Minister ponders claims top gardaí covered up abuse

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald held meetings this week to discuss allegations that senior gardaí covered up claims of sex abuse in Waterford.

Minister ponders claims top gardaí covered up abuse

Labour leader Brendan Howlin confirmed that he handed over a comprehensive document compiled by one of Bill Kenneally’s victims detailing a “litany of concerns around the handling of the investigation”.

“There is going to have to be an investigation of some kind and the victims must be at the heart of it,” Mr Howlin told the Irish Examiner.

The matter has been referred to Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan by Ms Fitzgerald, who has “in the first place, sought the views of the Garda Commissioner on the issues raised”.

Mr Howlin said he had met with a victim and “believed that there are many issues that must be explored”.

He said: “I met with the Tánaiste on Tuesday night briefly in the Dáil, then I met with her again at lunchtime on Wednesday. I sat down with Frances and went through it and she accepts the significance of the situation.”

He added that he expects to speak with Ms Fitzgerald again next week and hopes to meet with her and the victims to discuss the parameters of the inquiry.

Victim Paul Walsh, 45, says he is “very eager” to ensure that all victims are given the opportunity to “tell their story”.

He was abused for a number of years and waived his anonymity after the trial in February of this year when Kenneally was jailed for 14 years for abusing 10 boys in the 1980s.

Mr Walsh is one of five abuse victims who wrote to Ms Fitzgerald last month through their lawyer Darragh Mackin seeking a Commission of Investigation.

They claim senior gardaí, members of the South East Health Board, members of Fianna Fáil, and members of the Catholic Church were aware of the abuse and “turned a blind eye”.

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