Drama based on Listowel sex attack case ‘dark tale of small-town solidarity’

A CONTROVERSIAL drama based on shocking scenes in a Kerry court last December, when 50 people lined up to shake hands with convicted sex attacker Danny Foley yards away from his victim, is to premiere at an arts festival next week.

Listowel Syndrome, an abstract dance piece “inspired” by the incident at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court, will be shown at the ABSOLUT Dublin Fringe Festival between September 17 and 20.

Festival organisers stress that the performance is an interpretation of the scandal and should not be seen as an exact step-by-step account of what happened.

The play’s choreographer, Emma Martin, said the work examines “a dark tale of small-town solidarity” where “majority rules and a close-knit community turns on one of its own”.

Danny Foley of Meen, Listowel, was convicted of aggravated sexual assault and sentenced to seven years’ jail for an attack on a young woman in the town on the night of June 15, 2008. The 22-year-old victim was found heavily bruised, scratched and semi-naked with her jeans and underwear removed, beside a skip in a car park, with Foley standing over her.

CCTV footage detailed in court showed the 35-year-old had carried his victim to the area.

Listowel mayor Tony Curtin declined to comment when contacted by the Irish Examiner but earlier told local reporters the theatre performance was “cynical”, claiming the play and not the act itself risked damaging the area’s reputation.


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