“She’s The Mother Of A Young Child As Well…That Doesn’t Look Great.”



Listowel man Danny Foley (above) awaits release from prison after a five-year sentence for sexually assaulting a young woman in 2008.

You may recall news reports at the time of how up to 50 supporters queued in single file to shake the offender’s hand in Tralee court.

The priest who gave a character witness for the convicted man, Father Sean Sheehy (top) maintains his belief in Foley’s innocence and reckons the jury delivered the wrong verdict.

He is reported as saying of the victim:

I don’t want to make any judgment on her at all, but obviously the whole situation must have been embarrassing, for the police to happen upon them and what-not. She’s the mother of a young child as well and, you know, that in itself doesn’t look great.”


Fr Sheehy said Foley remains unrepentant and is planning to volunteer for the Samaritans on release having completed a course while in Arbour Hill.

Man in Listowel sex assault case due for release (Catherine Shanahan, Irish Examiner)

Pics: IrishCentral

99 thoughts on ““She’s The Mother Of A Young Child As Well…That Doesn’t Look Great.”

  1. cluster

    I thought there was a video of the incident?

    It isn’t like the Church to make excuses for a sex offender. Ahem

      1. Daz

        Of course it wasn’t what it looked like. Poor fellow, what was he supposed to think when she collapsed in front of him? Any real gombeen man would know it was a come on, her being a single mother and all!

  2. Sam

    … whereas for a 39 year old to be shagging someone who is drunk, 15 years younger than him, in public (with or without consent) and cheating on his girlfriend… that doesn’t look like poor character to a catholic priest?

    Oh, but an unmarried mother… terrible… shur… you couldn’t shake hands with one of them.

      1. Sam

        I’m not saying that she did. The priest is the one implying that.
        I’m saying that even if one were to share his delusion of ‘innocent encounter’, the notion that a 39 year old man bringing a 24 year old woman behind a skip for a drunken shag, only looks bad for the woman… is a _tad_ illogical, althought not altogether inconsistent with some catholic thinking.

        The fact that it’s rape is obviously the big issue, but the padre is living in denial on the main issue.

        1. Pidgeon

          I know – just wanted to clarify. That he can think like this is the most un-Godly thing, though I shouldn’t be surprised. He would have had her off to the laundries back in the good ol days

          1. Sam

            There’s the whiff of that off him alright.
            Trouble-making women and their vaginas…
            Perhaps the type of priest who has read Deuteronomy 22:28-29 a few too many times.

            If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her.

            If you hold by that, then only a fine, rather than a prison sentence was warranted, plus, The priest gets to officiate at the forced wedding of the rapist and victim.

  3. Steve

    You’re a representative of a misogynistic organisation who deliberately and systemically aided and abetted child abusers and, you know, that in itself doesn’t look great.

    1. Goosey Lucy

      Ditto to Steve. This story has me livid ,as it did 5 years ago. Makes me consider Tralee to be a scary, backward place. What a terrible indictment of a town.
      My best wishes to that girl, I can’t imagine life has been easy for her or her family living in a community like that.

          1. cluster

            Harsh, painting 145,000 people on the basis of 50 of them. Then again, there is the Healey-Ray business.

            Figuring out how the Rose of Tralee fits into all this is too much for a Monday.

        1. Goosey Lucy

          Whoops. My bad. Always thought it was Tralee. I retract that, however it still stands for Listowel then. A community rallying around a rapist. Sickening.

    2. John

      Indeed, yet countless people across Ireland voted with their feet by getting married and Christening their children within this institution. We do not care about women or children in this country.

      1. cluster

        Don’t be so simplistic.

        My parents are still religious. Although they were both always sceptical of the clergy, they see the Church as a religious institution let down by the failings of humans. I happen to disagree with their reading but they both care about women and children.

      2. BravoovarB

        Many people who still baptize their children do so by their parents wishes or because baptized children get pushed up on the wait list when it comes to getting them into school.

        1. Kevin


          Although an atheist on the census form, my kids are baptised because of schooling options in our locality.

          1. postmanpat

            Thats not the full story and you know it! Spouse/Partner, Spouse/Partners family, Your family? These didnt influence your decision no. F**K off coward. good luck with the communion , Im sure your kid will look fantasic on the big day.

          2. Kevin


            Nope, we’re both atheists according to our census forms, and our own beliefs, and neither of our families are particularly religious, nor would their opinions have been decisive.

            There is a gaelscoil near me, and I would like my children to attend. They are, as their own website says, proud of their Catholic tradition. Failing that, there are two other respected schools nearby, one CoI, the other Catholic. Having our kids baptised can’t hurt their chances of admission, and will in all likelihood help. So we did it.

            Pretty much a no-brainer, really. My disagreements with religion, the church, etc., are my own; expecting my children to make sacrifices so that I can make some sort of point is nonsensical.


    F**k everything about this. In small town Ireland, it’s not what you do, it’s who you know and what they think of ye.

    F**K THIS

  5. Adam Brennan

    Fr. Sheehy wouldn’t go on to Kerry Today with Jerry O’Sullivan to discuss his quote. It’s quite disappointing.

    Danny Foley still doesn’t take responsibility for what he did. He can do all the Samaritan programs that he wants, he’s still scum that assaulted an unconscious woman.

    1. Pidgeon

      Horrible to think he could end up talking to someone who has been raped. Would Samaritans even take him because of his conviction?

        1. Pidgeon

          I would have thought they have background checks at the very least given they work with such vulnerable people.

          Good idea though.

          1. Tone

            Probably best not to tie up the Samaritans line, or the time of the people answering emails, since they do have a vetting procedure that will ensure this person won’t be working for them.

      1. Cara

        The Samaritans would definitely not take him as a volunteer. Because of his conviction, he would be ineligible to be a volunteer – that’s not the case for all convictions, but they don’t take anyone who has done anything serious against another person. The training they give in prisons is for those in prison only.

    2. Sam

      Can you imagine some woman ringing the samaritans, because she’s traumatised by a sexual assault, and she might be put through to this fella?
      Neither the rapist nor that priest should ever be advising anyone on anything other than perhaps in response to ‘do you have the correct time?’.

  6. seriously sam

    Would 50 readers here would boycott listowell as a result of this?

    Can’t put words on how angry this case made me when I read about it at the time. Same feelings now. Sadly nothing has changed in this country, nor probably ever will.

    1. seriously sam

      Actually, would be a hell of a lot better if 50 people contacted the Samaritans and asked that they do not hire this sex offender to be put in contact with vulnerable folks who ring for help.

      1. Daisy Chainsaw

        He’d surely fail the vetting process because he’s a convicted sex offender – an unrepentant one at that.

        I can’t imagine having the likes of Danny Foley at the end of a phone would encourage many people (especially women) to ring.

        1. Pidgeon

          Just checked – they do, of course, ask about criminal records. So hopefully, they tell him to taking his shite somewhere else

    2. SOMK

      Why not 50 people go down to the next mass that prick is giving, chant “shame” throughout? Send a message.

  7. John

    This absolutely sickens me to the core. All those fu(king fools out yesterday supporting a greedy stud farmer and no one will protest against this. Ugh, this country just depresses me.

    1. cluster

      Remember, stupid opinions and nasty attitudes of these ‘friends of the family aside, this man was charged, convicted and jailed.

  8. Daisy Chainsaw

    I will. I’m planning to head Wesht on holiday and was looking at a few places to stay over the course of a fortnight or so. Listowel is DEFINITELY off the list. Doesn’t look like a safe place for a woman on her own.

    I know I’m not some unmarried wan with a babby who, even though she was out of it probably wanted it*, but still.

    *Sarcastic tone implied.

    1. GreeneyEyes

      Why avoid Listowel? It’s a lovely place and in terms of “female safety” it’s pretty much on par with any other town in Ireland.

      1. Daisy Chainsaw

        I’d avoid it because:
        1. I wouldn’t feel safe knowing there’s at least 50 men there who don’t believe what Foley did was wrong.

        2. I don’t want to inadvertantly support any of those 50 toerags who shook his hand, so the place is best avoided.

        1. GreeneyEyes

          And how do you know that the 50 were from Listowel? The priest wasn’t native to the area, so now we’re down to 49. They weren’t all men. Women too.

  9. Sidewinder

    Ah the Catholic Church.

    Women can’t get raped, can’t have abortions and can’t be mothers without being considered terrible people who brought it all on themselves.

    How about ye go f**k yourselves?
    So glad I left this institution before they decided not to let people leave.

  10. Anton

    I was in Listowel recently. It has the look of a place where nobody cares, shabby, littered and obese slobs wandering about.

        1. CousinJack

          Not sure if any dub from Darndale to DunLaoghaire would want to shake the hand of a convicted rapist.

          The great advantage of living as a Jackeen is that petty bigots can not dictate your morality to you.

    1. Kdoc

      I suppose their Writers’ Week gives the joint a veneer of respectability – but it’s still clearly a place for backwoodsmen.

  11. Black & White

    Samaritans do require a Garda check and more importantly do screen all applicants for suitability. They are looking for people who can show empathy for those in distress or dispair. In my opinion, and I’m involved with Sams, there is no way this person would be accepted for training.

    If anyone is genuinely interested in being a Samaritans volunteer, most branches will be taking in new applicants in the next few weeks. See your local papers etc for details.

  12. Clampers Outside!

    The more I read what that excuse of a man, the priest said, the more infuriating it is. A dinosaur, a backward f*cking moron who gets to voice an opinion or comment on this… for why?
    Again, he’s a scumbag.

  13. cia\ran

    All those friends of the rapist are accessories after the fact. I hope karma catches up with all of them.

  14. jimbo

    The class issue here is being ignored.

    This thug comes from a so called “respectable family” from “the country” while the victim comes from a council estate in the centre of the town, her family are not considered “respectable”. To hear the attitudes in Listowel around this case- it is truly sickening – the sympathy still lies with the attacker. If this young woman was from a “respectable family” from a “respectable” part of town I guarantee you there would have been little or no support for Foley.

    There is obviously more to this than class but it is important here.

  15. Kdoc

    It would be funny if it wasn’t so serious: a representative of an organisation that facilitated and concealed the rape of children casting aspersions on a young mother. No point in asking if he is not ashamed of himself. These guys don’t do shame.

  16. misterboyle

    Not to take away from the seriously of this, but I”m amazed that he did the full 5 years the way the Irish justice system is nowadays

  17. GreeneyEyes

    As a person from Listowel myself, this case in NO WAY reflects the people of the town. What happened to the woman in question was horrible, there is no denying that. He was caught in the act, so protesting his innocence was a waste of time.

    Those 50 or so people who shook his hand do not reflect the townspeople. Everyone I know of was disgusted by his actions. This case became a “Fawlty Towers” case, in my opinion, due to the stupidity of the priest in question. How many people have been released from jail last month who had committed sexual offenses, and not a word was written about them?

    The priest in question refused to go on Radio Kerry this morning to discuss the issue. That says it all.

    With respect to the woman involved, people should avoid making cheap jokes or speculating. This could have happened anywhere in Ireland, so I can’t understand why people would avoid/boycott Listowel. It’s a fantastic town that has been badly highlighted by an idiot priest.

    1. cluster

      I sort of agree with you, GreeneyEyes.

      Wikipedia tells me that the town and environs has 5000 people so those 50 are about 1% of the population.

      Has there been any sort of backlash against them though for their support of rape? Parishioners refusing to go to mass given by that priest?

        1. GreeneyEyes

          I’m sure she recieved all the help and support from her family, friends and support groups that she needed during that very difficult time. And during this difficult time too.

      1. GreeneyEyes

        To be completely honest with you, I know of no one who who shook his hand. Anything I heard to do with that incident was met with disgust by Listowel people. The 50 probably weren’t even all from the town themselves. As for the priest? He’s not the parish priest, and wasn’t (as far as I’m aware) involved in the Listowel parish at the time. I could be wrong on that one though (completely atheist)

        1. Pedanto

          It was a pretty significant show of support for the rapist. Was there any balancing show of support for the victim? It seems the least a town could organise.

        2. ArtVandelay

          Can you shed any light of the treatment of the victim as a result of this guy? I am hearing reports that apart from an isolated 50 people, she has been systematically shunned in the town. That suggests the attitude of the 50 people prevails in the town. Is that incorrect?

  18. Cms

    He has a Facebook page so I have just sent him (Sheehy) a message telling him directly what I think of these reports about him.

  19. Con O Sullivan

    The Poor Lady has stated that the Canon in the town called to her and offered his full support. Foley lived a few miles out from the toen and Fr Sheehy had nothing to do with Listowel Parish. Bishop Murphy ordered Sheehy to resign from his position as Parish Priest of Castlegregory. I do not even live in Kerry but I visited friends in the town and those people and their neighbours fully support the girl concerned and have told the lady that themselves. As for those ignorant people hurling abuse at the people of Listowel especially those from Dublin maybe they should remember the rich monster Anthony Lyons from Griffith Ave who got six months for sexuelly abusing a young lady outside his house. There are Rapists and abusers of all religion and none , from every county and city, so people who live in glasses should not throw stones. I wish the lady every happiness and I know she has very good friends and family who love her very much

    1. Boredwithbeingbored

      I don’t remember people lining up to shake Lyons’ hand after he was convicted or any priest in Griffith Ave casting aspersions on his victim.

      But apart from that the cases are identical in every detail.

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