You may recall a recent report by Saoirse McGarrigle in The Irish Mirror about how a member of Fianna Fáil claims the party held secret meetings to discuss how it could “contain” the story of Bill Kenneally and his abuse of young boys in Waterford.
Ms McGarrigle reported last week:
The whistleblower said that secret meetings began in 2013 when a criminal investigation began after a number of victims came forward.
“They met under the guise of discussing another problem, but they were actually there to discuss containing the story.”
Readers will recall how Kenneally was convicted and sentenced to 14 years last February, for abusing 10 boys in the 1980s, after victim Jason Clancy came forward. But certain Gardaí knew about the abuse as far back as 1985.
Readers will also recall how Kenneally’s uncle was the late Fianna Fáil TD Billy Kenneally, who died in 2009 and who was succeeded by his son Brendan Kenneally.
Brendan Kenneally was told about the abuse by a Waterford woman in 2002 but he didn’t tell gardai. Instead, he spoke to another uncle and local priest – and former chairman of the board of management at Holy Cross National School in Tramore, Co Waterford – Monsignor John Shine – and arranged counselling for Bill Kenneally.
Monsignor Shine died on Saturday, February 18.
Last month the then Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald appointed retired judge Barry Hickson to chair a Commission of Investigation into the matter.
Further to the report in The Irish Mirror, the survivors of abuse at the hands of Kenneally have this afternoon released the following statement via KRW Law:
“We are aware of the recent media reports that have expressly commented on the allegations of a whistleblower in relation to the abuse by Bill Kenneally, and the subsequent failure to investigate allegations.
“We have conducted our own enquiries in respect of this whistleblower’s evidence and are satisfied that it raises real issues of concern, which will in due course, need to be fully investigated.
“We proposed to place all relevant evidence before the pending inquiry with a view to the issues raised becoming part of the live investigation.
“Such allegations are extremely serious and must be fully investigated so as to assuage both our clients’ concerns and those of the wide community.”