student when she was about seven years old has been jailed for 10 years.

Kevin Carroll (56) raped the girl in an Offaly school when he held her back after drama class nearly 20 years ago. The victim gave evidence that after the incident a woman at the school told her not to upset her mother by telling her about the rape.

Carroll of Hawthorne Drive, Birr in Offaly had pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to rape and anal rape at the Offaly school on a date between 1996 and 1998 when the girl was between six and eight. He was convicted on both counts.

On Friday, Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan noted that Carroll had offered no mitigation and still rejected the verdict of the jury.

She said the jury had found his victim to be “a credible and reliable witness” and she commended the woman’s “strength and great dignity” in reading out her emotional victim impact report.

Judge Heneghan said any sentence must take into account the “revulsion of society at such crimes”. She took into account that the victim was a defenceless child at the time and Carroll held a position of authority over her.

She imposed a ten years sentence and ordered Carroll to undergo two year post-release supervision. She also ordered he be registered as a sex offender.

The woman began her victim impact statement by quoting the poem The Forge by Seamus Heaney.

“All I know is a door into the dark,” she told the court.

She said she felt like she “was given a life sentence at the age of six”.
She felt “humiliated and degraded” throughout the trial process which she found “exceptionally difficult.”

She said she had trouble with State exams because they were held in halls similar to the one she was raped in. She also had to give up certain sports because they took place in halls.

She concluded that the rape had not destroyed her and she was slowly learning to cope with the help of therapy.

The court heard earlier this week that Carroll is to launch an appeal against his conviction because a juror was allegedly “smiling and winking” at gardaí during his trial.

Counsel for the DPP, Justin Dillon SC, said the offence was at the higher end of the scale of seriousness because of the age of the victim, Carroll’s position of trust and the injuries he caused her.

Mr Dillon told the court that Carroll taught a drama class in the school but was not officially a teacher there.

ANON

ANON Feb 26th, 2016 @ 11:06 AM

1/2...Sisters ask families to pool foster care info..

Two sisters of a woman placed in a foster care home at the centre of serious abuse allegations have urged affected families to contact them to pool information on the case.

Bridget and Margaret, whose second names have not been released to protect the identity of their sister, made the call after criticising officials for not keeping them informed a claim the HSE last night rejected, saying families have been offered support.

Speaking on RTÉ radio, the women, from the south-east, said their sister was given respite placements at the home on three occasions, in 1983, 1987, and 1989, when she was aged 12, 16, and 18. She has limited speech and has the mental capacity of a two-year-old.

The sisters said they do not know if she suffered any abuse at the home.

They said they grew concerned during one of the placements when the foster family left her alone outside after cancelling the placement.

“I never met them [the foster family] but I know that on one occasion they rang my parents and said they didn’t want her any more, to come and get her.

My parents found her there at the end of the road with her bag,” said Bridget.

“They just said they didn’t want her any more. When the parents arrived she was just there at the end of the drive, no social worker contacted.

“She was very distressed [after the placements], she was crying and later on became very anxious. We just thought it was because she’d been separated from us. We didn’t realise what we know now [the abuse claims].”

ANON

ANON Feb 26th, 2016 @ 11:03 AM

2/2...Margaret, said other than a general apology letter from the HSE, and the gardaí calling 18 months ago due to a “minor” complaint about the home, they have been given no information about wider investigations of the facility.

The HSE insists it has offered all affected families support, and continues to do so.
Margaret said as a result of their belief that they have not been supported, both sisters are now calling on affected families to contact them through the Liveline programme in order to pool their experiences and information about the home.

Bridget said: “It’s about support, really.

We wonder was my sister in the same situation [as ‘Grace’, who is alleged to have suffered years of abuse at the home].

We hope she wasn’t but we don’t know. If other families want to get in contact and sit down and talk about it, share any information they want to deal with, that’s what we want.”

Meanwhile, the Department of Health has said Finance Minister Michael Noonan, who was health minister when ‘Grace’ was meant to be removed from the home in 1996, was not involved in the decision to allow her placement to continue.

As revealed by the Irish Examiner, Mr Noonan was lobbied by the foster father at the time, with the department subsequently contacting the then South Eastern Health Board to find out about the case.

It has yet to be clarified what information was sought.

In a statement, the department said Mr Noonan was not involved in the U-turn on removing ‘Grace’ and that he “never sought to direct or influence the decision”.

ANON

ANON Feb 24th, 2016 @ 11:47 AM

Church seeks 'lessons' from Bishop Peter Ball abuse review…

A review is to examine who in the Church of England knew about sexual abuse carried out by the former Bishop of Lewes and Gloucester.

Peter Ball, 84, was jailed in October for offences against 18 teenagers and young men in the 1970s, 80s and 90s.

The Old Bailey heard a member of the Royal Family and other establishment figures backed Ball when he tried to avoid sex abuse charges in the 1990s.

The Archbishop of Canterbury said he hoped the church would learn lessons.

The review panel will be chaired by Dame Moira Gibb, a former chief executive of Camden Council in central London.

Dame Moira chaired a serious case review into Southbank International School in London, where 54 pupils were abused by William Vahey between 2009 and 2013.

Her report, published in January, found the school's safeguarding policies had failed and teachers did not report their concerns.

The review of the Ball case will consider what information was available to the Church of England, who had it and when.

It will also consider whether the Church's response complied with CofE policy and legislation and statutory policy and legislation.

"It is a matter of deep shame and regret that a bishop in the Church of England committed these offences," said Archbishop Justin Welby.

"There are no excuses whatsoever for what took place and the systematic abuse of trust perpetrated by Peter Ball over decades.

"I hope the review will provide the Church as a whole with an opportunity to learn lessons which will improve our safeguarding practice and policy."

The review is expected to be published within a year.

Ball was Bishop of Lewes between 1977 and 1992 and Bishop of Gloucester from 1992 until his resignation the following year.

He was cautioned for one act of gross indecency in 1993 against 16-year-old trainee monk Neil Todd, but was allowed to work in churches until 2010.

The Archbishop of Canterbury in 1993, George Carey - now Lord Carey said after Ball was sentenced he greatly regretted that during his tenure the church "dealt inadequately with Peter Ball's victims and gave too much credence to his protestations".

ANON

ANON Feb 24th, 2016 @ 11:44 AM

!/2....'Teenager at centre of 12-man sex ring', court hears the streets of a red light district in Birmingham as part of a child prostitution ring involving 12 men,

The 14-year-old was exposed to sex, drugs and violence when the offences allegedly began in 2009, while he was in the care of social services.

Warwick Crown Court heard he was subjected to "horrifying behaviour".

Twelve men, aged between 25 and 78, from Coventry, Staffordshire, West Midlands and London, deny 80 charges.

Prosecutor Rosina Cottage QC told the court, sitting at Leamington Spa, what happened led the boy into a "chaotic lifestyle".

She described him as a vulnerable youngster from a troubled background who had absconded from a care home in the East Midlands for a number of days.

Ms Cottage said the boy was alleged to have been sold "like goods" in the Kent Street area of Birmingham, and described in interviews with police "waiting on the street (with one of the defendants) for men, for business, for money for drugs".

Offences the men face include arranging and facilitating child prostitution, rape and other multiple serious sexual assaults.

Ms Cottage said the alleged offences against the boy were not fully investigated by West Midlands Police when first reported in 2009-10, something she described as "regrettable".

The trial, which is set to last 12 weeks, follows a reopening of the inquiry in 2012 when the claimant, now in his early 20s, was able to alert police to the whereabouts of some of those allegedly involved.

One defendant, Ronald Potter, 78, of Tippers Lane, Fillongley in Coventry, a former special constable with Warwickshire Police, is also accused of indecently assaulting a 15-year-old boy between November 2001 and June 2002.

ANON

ANON Feb 24th, 2016 @ 11:39 AM

2/2…The Defendants:

:: Stephen Kelly, Elm Road, Birmingham

:: Peter Joynes, Canberra Way, Birmingham

:: Darren Clegg, Hillside Drive, Great Barr, Birmingham

:: Peter Lowe, Salisbury Close, Birmingham

:: Ronald Potter, Tippers Lane, Fillongley, Coventry

:: Ian Prestleton, High Hadden Road, Sandwell

:: Alan Priest, Bristnall Hall Lane, Oldbury

:: Ashley Sherrington, Dawlish Drive, Stoke-on-Trent

:: Michael Godbold, Uxbridge Road, Shepherds Bush, west London

:: Tahir Hussain, St Josephs Road, Birmingham

:: Kevin Tudor, HMP Watton

:: Robert Bailey, Watt Road, Erdington

ANON

ANON Feb 23rd, 2016 @ 01:12 PM

1/2...Foster care correspondence: Papers suggest more yet to come…

Since early February, Finance Minister Michael Noonan has sidestepped questions over whether he had any role in the decision 20 years ago to allow a woman with significant intellectual disabilities to remain at an abusive foster home.

Mr Noonan and Taoiseach Enda Kenny have both told the Irish Examiner at press conferences in recent days that all Department of Health information about what happened in 1996 which led to the woman known as ‘Grace’ being left at the home has been made public.

“No additional information” is available, as one Fine Gael spokesperson put it.

However, correspondence to and from the then health minister seen by this newspaper show this is not the full story, with the developing situation now likely to form a central part of the promised State investigation into the tragic case.

On April 2, 1996, on foot of concerns over the treatment of a vulnerable child at the foster home, a three-person south-eastern health board panel decided to remove Grace from the facility.

An appeal was lodged by the foster family in May of that year, but was rejected by two independent experts.

Under normal circumstances, that should have been the end of the case, with the decision to remove Grace and place her in alternative State care having been made and subsequently supported by an independent review.

However, from early August, a chain of events came into play which have led to fresh questions over why the vulnerable woman was instead left at the home until 2009 allegedly suffering severe abuse in the process.

Documents seen by the Irish Examiner show that, on August 9, 1996, the father of the foster home family sent a two-page hand-written letter directly to Mr Noonan urging him to intervene in the removal of Grace which the foster father claimed was made by “some minion” and “to satisfy someone’s ego”.

The foster father claimed his family had just been informed their appeal to keep Grace in their control rejected three months earlier had failed and that, “in the best interests of Grace”, he urged Mr Noonan to intervene.

ANON

ANON Feb 23rd, 2016 @ 01:09 PM

2/2...“For some reason the health board are prepared to deny Grace comfort and happiness all I suspect because some minion has said let’s move her.

Hope you can decide in our favour,” he wrote.

Six days later, on August 12, senior Department of Health mental health services official Caroline Hurley wrote to south-eastern health board programme manager Martin Hynes noting “representations have been received” and requesting a case report.

On September 6, Mr Noonan’s private secretary wrote back to the foster father confirming the child was removed under the terms of the 1991 Child Care Act.

The letter confirmed that Mr Noonan “understood” the health board had concluded that it was in Grace’s best interests that she be removed from the home.

However, the letter goes on to state that the health board, at the request of the foster father, delayed Grace’s removal.

After being contacted by the Department child care policy unit official Malachy Quinn on September 11, again seeking a report on the case, on September 25 health board programme manager Mr Hynes wrote back, saying “the case is currently under consideration” by the health board and the principal of a local national school who had also contacted the health board for unknown reasons.

Two months later, private secretary to then junior health minister Austin Currie,

Dermot Ryan, wrote to this principal confirming “the minister has made enquiries” and that the case was “currently under consideration” seven months after the initial decision to remove her adding: “the board have [sic] assured the Minister your views will be taken into account.”

At the same time, a note of correspondence between Department officials and the health board showed Grace’s removal had been stalled “since September 25” the date health board programme manager Mr Hynes wrote to the Department saying the previously decided case was now “currently under consideration”.

It is unclear at this stage why Grace was left at the home despite earlier rulings.
However, what is clear is that after Mr Noonan sought further details in response to direct foster family representations, the removal was stopped.

All that can be said at this stage is that Mr Noonan’s sudden interest dovetails remarkably with an apparent removal U-turn.

Through either accident or design the political intervention led to the vulnerable woman being left in a severely abusive home for 13 more years.

ANON

ANON Feb 22nd, 2016 @ 12:44 PM

1/2Austin Currie drawn into case of girl at ‘foster’ home…

Intellectually disabled young adult left at house 13 years after sex abuse concerns raised

Austin Currie: “My memory is pretty good, but this was 20 years ago. I have no recollection of that case.”

Former minister for children Austin Currie says he passed representations from a “foster” family in the southeast to department officials.

Two representations were made to the Department of Health in late 1996 on behalf of a family appealing a decision by the then South Eastern Health Board to remove a young adult with intellectual disabilities from their care.

One representation was from the family and another on their behalf by a public servant familiar with the family.

A decision was made in September 1996 to remove the young woman known as Grace (then 1Cool amid concerns about serious sex abuse at the home. Grace had been with the family since 1989.

The original decision to remove Grace was countermanded at a meeting of three health board officials in October 1996 and Grace was left in the home until 2009.

The reason she was left in the home, despite serious concerns, is unknown.

No minutes remain of the October 1996 meeting. It is understood at least one of the three people at that meeting has since died.

The “foster mother” who ran the home a “holiday home” for respite and not a registered foster home has said she was told by a social worker, now deceased, that as Grace had turned 18 in 1996, she was no longer under their care so the family could “keep” her.

ANON

ANON Feb 22nd, 2016 @ 12:42 PM

2/2...Michael Noonan, health minister at the time, has said any representations made to the department were passed on to Mr Currie as the appropriate minister.

Mr Currie, junior minister in the Department of Health from December 1994 to June 1997, said: “My memory is pretty good, but this was 20 years ago. I have no recollection of that case. If a representation was made I would have passed that on to the appropriate officials in the department.”

He also disputed reports a family of a victim of alleged abuse at the “foster” home had come to the Fine Gael Ard Fheis in 1997 with former Fine Gael councillor and then chairman of the South Eastern Health Board, Garret O’Halloran.

Mr O’Halloran also disputed reports he had tried to discuss abuse allegations at the “foster” home with Mr Noonan at the 1997 Ard Fheis. “I have no knowledge of that foster home abuse case,” he said.

But he said Mr Noonan had “sprinted” away from him at the Ard Fheis.

He had brought a family, whose daughter had been abused in the 1980s by Fr Jim Grennan, parish priest in Monageer in Ferns, to Dublin to meet Mr Noonan.

Mr Currie said he met the family with Mr O’Halloran late on the Saturday at the Ard Fheis. “I said I would inquire into their allegations when I got back to the department on Monday.
The next thing I heard in the press I had promised an inquiry. I had not. I know I brought that family’s concerns to the officials in the department.”

The family’s allegations about Fr Grennan were confirmed in the 2005 Ferns report.

ANON

ANON Feb 22nd, 2016 @ 12:40 PM

1/2Survivors of abuse by sports coach call for accountability…

Men are ‘amazed’ to learn of admission to gardaí in 1987 after meeting was arranged

Survivors of sexual abuse by sports coach Bill Kenneally have questioned how he could have been allowed remain unaccountable for his abuse for almost 30 years after gardaí were alerted to his predatory behaviour.

Accountant Kenneally (65) of Laragh, Summerville Avenue, Waterford was jailed for 14 years and two months on Friday for the abuse of 10 boys between January 1984 and December 1987 but details emerged at his hearing that gardaí were alerted to his abuse as far back as 1987 (see panel).

Survivors Jason Clancy and Colin Power said they were “amazed” to learn that when the family of another abuse victim, identified as W, went to gardaí in 1987, a meeting was arranged between senior officers and Kenneally, through his uncle, former Fianna Fáil TD, the late Billy Kenneally.

Mr Clancy said: “I know back in 1987 if I was Bill Kenneally’s age, if there was a complaint made against me, I don’t think they would be going to ring my uncle, I think they’d be coming straight to me but that is the way the Kenneallys were treated back in the day.

“It should have been followed through.

All the gardaí had to do at the time was follow Bill Kenneally one night and if they were out by his favourite spot, which was the New Ross lay-by, they would have got him red-handed any time they wanted to.”

Mr Power said it was important to differentiate between the more recent garda investigation, which led to Kenneally’s conviction, and what happened with gardaí back in 1987 but in his view what happened back in 1987 was “negligent”.

ANON

ANON Feb 22nd, 2016 @ 12:37 PM

2/2...“In 1987, the guards were approached about this guy and although there wasn’t a formal complaint, in my book it was negligent of them not to do something.

Do we believe he just stopped like that? We have no evidence to the contrary [but] not for one second do I believe he stopped.”

Both Mr Clancy and Mr Power, along with fellow survivors Kevin Keating and Barry Murphy, who also waived their right to anonymity, said they wanted accountability but were still unclear what route they were going to pursue to try and establish the full facts of what happened in 1987.

Mr Clancy said Kenneally had admitted to gardaí abusing 20 boys and some 54 boys had made statements to gardaí as part of the current investigation but it was unclear how Kenneally had been able to go undetected for so long when gardaí knew about his abuse in 1987.

1987: Meeting with gardaí but no formal complaint
Sports coach Bill Kenneally, who warned his victims that no one would believe them

if they reported him as he was a member of the powerful Kenneally Fianna Fáil dynasty in Waterford city, admitted to gardaí as far back as 1987 that he was engaging in sexual abuse.

During Kenneally’s two-day sentencing hearing, Det Garda Maureen Neary told how Kenneally revealed during a search of his house in December 2012 that he had met gardaí in 1987 after the family of another boy , W, went to gardaí, concerned he may have abused their son.

Defence counsel Michael Counihan SC said a meeting was arranged through Kenneally’s uncle (former Fianna Fáil TD and Mayor of Waterford the late Billy Kenneally) and he went to Waterford Garda station on December 30th,

1987, where he met with two senior officers.

Mr Counihan said during a 90-minute meeting with Supt Sean Cashman and Insp PJ Hayes, Kenneally made a verbal admission about his activity with the boy (W) but the boy’s family opted not to make a formal complaint for personal reasons.

ANON

ANON Feb 20th, 2016 @ 04:14 PM

1/2…Michael Noonan urged to give statement on Waterford abuse claims…

Finance Minister Michael Noonan must give a full and frank statement on his alleged “inept” handling of abuse allegations in a Waterford home 20 years ago or face being hauled before a Dáil committee to publicly explain what happened.

Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald made the claim as she said Mr Noonan’s response to a series of questions over the case falls far short of what is required.

As reported by the Irish Examiner, Mr Noonan repeatedly refused to fully respond to allegations he failed to act on concerns of child abuse at a Waterford foster care home when he was informed of the situation two decades ago.

The case has subsequently led to a State commission of investigation announced last month, amid claims of sexual abuse and a cover-up by the health service.

In recent days, it emerged the then South Eastern Health Board chairman, Garry O’Halloran, who was also a Fine Gael councillor at the time, learned of the case in 1997.

After meeting with relatives of alleged victims, he organised a meeting with Mr Noonan at the party’s ard fheis in Dublin that year.

Mr O’Halloran claims Mr Noonan, who was the health minister at the time, “did a runner” when he saw him, leaving then junior health minister Austin Currie to meet the individuals.

While Mr O’Halloran says he was raising serious abuse allegations which, two decades later, have caused a national scandal no action was taken, leading the former councillor to resign from the party.

ANON

ANON Feb 20th, 2016 @ 04:10 PM

2/2...Despite the issues being raised with Fine Gael, the Department of Finance, and Mr Noonan repeatedly in recent days, the finance minister would only say on Thursday that he rejected the version of events; that the case still needs to be examined fully; and that he was not going to provide further details to satisfy public “curiosity”.

Speaking to reporters at a Sinn Féin election event yesterday, Ms McDonald said questions over what exactly happened must be answered.

“I think it is very troubling,” said Ms McDonald. “I am familiar with the circumstances in respect of Waterford and a number of people who have had a very traumatic experience and who were let down by the State and who were let down by government.

“I do think that Michael Noonan needs to come out and make a full statement on the matter, to set out exactly what happened, the timeline, and who was involved.

“It’s very important that Michael Noonan puts all those matters on the record.

“I note that even former colleagues of his are very concerned and very angry at what they regard to have been the disregard, the mishandling, the indifference of Michael Noonan to the issue of the time.”

The Public Accounts Committee, of which Ms McDonald is a member, repeatedly highlighted the case last year.

On whether the committee should ask Mr Noonan or Mr Currie to appear and give their accounts on the matter, Ms McDonald said this must now be considered.

“Were it not for PAC, the issues would not have come to light,” said Ms McDonald.

“I think it is something in the next Dáil that has to be pursued.

It is always preferable that Michael Noonan would come forward on his own initiative.

I think he should do so today.”

ANON

ANON Feb 20th, 2016 @ 04:07 PM

1/2...Child abuser to ‘serve’ his sentence at home…

The sexual abuser of a child is to have his home turned into his prison cell for the next five years for a crime he committed 35 years ago.

Eugene O’Sullivan, aged 59, of Dun Orga, Dunmanway, Co Cork, was given a five-year prison sentence yesterday which, in effect, he will serve in his own home.

Judge McDonagh yesterday said it was with reluctance that he was suspending the five-year sentence but was doing so on the man’s undertaking to stay within the curtilage of his home for the next five years.

“I will suspend it on his entering a bond to have no contact of any nature with the injured party or her family, that he remain within the curtilage of his dwelling for the period of five years,” the judge said, adding O’Sullivan could leave his home for all medical appointments and hospital treatment.

“If it crosses his mind to attend church, chapel, or meeting house he would be permitted to do so,” Judge McDonagh said.

“These terms are to replace his home for a prison cell. Any deviation should immediately be reported to the court and I will impose the prison sentence.”

The judge said the victim impact statement, which the complainant did not want to have read in public, was the most articulate, eloquent and moving he had even seen outlining how crimes of this nature affected innocent children through their childhood and into adult life.

ANON

ANON Feb 20th, 2016 @ 04:04 PM

2/2...The accused was remanded in custody a fortnight ago following his pleas of guilty to indecently assaulting a girl in West Cork when she was six years old and he was 25. O’Sullivan’s name will also go on the sex offenders register.

Sergeant Aidan Moynihan said at Cork Circuit Criminal Court that the incident assault occurred on an afternoon in the early 1980s.

The girl asked O’Sullivan to get something for her. He said he would but produced his penis and told her to put it in her mouth first and the child did so.

It was not until the injured party was 19 that she felt she could tell an aunt and it was some further time before she told her mother.

Sgt Moynihan said she was in counselling from 1995 to 2012, when she went to her local garda station and made a complaint of indecent assault.

The injured party said she did not want any of the parties identified and did not want the accused to be jailed.

Brian McInerney, defending, said the accused now suffered serious ill health.

“He is deeply ashamed of his actions, he has had to live with this in the back of his mind,” he said.

“He accepts there is a certain degree of fate seeking to even the scales in terms of injuries which have befallen him.”

Mr McInerney said he was flabbergasted by the extraordinary Christian attitude taken by the complainant.

“One could understand feelings of revenge or vengeance but she fails to see how it would achieve anything other than letting a sick man die in prison,” Mr McInerney said.

He quoted the complainant asking what justice there would be in jailing O’Sullivan at this stage.

ANON

ANON Feb 19th, 2016 @ 02:17 PM

1/2...Michael Noonan rejects claim he ‘did a runner’ from families of sex abuse victims…

Finance Minister Michael Noonan has strongly rejected claims that he “did a runner” from families of sex abuse victims who tried to speak to him about abuse allegations when he was minister for health.

Mr Noonan yesterday dismissed a claim from a former Fine Gael councillor and chairman of the South East Health Board Garry O’Halloran that the minister “ran” from him as he tried to discuss the abuse allegations at a foster home in the South-East.

The veteran Fine Gael minister is under fire amid the ongoing controversy about the mishandling of sexual abuse allegations at a foster home in Co Waterford by health officials as far back as 1995.

Recent reports in the Irish Examiner have led to the establishment of a Commission of Investigation into the foster home at which a young intellectually disabled woman, referred to as Grace, was allegedly raped and subjected to horrific sexual abuse.

“I understand Cllr O’Halloran, whom I don’t know I mean I’m sure I met him when I was minister because I met a lot of councillors I’m not sure whether he was Waterford or Wexford but he was on in the South-East anyway and I reject his versions of events,” Mr Noonan told the Irish Examiner yesterday.

Mr Noonan confirmed he received representations from the foster father in 1996 when health minister around the time a decision to remove Grace from the home was overturned.

“We were told that the young woman in question, or young child in question, had been removed from the foster home,” he said.

“Some weeks later, it transpired that the South Eastern Health Board officials, who had made the decision, had reversed the decision for some reason.”

Mr Noonan said the matter was ultimately passed on to his junior minister, Austin Currie, to deal with.

ANON

ANON Feb 19th, 2016 @ 02:13 PM

2/2...“Austin Currie was the junior minister with responsibility to children at the Department of Health at that time and we referred it on to him,” he said.

Mr Noonan also sought to cast doubt on the veracity of the abuse allegations. This is despite the Government deciding to establish a Commission of Inquiry into the goings on at the foster home, and the HSE apologising to the abuse victims.

He said: “As I understand it, what we have, at present, is a series of allegations that need to be inquired into. I understand there’s no proof on either side.

“And I don’t want to say anything that gets me into legal difficulty to satisfy your curiosity.

I’ve given you an absolute straight answer on everything I know.

I can’t be responsible for third-parties who make allegations about me which I refute.”

Mr O’Halloran said that, at the 1997 Fine Gael ard fheis, Mr Noonan had arranged to meet him and some abuse victims. He has said he resigned from Fine Gael because of Mr Noonan’s actions.

“We arrived, he kept us waiting for hours,” said Mr Halloran. “Eventually I spotted him leaving the stage and heading for a door about 40m away, I was about 60m away and started to follow him in the direction of the door.

“He spotted me and ran. I then ran but he got to the door and when I arrived I was met with a cloud of black smoke as his Garda driver sped away.”

Reacting to Mr Noonan’s comments last night, Mr O’Halloran said he was shocked at “how bare-faced” the minister was in his denials.

“How can he deny it? Surely he can’t be so bare- faced? What about Phil Hogan, who was there telling me it would all be alright?” Mr O’Halloran said.

“Also he sought to deny he knew me. What about the time in 1991 when I ran for the Seanad when he canvassed with me and had his son drive me around.”

After an initial query about Mr O’Halloran’s allegations on Monday, a Fine Gael spokesperson responded on Tuesday by referencing an interview the finance minister conducted with RTÉ before the claims were made, adding that “no additional information” is available

ANON

ANON Feb 19th, 2016 @ 02:08 PM

1/2...Former national basketball coach jailed for 14 for child sex abuse..

A former national basketball coach has been jailed to 14 years and two months in prison for abusing 10 boys in the 1980s.

Bill Kenneally was sentenced at Waterford Circuit Court this morning

Judge Eugene O'Kelly said the 10 counts were a representative sample of more than 70 charges before the court.

The offenses occurred over a four year period in the mid 1980s.

The judge said Kenneally came from a relatively privileged background and worked as an accountant and that he had an appetite of sexual gratification for young boys.

The offenses happened in Kenneally's home, without the knowledge of his parents, or in his car or at various other locations.

The court heard the gardaí were aware of an informal complaint in 1987 but that the current prosecution comes from victims going to the gardaí in 2012.

Judge O'Kelly said Kenneally had taken on the guise of being a coach or a mentor, he groomed them for the sexual exploitation of them for months and years and he had money at a time when many were struggling.

He spent his money on cars which had an impression on the young boys.

He gave them money, initially appearing as a gift, but then as a debt which they had to work off with alcohol and images of pornography.

One of the features of many predatory pedophiles is the pattern the abuse was very similar for each of the boys.

Judge then highlighted some of the abuse, saying each victim had suffered devastating psychological consequences, and the impact statements make harrowing reading.

He said the victims were powerless to prevent the abuse, with some suffering from alcohol dependency and depression and one contemplating suicide.

Family life has suffered, and one of the boys was abused on the very morning he was to sit his Inter Cert Leaving Cert English examination.

“You have all been robbed of the innocence of your childhood said.

ANON

ANON Feb 19th, 2016 @ 02:05 PM

2/2...The judge said there are very strict sentencing guidelines and that the law for sentencing applies to the time offense occurred, when the maximum sentence was two years in prison, pre-1991.

Since then the law has been changed to 14 years maximum, reflecting contemporary society's repugnance to the abuse.

He said the aggravating factors included the nature of the abuse, the effect on the victims, the intensity of the abuse and scale of the gravity, which is on the upper end of the scale of the assault.

He said Mr Kenneally gained the trust of the boys as a Sunday soccer coach, or at basketball or tennis club.

This was all manipulative grooming for the abuse which was to follow.

Another factor he said was the way he left the victims feeling degraded, and mentioned the fact he said he was part of the Kenneally family and that he would never be believed.

He said Polaroid did not have to be processed by a third party and were some sort of insurance against disclosure.

Another factor he said was the persistence of the abuse, over many years, a complete lack of a moral compass.

A fifth factor is the number of victims involved, number may have been double that he told Gardaí, but the judge said he is only concerned with the 10 victims before the court.

A sixth factor he said was the group participation of the boys, creating a distorting perception which might be considered the norm.

The use of devices such as handcuffs is another factor he said.

He said some of the victims were tied to trees and left for a time at nighttime. What some of the victims disclose is certainly violence said the judge.

And he said the use of alcohol was another factor as it was used to facilitate the abuse, with Keneally never drinking himself.

The payment of money was another aggravating factor he said, with substantial amounts of money being given to the boys, which was bribery.

Maximum sentence of two years on each count is warranted, said Judge O'Kelly.

ANON