From top: Bill Kenneally; from left: Colin Power, Fianna Fail’s Kieran Hartley, and Jason Clancy
At Buswells Hotel on Molesworth Street, Dublin 2.
Colin Power and Jason Clancy, who were both abused by former basketball coach Bill Kenneally, held a press conference with Kieran Hartley, of Fianna Fail.
And they revealed that it’s their understanding that gardai were aware of Kenneally’s abuse as far back as 1979.
Readers will recall how, in 2016, Kenneally was given a 14-year sentence for sexually abusing ten boys aged between 12 and 16 in Waterford between 1984 and 1987.
Of those ten boys, now men, five have waived their anonymity.
The five include Mr Power and Mr Clancy – who prompted the garda investigation which resulted in Bill Kenneally being jailed when he came forward in 2012.
The survivors of Kenneally’s abuse have repeatedly claimed that certain gardai, the South Eastern Health Board, members of the Catholic Church, certain politicians and certain businessmen knew of the abuse and that it continued despite their knowledge of it.
Bill Kenneally is a cousin of former Fianna Fail TD and minister Brendan Kenneally and he has previously said he knew of the abuse in 2002 – but did nothing.
Mr Power and Mr Clancy – and other survivors of Kenneally’s abuse – have also repeatedly called for a Commission of Inquiry – which the Department of Justice announced would take place on May 30, 2017 – to no longer be delayed.
Last month, the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan released a statement saying that, on foot of legal advice from the Attorney General, the commission cannot get underway as criminal investigations are ongoing.
In an interview with Sean O’Rourke on RTE Radio One, the mens’ lawyer Darragh Mackin, of KRW Law in Belfast,rejected Mr Flanagan’s assertion that a Commission of Inquiry cannot run parallel to a criminal investigation, pointing out that the Leveson Inquiry, the Hillsborough Inquiry and the Grenfell Inquiry have occurred while a criminal investigation was/is ongoing.
He also said that the Government has not made it clear what could be prejudicial.
Mr Clancy said:
“It has been confirmed that in 1979, a young boy was brought into the Garda station and he was actually questioned about what he knew about Bill Kenneally.
“Again, in the mid-1980s, one of the victims who actually waived his anonymity, he himself was warned by two gardai to stay away from Bill Kenneally because he was a paedophile.
“In 1987, two victims were actually receiving counselling from the South Eastern Health Board, from a psychiatrist with the South Eastern Health Board while at the same time, we were still being abused.
“But more shocking, I think, than ever, what we have now, what has now come to light is that, in July 1987, in Waterford City, a young boy was murdered. We now have confirmation that Bill Kenneally was brought in for questioning in relation to that murder in July in 1987.
“We have archived footage from RTE in relation to the investigation. Now, retired Chief Supt Sean Cashman headed up that investigation into the murder of that young boy. We also have RTE footage of Prime Time of Mr Cashman’s interview in May 2016 and Mr Cashman confirmed that the first time he ever heard about Bill Kenneally was in November 1987, five months later. In November 1987, when a parent came to make a complaint regarding their son who had been abused by Bill Kenneally.
“So we now have on record and we can show that the gardai were aware of Bill Kenneally, we can confirm that they have been lying, we can confirm that the first time that we know that the gardai were aware of Bill Kenneally’s activities was, in actual fact, 1979.
“The murder of that young boy – Bill Kenneally, as I said, was questioned regarding that murder. So the gardai were aware of Bill Kenneally’s activities. It’s also very important to note that Bill Kenneally is arguably one of the biggest paedophiles in the history of the State as a result of all the abuse that he carried out on young boys in Waterford City and beyond.
“1979 we know the gardai were aware of him. So Bill Kenneally became the biggest paedophile in the history of the State because he was allowed to continue doing what he was doing to young boys and that’s the problem that we have.
“We have been campaigning for two years, two years we’ve been campaigning for a Commission of Investigation.
“We know that the South Eastern Health Board, at board level, in 1987, at board level, in the South Eastern Health Board, we know for a fact that they, at least one board member, maybe two, but certainly one was aware that Bill Kenneally was a paedophile.
“Bill Kenneally carried on his basketball, became a national basketball manager and he continued on in basketball up to 2013, sorry 2012 – when I came forward and made my complaint.”
Mr Power told the journalists in attendance that Mr Flanagan has said that he knows the men’s story but Mr Power pointed out that the minister has never met with the men.
At the same press conference, Mr Hartley, of Fianna Fail, called on Brendan Kenneally to be immediately expelled from the party.
And he called on Fianna Fail leader Michael Martin to explain what he knew of the abuse, when he found out about and how he found out about it…
— Saoirse McGarrigle (@mcgarrigle1) February 20, 2018
From yesterday’s press conference…
My name is Kieran Hartley, I’m a member of the Fianna Fail party. I was one of the party’s candidates in the 2014 European elections for the Ireland South constituency.
I became involved in this matter, not just as a result of the extensive coverage of the abuse that these young men have suffered at the hands of convicted child abuser Bill Kenneally but also following numerous meetings with both Jason and Colin beside me.
These presented to me an extensive dossier of the facts in this case. The facts which not only reveal a shocking litany of abuse but also, I believe, a comprehensive account of substantial and systematic cover-up of what happened by the State, clergy and the political parties.
In effect, a horrifying scandal was revealed to me. Having read the dossier which spanned over 30 years and in light of new evidence and in my belief, I now call upon Minister Charlie Flanagan to no longer delay the setting up of an inquiry with immediate effect.
I believe this is now a matter of public interest .
This is a matter of the gravest public concern and if the very serious accusations which have now come to light are true then perhaps we need to go beyond a commission of inquiry and institute a criminal investigation by An Garda Siochana.
The new alleged information, evidence, collusion between various arms of the State and the clergy means that a criminal investigation must also run in tandem with a commission of inquiry.
The actions that, I believe, need to be taken are: firstly, Brendan Kenneally’s failure, as a former minister and TD, to report key information on this abuse to relevant authorities , i.e. Garda Siochana, have brought the party into disrepute.
Brendan Kenneally has confirmed he was aware of the abuse in 2002 when Fianna Fail were in Government. He was a sitting TD. He effectively did not report to An Garda Siochana and, effectively, did nothing.
Therefore he is not fit to be a member of a political party.
I am now calling an Uachtarain of Fianna Fail Micheal Martin to expel Brendan Kenneally immediately from the party.
I also believe the time has now come for Uachtarain of Fianna Fail Micheal Martin to say, as a matter of public record, firstly, when he became aware of the abuse, how he was informed about the abuse and by whom he was informed about the abuse.
I believe this information needs to be put on the public record prior to any Commission of Investigation commencing.
Pic: Juliette Gash
Previously: Bill Kenneally on Broadsheet