Donegal church sex abuse victim calls for State inquiry

A sex abuse survivor has today demanded a full State inquiry into an alleged cover-up of a church paedophile ring in Co Donegal.

John O'Donnell, 55, from Falcarragh, denounced the church's own internal report into abuse as "too little, too late".

Confronting Bishop of Raphoe Philip Boyce during today's launch of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church report, he said it offered no comfort whatsoever to victims.

"I want to see a full State inquiry," he said. "What has happened is not good enough."

Mr O'Donnell said he was abused by a lay member of a church choir between 1965 and 1972 and was targeted because he was adopted and thought of as lower than other children in west Donegal.

When he complained at a Garda station in 1973 about being raped by the man, who has since died, he said he was slapped and slung out.

Many years later he approached a parish priest but was again turned away.

"I wanted an apology from him, he didn't give it to me," he said.

"I asked the priest seven times for it. I told him I was suicidal. But they didn't want to know.

"I feel very disappointed in the church."

Mr O'Donnell said his life has been ruined by 32 years of drinking while his marriage was also wrecked by the scars of his abuse.

After setting up a website for other survivors, he said many have contacted him and more allegations will surface in future.

But he said there were others whose lives were destroyed through addictions, had taken their own lives or emigrated.

"The graveyards are full of people," he said.

"And what about the people that have left Falcarragh, left Gweedore, never to come back to Ireland because they couldn't face coming back to Ireland."

Mr O'Donnell said he complained again to gardaí in 2005 about his abuser.

When he informed them about another person who was also targeted by his abuser, he was told the victim was in a mental home and his evidence would not stand up in court, he said.

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