October Comments 2018

ANON Oct 29th, 2018 @ 11:25 AM

Minister Katherine Zappone has again done the right thing…

It was surprising to hear Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone say she was doing what she was doing with regard to the Tuam babies scandal because it was right.

This seems almost unprecedented for a politician in Ireland. Ms Zappone did likewise with regard to problems with Scouting Ireland, she did what was clearly right.

We owe her a sincere thanks for doing the right thing, in such matters, rather than opting for a “pragmatic” or typical “cute hoor” type of option, that many of our Irish politicians opt for.

In our recent budget it was clear that climate change needed to be seriously addressed, yet the Cabinet opted for doing virtually nothing significant due to lobbying by vested interests.

The greatest environmental scandal in Ireland over the past century has been the peat industry, burning the land from beneath our feet and releasing huge amounts of damaging CO2 and destroying valuable carbon storage capacity and our precious environmental wealth.

Even now, this will be allowed continue up until 2030.

Bridget McCole was treated appallingly by the state for “pragmatic” reasons and she was just one of many such persons treated with such contempt.

Since 2001 our foreign policy ministers and officials have been behaving “pragmatically” with regard to Irish neutrality and complicity in war crimes in the Middle East.

If we had the likes of Ms Zappone as Minister for Foreign Affairs then our foreign policy might also be directed to doing what is right because it is right.

Thank you, Katherine Zappone, for doing what is right.


ANON Oct 25th, 2018 @ 05:42 PM

1/2...Father jailed for six years for abuse, rape of daughters…

A father who sexually abused two of his daughters, and raped one of them, has been jailed for six years.

Patrick Byrnes, 78, of Castletroy, Limerick was convicted by a jury at the Central Criminal Court last July of 58 charges of indecent assault and two counts of rape on dates between 1975 and 1985.

The court heard that he told his daughters that he and their mother would split up if they told anyone about the abuse.

Byrnes began abusing his daughters when they were aged around seven, the year of their First Communion. The trial heard he told them that "this is how daddies show their love".

The father-of-nine denied all the charges. Today, Mr Justice Paul McDermott noted that the case has split the family.

Counsel for the DPP told the court that both victims wished to waive right to anonymity so their father could be identified.

Judge McDermott said the daughters were repeatedly abused by their father and lived a life of abject fear. Byrnes abused them with impunity.

He noted that both women said they were left broken by the childhood abuse.

At a sentence hearing earlier this week, Gardaí told the court Byrnes had worked as a truck driver for a beverage company and a delivery man for a fruit wholesalers prior to becoming a taxi driver, and had never previously come to garda attention.

His wife died in 2013, and shortly after this, the complainants reported the matter to Gardaí.

The court heard that the women were both aged seven when the sexual abuse began and it continued on a twice-weekly basis for a period of ten years.

The majority of the sexual abuse took place in the family home when the complainants were having baths and in a coal shed adjacent to the property.

Byrnes also sexually assaulted the girls in his car during shopping trips.


ANON Oct 25th, 2018 @ 05:39 PM

2/2...The court heard Byrnes also raped the younger of the two women twice in the sitting room of his home, while other family members slept.

In a victim impact statement one of the women, who is now aged 49, said she lived in fear, morning and night.

"I hated my childhood, he robbed me of it.

But I protected my mum by not allowing this vile secret to be out in the open," she said.

The other woman, who is now aged 50, said she was terrified of Byrnes and described him as the controller of the family.

"He beat me to a pulp because he said I looked like my mother," she stated.

"Consensual sex felt wrong to me after what my father did to me and resulted in my broken marriage," she said.

The woman said the sexual abuse lead to depression and three attempts to take her own life.

"I will never ever forgive you, you showed no remorse, but now I'm back in control," she said.

Mark Nicholas SC, defending, told the court that Byrnes suffers from a heart condition that would make custody difficult.

He told Mr Justice Paul McDermott that his client maintains his innocence.

"This was an unusual case in that some of the family members gave evidence on behalf of the defence," he said.

Three of the indecent assault charges involved Byrnes "willing" the family dog to engage in sexual acts with one of the children.


ANON Oct 25th, 2018 @ 10:06 AM

1/2...Leo Varadkar: Tuam home excavation will be slow and painstaking…

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said the excavation of a mass grave at Tuam’s mother and baby home will be “slow and painstaking”.

At Leader’s Questions on Wednesday, Mr Varadkar was asked by Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald when the legislation required to excavate the grave would be before Parliament, and why the order of nuns that ran the home did not contribute more to the cost of the excavation.

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone announced on Tuesday that the order of the Bon Secours will contribute €2.5 million to the overall cost, estimated at between €6 million and €12 million.

“Minister Zappone had sought a higher offer on a percentage scale, but this is what is forthcoming,” Mr Varadkar said.

“We are treating it as a contribution, not a settlement.”

Mr Varadkar said the Government would implement a multidisciplinary framework and the action being taken will be phased.

The recovery of remains will be conducted by systemic ground truthing and forensic analysis.

“I’m not sure if anyone knows what we’re getting into, but it was the right decision,” Mr Varadkar added.

“As it has never been done before, it will require new primary and bespoke legislation and I expect that will be before the Dáil early next year.


ANON Oct 25th, 2018 @ 10:04 AM

2/2“...This is going to be very difficult, this is a mass grave, there are remains of stillborn babies and older children, and there may also be adult remains,” he said.

It will be slow and painstaking and it will not be possible to identify all remains
Mr Varadkar added that the site was also used as a workhouse and grave site during the Famine period, which will add to the difficulty in identifying remains.

“It will be slow and painstaking and it will not be possible to identify all remains, and what we learn along the way will inform us for action at other sites.

This is going to take time, we need to build capacity to do it.

“We will do our utmost in terms of identification, but in many cases it won’t yield answers.”

Mr Varadkar added that almost 10% of Ireland’s population at one point lived in some kind of institution, “and many terrible things may have happened there”.

The Government approved the forensic excavation of the site at the former mother and baby home on Tuesday, after a mass grave was found at the site in Tuam, Co Galway, last year.

A commission was set up following allegations that around 800 infants were buried in a septic tank at the former home for unmarried mothers.

Other questions to the leader were about recent structural inspections in schools, which will see 40 sites assessed over the mid-term break.

Mr Varadkar said every effort would be made to find alternative classrooms if schools have to temporarily close.


ANON Oct 24th, 2018 @ 10:01 AM

Reports of suspected sexual offences involving children double in north of Ireland since 2010...

The number of reports of suspected sexual offences involving children has more than doubled since 2010, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) chief constable said.

Increased recording of sex crime up 120% does not equate to the same actual increase, because of past under-reporting and other factors.

George Hamilton said: “It is a sad indictment of society, but I think it is us getting a more accurate picture of where we are.”

Increased reporting to police was a good thing, but the increased complexity of crime-solving posed challenges, he added.

He said: “We can only address the harm, we can only tackle the vulnerability when we know this is happening.”

The chief constable said crime was becoming increasingly complex and reiterated that much of the work tackling criminals was done from behind computer screens rather than during high-visibility patrols.

He said budgets had shrunk in recent years and some official plans for the future were still in draft form because of the lack of a government at Stormont.

Policing the legacy of the past is costing millions and, while important, is not addressing the serious crime of today, he told a meeting at the Policing Board in Belfast.

There has been a 112% increase in recording of complex cyber-related crime over the last three years.

Mr Hamilton said: “All of those increasing complexities tend not to be policed by officers on the high street, in our housing estates, in high visibility jackets at 10 at night tackling anti-social behaviour.

“They tended to be researched in a back office space, in front of a computer terminal, in a suite that is properly developed to deal with victims and vulnerable people, maybe over a period of days to get some confidence in the officers and staff that they are engaging with.

“The demand has changed, the shift is going from the visible police presence to invisible police activity, but it is critical to tackle the complexity of this changing demand.


ANON Oct 22nd, 2018 @ 09:59 AM

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has issued a national apology to victims of child sex abuse in an emotional address to parliament, acknowledging the state failed to stop "evil dark crimes" committed over decades.

"This was done by Australians to Australians, enemies in our midst, enemies in our midst," Mr Morrison told parliament in a nationally televised address.

"As a nation, we failed them, we forsook them, and that will always be our shame," he said, his voice cracking as he recounted abuse that permeated religious and state-backed institutions.

Decrying abuse that happened "day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, decade after decade" in schools, churches, youth groups, scout groups, orphanages, sports clubs and family homes, Mr Morrison declared a new national credo in the face of allegations: "We believe you."

Today, we say sorry, to the children we failed. Sorry. To the parents whose trust was betrayed and who have struggled to pick up the pieces. Sorry. To the whistle-blowers, who we did not listen to. Sorry.

"To the spouses, partners, wives, husbands, children, who have dealt with the consequences of the abuse, cover-ups and obstruction. Sorry. To generations past and present. Sorry."

The state apology comes after a five-year Royal Commission that detailed more than 15,000 survivors' harrowing child sex abuse claims involving thousands of institutions.

In parliament, lawmakers stood for a moment of silence following the remarks as hundreds of survivors looked on or watched in official events across the country.

Relatives of victims who have died wore the tags with the names of daughters and sons, brothers and sisters, for whom this apology comes too late.

A series of institutions have already apologised for their failings, including Australian Catholic leaders who have lamented the church's "shameful" history of child abuse and cover-ups.

According to the Royal Commission, 7% of Catholic priests in Australia were accused of abuse between 1950 and 2010, but the allegations were never investigated, with children ignored and even punished.

Some senior members of the church in Australia have been prosecuted and found guilty of covering up abuse.


ANON Oct 19th, 2018 @ 09:18 AM

US opens federal investigation into Catholic Church abuse…

The US Justice Department has opened an investigation into child sex abuse by priests in Pennsylvania, two months after the publication of a report on decades of sexual abuse in the state.

The investigation is the first statewide probe by federal authorities of allegations of sex abuse and cover-up by the Catholic Church in the United States, according to groups representing abuse victims.

The Pennsylvania dioceses said they had received federal subpoenas following a state grand jury report that alleged over 300 Catholic priests in Pennsylvania had sexually abused children over 70 years.

The dioceses of Allentown, Erie, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Scranton said they were cooperating with the investigation but declined further comment.

The Justice Department and US Attorney's Office in Philadelphia declined to comment.

An 884-page report made public in August by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro after a two-year investigation contained graphic examples of children being groomed and sexually abused by clergymen.

Mr Shapiro said at the time that it was largely based on documents from secret archives kept by the dioceses, including handwritten confessions by priests.

The report cited 301 priests, some of whom have died.

Tim Lennon, president of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said the investigation was long overdue.

Four statewide grand juries in Pennsylvania since 2003 identified around 500 alleged sexual predators among acting or former Catholic clergy, he said.

"In what other institution could you have 500 criminals and not be prosecuted?" asked Mr Lennon, who said he was abused by a Catholic priest when he was a child.

Mr Lennon said SNAP had asked the federal government three times since 2002 for a nationwide investigation of 15,000 active or retired Catholic clergy accused of being sexual predators.

In September, US Catholic bishops said they would set up a hotline for accusations of sexual abuse against bishops and other church leaders, or allegations of cover ups by such people.

The report is thought to be the most comprehensive to date into abuse in the US church.


ANON Oct 17th, 2018 @ 10:06 AM

1/2…50,000 children at risk from 'toxic trio' of abuse, addiction and mental health issues…

A new report calls for more funding to help protect those at risk.

There are a record number of children at risk of abuse and neglect in England.

A new report from the Children's Commissioner for England says these children are at a "very high risk of severe harm" and the three "toxic" factors were prevalent in cases of suspected abuse or neglect where children had been seriously harmed or died and says many are unknown to social services.

It also said around 160,000 young children were in homes with two of these issues.

It said extra funding for child protection was urgently needed and that many of those at the greatest risk could be unknown to social services.

The report, titled A Crying Shame, said there are about 15,800 babies considered by local authorities to be vulnerable or highly vulnerable and at risk of harm, but still living at home.

Children's Commissioner Anne Longfield said more funding was urgently needed.

"This important research shows hundreds of the most vulnerable young children are at risk of harm," she said.

"As children's services budgets come under increased pressure, we cannot just cross our fingers and hope for the best. Babies are too vulnerable and deserve better.

"The government has an opportunity in the budget and next year's spending review to make sure the funds are in place to ensure that they are properly protected."


ANON Oct 17th, 2018 @ 10:04 AM

2/2The Local Government Association (LGA) echoed the call for a cash injection into children's services.

Councillor Anntoinette Bramble, chair of the LGA's children and young people board, said: "These worrying figures underline the huge number of children and families in need of help and support, and emphasises the colossal challenge facing councils and their partners as they try to address growing levels of need with rapidly diminishing resources.

"We are absolutely clear that unless new funding is found in the Autumn Budget, then these vital services, which keep children safe from harm and the worst abuses of society, will reach a tipping point."

A government spokeswoman said it was vital children affected by mental health, alcoholism and domestic abuse receive the care and support they need.

She added: "We are working to tackle these issues through our landmark Domestic Abuse Bill to better protect and support victims, as well as reviewing the outcomes for children in need.

"We are also investing up to £270m in children's social care programmes to improve the lives of vulnerable children, we have pledged £8m to support children who are exposed to domestic abuse and £500,000 to expand helplines for children of alcoholics."


ANON Oct 16th, 2018 @ 11:17 AM

1/2...Beloved US-based Irish priest and champion musician accused of child abuse…

Child sex-abuse finding have been made against Monsignor Charles Coen, a former pastor and famed Irish musician on Staten Island. IrishCentral understands the priest, now 85 and living in a retirement home in New York, strongly disputes the finding as do many in the Irish music community.

According to Catholic New York, the official newspaper for the Archdiocese of New York, Coen is one of four monsignors and a priest “who had an allegation of sexual abuse of minors brought against them in the Archdiocese’s Independent

Reconciliation and Compensation Program [IRCP].”

Allegations against all five clergymen have been “found credible and substantiated,"
Friends of the priest say he has been treated unfairly and says the case against him comes down to one allegation from over 30 years ago that Coen strongly denies.

They speculate that he is an innocent victim of the rush by the Archdiocese to clean house before the New York DA commences clerical investigations as law officials did in Pennsylvania recently.

Coen, a Galway-native, came to America in 1955 and is revered as one of the leading traditional Irish musicians in America.

He has won four All Ireland Championships and has been inducted into two Halls of Fame.

He was ordained a priest in 1968. He had served at St. Joseph-St. Thomas R.C.

Parish in Pleasant Plains from 1976 to 1986.

He had previously served at St. Paul’s R.C. Church in New Brighton.

He became pastor of Saint Christopher's Church in Red Hook in 1986.

He became Monsignor in 2006 and retired two years later in 2008 and lived for a time in the Irish Catskills


ANON Oct 16th, 2018 @ 11:14 AM

2/2...Msgr. Coen also taught and conducted Irish music for children during his time on S.I. He performed and was honored at a celebration of Irish music and culture in 2010 at St. Joseph-St. Thomas.

According to a 2010 Advance article, Coen “shared his love of music with parishioners young and old and his own talents became known among Irish music circles everywhere.”

“For example, teaching youngsters one or two songs for St. Patty’s Day led to years of conducting children’s choruses that ended up mastering 40 songs and sang in illustrious places like Carnegie Hall and entered competitions.

And they were singing in Irish, a language they would not have ever heard," said the article.

“One of nine children, Father Coen absorbed music from his concertina-playing father, his brother, and the neighbors in Woodford, County Galway.”

He was named

All Ireland champion concertina player three times and a beloved part of the Irish music scene in New York

“He began playing a tin whistle in the local Fife & Drum Band. A concertina, a small accordion type instrument, bought at the age of 19, and then a flute, became two of his lifelong companions. Inspired by his students, he competed on all of his chosen instruments and gathered six All-Ireland senior titles, a serious competition in traditional Irish music.”

A notice in the St. Joseph St. Thomas bulletin said:

“The Lay Review Board has concluded that the allegations were credible and substantiated. Msgr. Coen has been suspended, and may not function or present himself as a priest.

The Holy See will decide an appropriate penalty, which could include dismissal from the clerical state or imposing a life of prayer and penance. However, it is certain that Msgr. Coen will never serve as a priest again.”


ANON Oct 16th, 2018 @ 11:10 AM

1/2...Mother and baby homes commission refuses to hold hearings in public…

The Commission of Investigation inquiring into mother and baby homes has refused to accede to requests for public hearings, despite having the power to do so.

Testimony can be heard in public at the discretion of the judge-led commission.

However, a new report co- authored by a leading international law firm is critical of the manner in which the tribunal is operating.

As well as declining to hold public hearings, the report says the commission has refused to provide witnesses with transcripts of their evidence.

The report said the commission was also not providing witnesses with access to personal records uncovered and that it appears its entire archive will be sealed once the inquiry is finished.

The criticisms are made in the Clann Project report 'Ireland's Unmarried Mothers and their Children: Gathering Data'.

The Adoption Rights Alliance, Justice for Magdalenes Research and law firm Hogan Lovells produced the report, which draws on interviews with 164 people separated from family members through Ireland's forced adoption system and related abuses.

The report calls for a new process of investigation, making access to information the primary goal.

It also calls for a State apology, redress and the introduction of statutory rights of access to archives and tracing services.


ANON Oct 16th, 2018 @ 11:08 AM

2/2...The commission, led by Judge Yvonne Murphy, was established in 2015 in the wake of claims the bodies of up to 800 babies and children may have been buried in an unmarked mass grave at the Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, Co Galway.

It is due to produce its final report in February.

Clann Project co-director and human rights lawyer Dr Maeve O'Rourke said the commission did not meet the requirements of an effective investigation.

Hogan Lovells solicitor Rod Baker said those whose requests for public hearings refused included Philomena Lee, whose 50-year search for her adopted son became an Oscar-nominated movie.

A spokeswoman for the commission said "no good reason" was advanced as to why it should deviate from the "general principle" of having private hearings.

She said anyone who wanted to see a transcript of their evidence, to ensure they were happy with it, could do so. However, transcripts are not being handed out as the commission does not want evidence given in private to appear in the public domain.

The spokeswoman also said the commission was prevented under its terms of reference from providing any information to people in relation to tracing.

She said the commission is required to hand over its archive to the Children's Minister once its work is completed, and has no control over what happens to it after that.


ANON Oct 16th, 2018 @ 11:04 AM

1/2...No decision on memorial to abused, ten years on…

A decision about how to permanently memorialise victims of institutional child abuse has still not been made by the Department of Education five years after a planning setback and nearly a decade since it was recommended in the landmark Ryan Report.

The department has not convened a meeting of the memorial committee of abuse survivors and others for nearly five years, since the memorial design they backed next to Dublin’s Garden of Remembrance was refused planning permission by An Bord Pleanála.

A €500,000 capital allocation has been set aside for the project each year since the Government approved the construction of a permanent memorial, which was the first recommendation in the May 2009 Ryan Report.

The Journey of Light concept for the west side of Parnell Place was given planning permission by Dublin City Council in 2013.

But An Bord Pleanála turned down the application on foot of significant objections about its impact on the Garden of Remembrance, to which it was proposed to be joined through a walkway beneath the large Children of Lir sculpture.

In subsequent contact with the Department of Education, Dublin City Council identified a number of other suitable sites for a public memorial.

But the Journey of Light design was specific to the Parnell Place location and no other designs submitted to the international competition in 2010 had been deemed suitable by the memorial committee, chaired by former Office of Public Works chairman Seán Benton.


ANON Oct 16th, 2018 @ 11:03 AM

2/2...The Irish Examiner revealed in March 2017 that due to the difficulties, the department was instead considering a permanent exhibition.

But over 18 months later, no decision has been made, with the 10th anniversary of the Ryan Report’s publication looming in just over six months’ time.

“The department is deliberating on a range of possibilities as to memorialisation.

Those deliberations are ongoing,” a spokesperson said.

However, it appears there has still been no formal discussion with committee members.

Although department officials wrote to its chairman Mr Benton in September 2017 to seek views on whether a permanent exhibition in a national museum would constitute a suitable memorial, no specific views were received back other than an oral acknowledgement by Mr Benton of the department’s letter.

The committee has not met since January 2014, shortly after planning was refused for the Journey of Light, and indicated at the time that it may not be able to progress the matter further.

However, abuse survivor representatives on the committee had not been notified of the consideration being given to an exhibition to replace the memorial before it was reported in the Irish Examiner last year.

“The commitment of the memorial committee, who had dedicated their time and energy to the project, is acknowledged,” a department spokesperson said.

“Active consideration is currently being given to how best to mark this phase of Ireland’s history, particularly in light of the upcoming 10th anniversary of the Ryan Report,” she said.

The department said that the provision of €500,000 remains ring-fenced for the memorialisation project.


ANON Oct 16th, 2018 @ 10:57 AM

Rise in sex offences committed against children in Northern Ireland…

Almost a quarter of all sex offences committed against children last year involved victims aged between four and eight, a charity has said.

Police statistics show a rise in attacks on young people. Figures obtained by the NSPCC show there were 439 sex crimes against children aged between four and eight in the 12 months to March this year. That was 23% of the total number of offences against under-18s.

There were 422 offences against children aged four to eight in 2016/17.

Neil Anderson, head of the NSPCC in Northern Ireland, said: "The figures we have revealed today show that we all need to do more to help young children learn how to stay safe from sexual abuse, these conversations should be as normal as teaching them to cross the road."

The charity said the rise in sexual offences against children of this age could be down to online grooming being easier, more children coming forward after high-profile cases and improved recording methods by police.

Parents were worried to talk to their children about sexual abuse in case they scared them, research by the NSPCC found.

To combat this, the NSPCC's Talk PANTS campaign made a song and activity pack featuring cartoon dinosaur Pantosaurus.

The charity has made a video which shows young children using the Talk PANTS activities.

They do not mention the words sex or abuse to make it is easier for parents to tackle the sensitive subject.

The initiative stands for "privates mean private, always remember your body belongs to you, no means no, talk about secrets that upset you and speak up, someone can help", which Pantosaurus spells out in the video.

Donna-Marie Wright, who has seven children, said: "I think Talk PANTS is a brilliant concept because having been abused myself as a child I wanted to talk to my children about staying safe from sexual abuse, especially the younger ones because they don't really understand."

There were 64,667 sex crimes recorded against children across the UK last year, with 6,613 on four to eight-year-olds, the NSPCC's research found.


ANON Oct 13th, 2018 @ 05:17 PM

Pope defrocks two Chilean bishops over sex abuse crisis…

"Defrocking, officially called "reduced to the lay state", means they have been expelled from the priesthood"

Pope Francis has defrocked two retired Chilean bishops who have been caught up in the country's widening sexual abuse crisis.

The Vatican named the two men as Francisco Jos Cox Huneeus, archbishop emeritus of the city of La Serena, and Marco Antonio Órdenes Fernndez, archbishop emeritus of Iquique.

A Vatican statement in Spanish said the pope's decision was definitive and not open to appeal.

It referred to a part of Canon law related to the crime of sexual abuse of minors.

Defrocking, officially called "reduced to the lay state", means they have been expelled from the priesthood.

It is the harshest punishment the Church can inflict on a member of the clergy and such action has rarely been taken against bishops.

Earlier this month, the religious order to which Cox belongs, the Schoenstatt

Fathers, said the Vatican was investigating an accusation against him relating to the sexual abuse of a minor in Germany in 2004.

Cox, who is believed to have returned to Germany after a period in Chile, could not be reached for comment.

According to Chilean media, Órdenes, who resigned as bishop of Iquique in 2012 while under Vatican investigation, was accused of molesting an altar boy years ago.

He is believed to be living somewhere in Chile. It was not immediately possible to reach him for comment.

Last month Pope Francis defrocked Father Fernando Karadima, an 88-year-old Chilean priest who sexually abused teenage boys over a period of many years and is at the centre of a wider abuse scandal that is still being investigated.

He has also accepted the resignations of seven of the country's 34 serving bishops over their response to abuse allegations against clergy.


ANON Oct 12th, 2018 @ 09:58 AM

Belfast brothers to stand trial over historic sex crimes against boy…

Two brothers from Belfast are to stand trial charged with a catalogue of historic sex crimes against a boy, a judge ordered.

Mark and Gavin Cuthbert appeared together at the Belfast Magistrates Court to face a series of abuse allegations.

They are accused of committing the offences over a period from 1987 to 1994.
Gavin Cuthbert, 48, is charged with eleven counts of gross indecency with or towards a child, ten indecent assaults, and two counts of buggery with a boy aged under 16.

His 53-year-old brother Mark, faces a total of 18 charges, including indecent assaults. gross indecency with a child, and attempted buggery of a boy.

Both defendants addresses were given as Maghaberry Prison.

During the preliminary enquiry hearing they spoke to confirm they understood the allegations against them.

Defence lawyers did not contest prosecution submissions that the pair have a case to answer.

One barrister said: "There's a significant and complex history to the case."

With neither brother calling witnesses or giving evidence at this stage, District Judge Peter King granted an application to have them returned for Crown Court trial

They were remanded back into custody until those proceedings get underway on a date to be set.


ANON Oct 8th, 2018 @ 10:33 AM

Tyrone priest Fr Gerard McAleer steps aside while historical claim is investigated…

A priest has voluntarily stepped aside from his position over a historical claim made against him.

The move comes after concerns were brought to the Archdiocese of Armagh and which are understood to relate to Fr Gerard McAleer, and which have been reported to gardai.

The church said it would not disclose the priest's identity or the parish where he serves. No detail was given about the claim made, but it is understood it relates to a period before the Donaghmore, Tyrone, parish priest was ordained.

Fr McAleer - a former principal of St Patrick's Boys Academy, Dungannon - is a well-known figure in GAA.

He and Mickey Harte guided Tyrone to unprecedented underage GAA success in the 1990s.

When Tyrone won its first All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final in 2003,
Fr McAleer was assistant manager.

Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh, asked for prayers for all concerned, adding that the man accused was entitled to a presumption of innocence.

In a statement the Archdiocese of Armagh said: "In line with the safeguarding policy and the standards and guidance of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland, a parish priest of the archdiocese of Armagh has voluntarily stood aside from his position because of concerns brought to the diocese and reported to the gardai.

"The information received is historic and relates to a time prior to his time in ministry in the archdiocese, and indeed prior to his ordination as a priest.

"The relevant statutory authorities in Northern Ireland have been informed.

"The Archbishop of Armagh has asked for prayers for all concerned while stressing that during the period of the investigation the priest, who has voluntarily stepped aside from all his pastoral duties, continues to be entitled to the natural right of every person to the presumption of innocence pending the completion of all relevant State and Church processes."

The PSNI and Garda did not respond to requests for comment


ANON Oct 8th, 2018 @ 10:31 AM

1/2...Northern Ireland primary school principal kept silent about childrens' abuse fears for years…

A primary school principal in Northern Ireland who did not tell the parents of children in his care that they were claiming to be sexually abused has refused to reveal if he will resign.

Eamonn Magee - head teacher at St Patrick's and St Brigid's in Ballycastle - answered "no comment" when asked by Sunday Life yesterday if he accepted his silence amounted to a cover-up which put other kids at risk.

"I've no comment to make," was all he would say on the doorstep of his Portstewart home.

The 65-year-old also declined to reveal if he intended returning an MBE, awarded to him by the Queen last year for services to education, or if he is going to apologise to the parents of the pupils who were abused.

Mr Magee was heavily criticised in Antrim Crown Court on Thursday during a hearing involving paedophile postman Daniel Hill.

The 68-year-old from Clare Road, Ballycastle, is awaiting sentencing for sexually abusing three girls on dates between 1995 and 2001.

The victims were all pupils at St Patrick's and St Brigid's Primary School.

The court was told that in 2001, a teacher intercepted a hand-written note being passed in class between some girls that said: "I hate Danny Hill; I hate him too; I hate the way he puts his hand down your pants."

The note was given to headteacher Eamonn Magee but he did not show the contents to the parents of the young victims.

The court heard how one of those abused only realised her father had not seen the note halfway through paedophile Hill's trial earlier this year.