Growing Facebook anger at sex offender support

BLOGS and social networking sites have been inundated with angry comments in reaction to the show of support for convicted Kerry sex offender Danny Foley.

A total of 5,150 people have, to date, joined the ‘Shocked by reaction in Listowel’ Facebook page to show their disgust at the actions of the people in the courtroom, including priest Fr Seán Sheehy, who yesterday was forced to withdraw from parish work following the controversy.

A group of about 50 people in the Tralee courtroom shook hands with attacker Danny Foley, while his 24-year-old victim sat nearby and looked on.

Most of those on the Facebook group expressed disgust but not surprise by the actions of the people, particularly Fr Sheehy.

“This is the worst case of tribal, close-minded towns I have ever heard of. Our justice system found him guilty. He should serve his sentence without the support of his town. He is a disgusting man. This is one brave girl. I hope she gets the peace and respect she deserves,” said one member. Another expressed her respect for the bravery of the victim and said “words failed” her in respect of the conduct of Fr Sheehy.

“Have huge respect for the victim, she is very brave but a great role model for standing up for herself in the face of such idiocy. Words fail me to describe the priest and his actions.”

One man on the page said he was not surprised by the actions of the priest.

“As for Fr Sheehy, in these times, what I find saddening is I’m not shocked at a priest standing side up for the perpetrator of a sexual assault,” he said.

These sentiments were echoed by another member of the group who merely posted: “Deeply sad, but not entirely surprising.”

A second Facebook group called ‘Fr Seán Sheehy should resign’ has also been set up with 355 members.

Much of the comments are aimed not only at Fr Sheehy but the Church in general, with several mentions of the Murphy Report into clerical child abuse in Dublin.

“A Catholic priest giving a character witness to a convicted sex offender. Why am I not surprised? I’m appalled, outraged and disgusted but unfortunately, not surprised,” said one poster.

A Facebook group entitled ‘Danny Foley is innocent’ has been shut down.

Discussion forums have also been highlighting the story, with a thread running to a staggering 58 pages.


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