Threatening email saw candidate pull out of race for top scout role

A former candidate for the top position within Irish Scouting has revealed that he pulled out of the running after receiving an email that made insinuations about his suitability and professional life. Kiernan Gildea, who is gay, had withdrawn from the election for Chief Scout on the eve of Scouting Ireland’s National Council last April.

Threatening email saw candidate pull out of race for top scout role

Yesterday Mr Gildea — who is director of operations and corporate services at the Adoption Authority of Ireland, revealed he received the anonymous email the day before the National Council meeting.

He told The Irish Scouter website that he has kept his sexuality ‘low key’ and has struggled with depression since the death of a scout on a trip to Kenya in 1997.

Mr Gildea said that the email caused “a physical and mental breakdown”.

“All the years of repressed fear around being gay alongside a deep sense of guilt and responsibility for what happened in Kenya flooded over me. The message triggered a flood of bad feelings about myself and convinced me that I was letting everyone in my life down in the most hurtful way and that the principles that I strive to live by were all a lie,” he said.

“Insinuations and threats were made in the email, which put into question my suitability to be an adult in Scouting. There was even a reference to my professional life.

“I had no time to think straight — I had collapsed — and it was only a few hours to voting,” he said.

Mr Gildea said that he brought the contents of the email to the attention of relevant people in Scouting Ireland, his boss at the Adoption Authority of Ireland, and to his family and close friends.

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