A family living at a Cork City halting site has distanced themselves unequivocally from a man recently jailed for sex offences and who gave the site as his address.
Last week, Tadhg Hopkins, 40, was jailed at Cork District Court for 10 months, in relation to an incident at Scoil Mhuire, on Sidney Place, Wellington Rd.
On June 6 last, it was alleged Hopkins entered the girls school on Wellington Road, went into a lift, where he spoke to students in a sexual and suggestive way, before then going into the ladies’ toilet, where a Leaving Cert student had opened the cubicle to be confronted by the accused, who had his trousers open.
In court, his address was given as the halting site, Nash’s Boreen, Fairhill, but yesterday, in a statement facilitated by the Traveller Visibility Group, local man, Martin McDonagh, said this was not the case.
In the statement, the McDonagh family expressed “our shock and our distress at the news of the incident that took place at Scoil Mhuire, on June 6, for which Mr Tadgh Hopkins was arrested and convicted.”
The statement continued: “We would like to outline that Mr Tadgh Hopkins had no connection with the McDonagh family, nor Nash’s Boreen halting site, other than the fact that we occasionally helped this man who was homeless. We had no knowledge of his background or previous convictions and if we had known what he was capable of, we would not have intertwined with him.
“I, Martin McDonagh, am a family man myself and have grandchildren, boys and girls, living on Nash’s Boreen and would not have liked anything of that nature to happen to them or anyone else’s child.”
He also apologised to the local people of Nash’s Boreen for the upset and misunderstanding.