A Dalkey Archive



Cynthia Owen

Cynthia Owen recently used Facebook to name the people she said were among a paedophile ring operating in Dalkey, Co. Dublin, that abused her in the 1970s.

In 2007, the then Justice Minister Michael McDowell appointed Patrick Gageby SC to review the Garda investigation into the death of Cynthia’s daughter Noeleen Murphy, whom Cynthia gave birth to when she was just 11, in 1973.

Mr Gageby, who was to see if the public interest required the matter to be taken further, found this not to be the case.

A recent Independent Review Panel, set up by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald to look into allegations of Garda misconduct (following allegations made by Sergeant Maurice McCabe and former Garda whistleblower John Wilson), looked into the Gageby Review and concluded that they agreed with Mr Gageby’s findings.

A vigil was held at the weekend outside Leinster House in memory of Cynthia’s daughter.

Below is a timeline of significant events in Cynthia’s story to date and below Cynthia writes about her fight for justice.

1961: Cynthia Owen (nee Murphy) is born to Peter Murphy and Josephine (“Josie”) Murphy. The family reside at 4 White’s Villas, Dalkey. He is a familiar figure in the pubs around Dalkey and, in later years, he would become the caretaker of the Town Hall in Dalkey.

1968-9: From the age of 7, Cynthia is anally and vaginally raped by Peter Murphy. She is also abused by her mother, Josie Murphy, various members of her extended family and by a man who visits the family home and rapes her with the consent of her parents in return for payment. This man, known as Ken, would later form part of the paedophile ring that abused her.

1971: A 10-year-old Cynthia is taken by her mother at night to a house, near her home where she is raped by a number of local men with the consent of her mother. The next day Cynthia is sent around to the businesses of some of the men concerned to collect items and money. The rape in the house recurs on a monthly basis and continues after Cynthia gets her first period at the age of 10. She also continues to be abused by her father and other family members.

1972: Shortly after her 11th birthday, Cynthia experiences the first symptoms of pregnancy. She is informed by her mother that she is having a baby and that this must be kept secret. On her mother’s instructions, Cynthia continues to attend school throughout her pregnancy, concealing her figure under a coat worn at all times. Mother Dorothy, the school headmistress, accosts her and asks if she is pregnant, but Cynthia, who does not fully understand the word ‘pregnant,’ denies this. In response, Mother Dorothy makes Cynthia sit with her back to the class.

April 1973: Cynthia gives birth to a baby girl, Noleen Murphy, at White’s Villas. Immediately after her birth, Noeleen is stabbed to death by Josie Murphy using a knitting needle. In the early hours of the morning, two of the men from the paedophile ring, one of them a Garda, are waiting in the garden to enter the family  home to help clean up the scene.

Josie sets off with Cynthia on foot to Dun Laoghaire to dispose of Noleen’s body. On the way, they meet two members of the Gardaí who question them but accept Josie’s statement that they are on the way home from visiting relatives.

Noleen’s body is found that evening by two local boys in Lee’s Lane, Dun Laoghaire, where she had been left by Josie and Cynthia. The Garda spend just six weeks on the murder case, and then downgrade it to infanticide. Neither Cynthia nor her family are ever interviewed as part of this investigation. An inquest into Noleen’s death is postponed indefinitely, and she is buried in a communal grave in the Holy Angels plot in Glasnevin Cemetery. The abuse of Cynthia by family members and local men continues as before.

1976: Cynthia becomes pregnant for the second time and leaves school. In June, she gives birth prematurely to a stillborn boy, John Murphy, and her family bury his body in the back garden of 4 White’s Villas.

1981: Cynthia marries and leaves home.

1982: Cynthia’s younger brother, Martin Murphy, makes his first suicide attempt and is admitted to hospital.

1990: Cynthia, living in England and in a new relationship, attends counselling to deal with recurring anxiety arising from her childhood experiences.

Cynthia receives a visit from her niece Theresa Murphy, daughter of her older sister Margaret Stokes but brought up as the child of Peter and Josie Murphy, who tells her that she and her brother were repeatedly abused by Peter Murphy as children.

April 1994: Cynthia makes a statement to the North Yorkshire Police about her childhood abuse.

January 1995: Martin Murphy dies by suicide at 4 White’s Villas.

April 1995: Cynthia contacts Dun Laoghaire Garda Station and makes a full statement about the circumstances of Noeleen’s death. The investigation is re-opened, but Peter and Josie Murphy, when arrested and questioned, deny Cynthia was ever pregnant.

June 2002: Another younger brother of Cynthia, Michael Murphy, goes missing. He had been suffering from depression prior to his disappearance.

April 7, 2003: Carol Coulter, in The Irish Times, reported:

“Miscarriages of justice can and do occur with sexual offences, according to a leading senior counsel. Mr Patrick Gageby SC told a conference there was a particular danger of this happening when the case relates to old offences. In more recent cases there was usually forensic evidence which could be of help to the accused as well as to the prosecution. But this did not exist with old cases. Mr Gageby said there was also a subversion of the presumption of innocence with old cases. People asked why a person would “say such a thing” if the offence had not happened. It was important that old cases be carefully investigated, and that collateral matters be examined. Giving an example from his own defence experience, he said he had a case where the victim described being abused in a neighbour’s house, and had a vivid memory of a floral-covered couch in the room. It emerged on investigation this couch was in his own home, not the neighbour’s. He warned that cases up to 40 or 50 years old might be given a credence they did not deserve. Judges should give carefully worded warnings to juries when they were summing up old cases. Proper and full disclosure was vital, he said. The gardai were not there primarily to help the victim, but to assist in the administration of justice.”

February 1, 2005: Michael Murphy’s remains are found by builders near Killiney Dart station, close to the Killiney Court Hotel where he was last seen. An earlier Garda search in the area had failed to uncover his body. An inquest into his death returns an open verdict due to a lack of evidence. It is read into the record at the inquest that Michael was an abuse victim.

February 23, 2005: Theresa Murphy dies by suicide. She leaves behind a 37-page document containing graphic accounts of sexual abuse at 4 White’s Villas. An inquest into her death, finds that it was contributed to by sexual abuse by unnamed family members.

May 30, 2005: At the National Prosecutors Converence Senior Counsel Patrick Gageby – a Senior Counsel with a long history of representing defendants in sexual offence cases – suggests a limit of 15 years on criminal proceedings taken against those accused of sexual abuse, saying that the media is “wholly uncritical” of the redress and compensation system for victims of institutional abuse with almost “uncritical” acceptance of everything an alleged victim says.

May 30, 2005: Carol Coulter, in The Irish Times, reports that “leading defence counsel” Patrick Gageby SC was calling for a limit on the time allowed to elapse between an alleged sex crime and the prosecution of the suspect as there was a danger the accused could not receive a fair trial.

June 2005: The garden at White’s Villas, no longer occupied by the Murphys, is excavated by Gardaí but the remains of Cynthia’s stillborn son John Murphy are not found.

September 2005: Following representations from Cynthia’s solicitors,the inquest into Noeleen Murphy’s death is re-opened. It had taken Cynthia and her legal team eight years to get the inquest re-opened.

June 2006: The Director of Public Prosecutions states that he does not intend to take any criminal proceedings in respect of the death of Noeleen Murphy.

June 2006: Dublin City Coroner Kieran Geraghty, presiding over the re-opened inquest into Noeleen’s death, writes to the Minister for Justice Michael McDowell requesting the exhumation of her body. Following receipt of strong objections from the Dublin Cemeteries Committee, the voluntary, independent body that owns and operates Glasnevin cemetery, McDowell turns down the request saying that he “cannot stand over an exhumation project which would cause such extensive distress and face such an uncertain outcome.”

August 2006: Josie Murphy dies.

February 2007: At the inquest into Noleen’s death, contemporaries of Cynthia Owen give evidence that she had been visibly pregnant in school at the age of 11. Cynthia and her sister Frances Murphy give evidence of persistent and repeated sexual abuse by family members including their brother Peter Murphy Junior, who waives anonymity to deny the allegations against him.

Two other sisters, Catherine Stevenson and Esther Roberts, admit sexual abuse by family members.

Margaret Stokes, mother of Theresa Murphy, denies ever having been abused but admitted that she once suffered a miscarriage in White’s Villas which her mother flushed down the toilet when she was 13 years old.

In a statement provided for the purposes of the inquest, but not made public by the Coroner, Cynthia Owen lists the men alleged to have been part of the group which had abused her, seven of whom are still alive and live in Dublin, and which include three members of the Gardaí.

The inquest also hears evidence regarding the original 1973 investigation. The jury are told that the investigation lasted a mere six weeks; that no blood samples were taken from Noleen’s body; that several items are missing, along with the plastic bag in which she had been found and its contents, from which no forensic samples had been taken. Half the investigation file has disappeared. In the remaining file is a written statement purportedly executed by Eddie Russell, former Dun Laoghaire station sergeant, confirming sight of Noleen’s body, which Mr Russell denies having executed, disputing its accuracy. No attempt is made by Counsel for An Garda Síochána to challenge Mr Russell’s denial.

February 17, 2007: The jury at the inquest into the death of Noeleen Murphy unanimously find that she was the child of Cynthia Owen; that she died at the family’s former home in White’s Villas in Dalkey; and that her cause of death was haemorrhage due to stab wounds. Having been told by the Coroner that they cannot return a verdict of unlawful killing as it would “implicate people” in criminal activity, which is outside the remit of an inquest, they return an open verdict in relation to the cause of death.

February 19, 2007: Responding to the inquest verdict, Michael McDowell states that he wants a full report from An Garda Síochána into its handling of the investigation into the death of Noeleen Murphy

February 19, 2007: Alan Shatter, solicitor and politician, recommends a full review of the Garda investigation. Mr Shatter raises once again the possibility of exhumation, stating that “DNA fingerprinting has reached a level of sophistication where, if the Government and An Garda Síochána were prepared to meet the cost of this, there’s a real possibility that the remains of this child be distinguishable from other remains… and might provide very cogent and important evidence, which I think would give rise to the possibility of a future criminal prosecution.”

February 25, 2007:
In an article published in the Sunday Tribune, journalist Justine McCarthy states that one garda, who worked on the investigation and who took statements from witnesses, was known to be a friend of Cynthia’s father. She also stated that another journalist, Brigid McLaughlin, who had written about Cynthia’s case, had been told by a member of the Dalkey rowing club that she would ‘end up in the sea’ if she continued to do so.

February 26, 2007: Michael McDowell announces that he has appointed Patrick Gageby SC – a Senior Counsel specialising in sexual offence cases – to review Noeleen’s death “on the basis of all the available papers on what is known in relation to the case and the garda investigation to see if the public interest requires the matter to be taken further.”

May 14, 2007: Peter Murphy and his daughters Esther, Margaret and Catherine issue judicial review proceedings in the High Court challenging the inquest verdict on the grounds of bias on the part of the coroner due to a predisposition to believe Ms Owen’s evidence. Questions are asked as to how Peter Murphy can fund the legal fees from the inquest and now a High Court case.

September 28, 2008: The Gageby report into Noeleen’s death is delivered to the Minister for Justice. It advises against a public inquiry, apparently because of the legal difficulties that would be brought about by the serious allegations made against certain people, and because of the amount of time that has elapsed since the death. To date, the report has not been made public.

December 12, 2009: Peter Murphy dies leaving an estate of €90,000.

June 2009: At a briefing on protecting children organised by the ICCL in Leinster House, Mr Gageby expresses the view that most cases involving under-age sex concerned people of roughly the same age rather than “flocks of paedophiles in dirty macs.”

March 12, 2010: The Murphy family withdraws their challenge to the inquest verdict following an acknowledgment by the Coroner that this verdict did not implicate Cynthia’s sister Catherine Stevenson in any wrongdoing.

2011: Alan Shatter is appointed Minister for Justice.

April 2013: Gardaí commence a review of the events surrounding Noeleen’s death as part of a series of reviews intended to examine claims that paedophile rapists were able to use influence to hinder scrutiny of their activities.

April 13, 2014: Cynthia Owen hands a petition with 12,444 signatures into the Department of Justice in support of a public enquiry into Noeleen’s death.

30 April 2014: Richard Boyd Barrett TD tells the Dail that Cynthia Owen was ritually abused and raped by members of her family, the local community and “at least 3 Senior Gardai from the area,” and that “one of the people accused by Cynthia Owen as being one of the abusers was one of the gardaí who arrived on the scene when her baby was found.” Mr Boyd Barrett further reports that Patrick Gageby SC had stated publicly, at a national prosecutors’ conference, that he believed cases of rape and abuse more than 15 years old should not be investigated and that counsellors and psychologists working in this area usually gave unreliable evidence, making his examination of the original investigation ‘a travesty’. He also expresses concern about the failure to prosecute given that, on the finding of the jury at the inquest, a statutory rape must necessarily have taken place.

Alan Shatter, responding to Mr Boyd Barrett, states that he has sought a full report from Garda authorities prior to proceeding further. He also states that he is not in a position to overrule the view of the DPP that there is insufficient evidence to warrant the taking of a prosecution. He describes the allegations of bias made by Mr Boyd Barrett against Mr Gageby as defamatory and expresses the view that a public inquiry is likely to achieve little unless it results in a prosecution.

May 2014: Alan Shatter resigns as Minister for Justice and is replaced by Frances Fitzgerald TD

December 2015: The Department of Justice writes to Cynthia Owen informing her that no public inquiry will be carried out. Up to this point the case has been sent to the  DPP eight times.

January 2016: Cynthia Owen names her abusers on her Facebook page, in an attempt to encourage other victims to come forward.

January 10, 2016: The Irish Mail on Sunday reports that the Independent Review Panel into alleged cases of garda misconduct, set up by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald following allegations made by former Garda John Wilson and Sergeant Maurice McCabe, has rejected more than 90 per cent of the complaints. Cynthia’s case was included in this review.

Sources: Irish Times, The Guardian, The Irish Examiner, The Sunday Independent, The Sunday Tribune, The Sunday Business Post, The Evening Herald, The Sunday World


Cynthia Owen writes…

I have been fighting for justice since 1995 and, to date, no one has has been prosecuted for these crimes committed against me. To date the case has gone to the DPP 8 times, with no prosecutions being recommended. I also tried to take a case to Europe but that failed too. At one point Alan Shatter was my lawyer for four years and he was looking at a civil case. He also was very vocal in the media and often called for a public inquiry into the case. But after he got into power he refused to help me.

Patrick Gageby refused to meet with me, the main witness, and did his review from speaking to the Gardaí at Dún Laoghaire where, at the time, my father’s friend was over the murder and abuse case – this particular police officer was also friends with three of the retired gardaí that abused me.

Despite all this, the Department of Justice have stood by this review, and to date have refused to give me a public inquiry.

More recently an Independent Panel Review was put together by the Department of Justice to look at 321 cases of Garda corruption, and my case was one of them. We were told we would have a decision in eight weeks, but the process took 15 months. Again, the Panel Review, made up of 5 solicitors and 2 barristers, did not interview or meet with any of the victims and, in the vast majority of the cases, no further action was recommended.

In my own case, the panel review admitted that while the Gageby Review was outside their remit, as they were supposed to be independent, they actually viewed the Gageby Review and said that they agreed with it, and then said that because the Gageby Review directed that no public inquiry be held into the matter, they felt that that was to be upheld.

Simply put, an Independent Panel Review, supposed to remain impartial, agreed with Gageby who had gained ALL of his information from the Garda who were friends with the men who abused me.

Fine Gael were actually proud of this Panel Review and boasted regularly in the Dáil that they were the first Government to ever set up a process to look at Garda corruption, but then went on to ignore the seriousness of the cases involved and refused to open a Commission of Investigation into the cases, which is the only way the victims in these cases will ever get any real answers about their loved ones.

In the very small percentage of cases that saw recommendations, some of them were recommended to go to the Garda Ombudsman, an avenue the victims could have pursued themselves without waiting 15 months to do so. Or some of them went to the Garda Commissioner for a report, again another avenue that a victim can explore themselves.

I am in regular touch with some of the other victims and I can say that we are literally devastated by the way we were treated by the Independent Panel Review. We had all really pinned our hopes on this process, but now feel shattered and completely disillusioned and let down all over again. Most of us had to wait 15 months to find out our cases were being ignored and some of us even got the letter on Christmas week, which is an awful time for those of us who have lost loved ones.

We have called for Frances Fitzgerald to resign and believe that she should be ashamed of how she treated us as a whole.

I have written to every member of the Dáil to ask them to commit to me in writing. I will be asking them that, should they be elected, will they give me the inquiry this case deserves. I intend to make public their response in the media on January 17.

A petition has been opened to call on Frances Fitzgerald to ignore the panel review’s recommendation and to give me the inquiry this case deserves. Please sign and share my petition link on social media.

Cynthia’s Facebook page can be visited here

103 thoughts on “A Dalkey Archive

  1. Dee

    A devastating read, but important. Shocking details … Might I suggest a trigger warning here broadsheet?

  2. Janet, I ate my avatar

    That turned my blood cold, I’m beyond shock every time I hear these monsters walk among us. My heart goes out to that brave woman for her stolen childhood and I hope she gets the justice she is due.

  3. Cynthia Owen

    Please visit my facebook page where you can see ways to help me and sign my petition, I use the name Sindy Theresa Murphy on facebook, as that was my childhood name, thank you all for your kind comments. Cynthia Owen

    1. Joanne Brock

      Hello Cynthia. I just want to tell you that I stand by you in your fight for justice for you and your baby Noeleen.
      You are an incredible woman, stay strong, you are not alone.

    2. andy moore

      I’d sign a witness statement on my own behalf for many shattered dreams of my own contained above even though only aged 5 @ time of Incident.. More so about the cover ups of many other maybe Suicides also !!! 1st awareness of these acts came to my attention in Apr/May 99 !! I knew the ones being asked questions but never realised how far up the Food Chain the rot was !! & for the typical BS’er it ain’t Nowt to do with present Millennium Maybe !!!

  4. Barry the Hatchet

    God that was just an appalling read. What astounding courage Cynthia Owen has to keep fighting for justice. I hope she eventually gets it and I hope she has found a measure of peace and happiness in her life, despite the despicable way she has been treated.

  5. Cup of tea anyone?

    The poor woman. she was right to name and shame those involved. You never know how long this went on before or after her. Hope she gets her peace.

  6. Shaz

    Sickening to read and it seems like impartiality wasn’t a factor in any investigation or review. Not good enough in 2016; it may have happened decades ago but the effect on this brave woman and the others who met with the same fate is very real and present.

  7. Tish Mahorey

    Can’t have the “Fine Upstanding Members of Society” exposed for their secret deviant abuses of disadvantaged children now can we?

    I’ll bet they all sit at the front pew at Mass and say the Our Father loudest of all, then go home and beat their wives.

      1. andy moore

        Bel Éire was headline in Evening Standard of 199? & again just selling Masonic Mansions to Tax Dodgers of all Creeds &None. Classic London based enablement for ”Economic Refugees ” They’ll never catch the Spirits nevermind which shore or sewerpipe they end up in !!

  8. Anne

    This looks like State protected pedophilia to me.

    Alan Shatter really is a weasel of the highest order.

    Anyone got a link to Cynthia’s facebook account?

    1. Teri (Teresa) Byrne

      It is indeed horrific – Enda Kenny’s Govt is silent on this – Garda Commissioner is complicit in still coverin gup 3 Garda Paedophiles – one who could be father to either of Sindy’s babies – again the mother persecuted even as a child mother – We should all be marching on Leinster House for thousands of Sindys who were so raped and abused – Sindy fights not for herself but for justice for her little babies she never knew she was to have – yet she fights for her babies and her sister who was driven to suicide because of such rapes against her too…wake up Ireland – Enda Kenny is in bribery corruption with Pharma but most of all with the South Dublin Sex Ring Paedophiles – and many of use have reported their names, addresses and their crimes – Philip Cairns is one dear child still missing and yet the name of the paedophile in the area is still today covered up by Taoiseach Kenny Frances Fitzgerald and Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan – seek out the paedophile who was already convicted of molesting a 7 year old girl – yet kept off the Register only to commit rapes again for the South Dublin Sex Ring – where when they couldn’t get children they drugged women for their Rape Parties

  9. Joan Burton

    Horrific if totally true, shes pretty much saying one of the top Senior Counsels and numerous ministers for justices are covering up for some on the beat gardai…………….

    1. The Lady Vanishes

      I’m not sure if it’s a conscious cover-up, but they certainly don’t want to believe that abuse of this type could be happening, particularly in the sacred Binchyesque enclave of Dalkey. They’ll do anything to avoid finding out. The thing people are most afraid of is the tenets by which they have lived their lives being overturned.

  10. The Lady Vanishes

    So many issues arise from this.

    Neglect of duty – on the part of the teachers of Cynthia’s school Loreto Dalkey, social services and the gardai – in relation to a child victim of family sexual abuse

    Neglect of duty – on the part of the Gardai, in relation to conducting and preserving the evidence of a murder investigation

    Either of these would be heinous enough but when you add in the third element – enthusiastic participation on the part of local community members – including members of the gardai – in the abuse – the strong suspicion arises that the neglect was deliberate.

    Are the gardai members still practising members of the force or could they still have influence over the force or others?

    What exactly are the positions held by the non-family abusers in the local community in Dalkey, and further afield?

    The public is entitled to know this. If a full investigation is not held, speculation will inevitably ensue as to the names of those involved. Rather than speculation, let’s have the full facts.

    There is a very simple way of ascertaining whether a crime occurred and possibly even identifying the non-family perpetrators. That is to exhume Noeleen, whose DNA will disclose the identify of both her mother and her father. Why this has not been done is beyond me… but the suspicion arises that opposition to this may have come from people who were afraid that an exhumation would disclose things damaging to them or their associates.

    The claim that such exhumation will cause distress to parents of babies buried in adjoining plots is grossly exaggerated and constantly used to ‘shut down’ any talk of exhumation. Were I a parent whose baby were buried in an adjoining plot, I would be very distressed if my tragedy were used as an excuse for a cover-up.

    There is a saying ‘let justice be done till the heavens fall’. If any case were one for the application of this saying, it is this one.

    I have not seen a copy of the Gageby Report but I fundamentally disagree with the glib dismissals of sexual abuse claims attributed to Patrick Gageby in the two papers referred to above.

    There MUST be an exhumation.

    1. Leela2011

      my brother and sister are buried in that plot, I would have no problem with an exhumation were it deemed necessary

    1. 15 cents

      i looked there and couldnt find them. she should have them on a list on her facebook cover photo so you can see them all the time. . . some addresses would help, but couldnt be that hard to find em with the names just.

      1. j9

        Yes – There were names and photographs put up on facebook a while back but the posts were subsequently removed.

          1. Anne

            Not directly from Cynthia’s page.. it’s on her timeline..she’s tagged.
            But 203 shares I noticed.

            Looks like facebook is the way forward for some people when there’s not a hope of any justice.

          2. Brian Shaler

            If anybody reading this has any association with any Dalkey Club FB pages (ie Rowing Club) post it, to spread this.

  11. Spaghetti Hoop

    Truly shocking, and harrowing.
    Paedophile rings as organised as this almost always have senior authority figures involved and cover-ups.
    We exposed the church rapists – now for the garda ones.

  12. Tish Mahorey

    This is one of the prices Irish society pays for a pseudo Police force which does the bidding of the Political establishment.

    The politicians protect them from prosecution so the deviant and criminal elements can go on the rampage knowing that nothing will happen to them.

  13. poppy

    Independent review panel was nothing more than a public relations spin. Justice is a total disgrace in this country. Well done broadsheet for supporting Cynthia.

  14. Lorcan Nagle

    I had to stop reading the timeline about halfway through due to the sheer horror of it. I wish I could say that it’s unbelievable that people could get away with this sort of thing, but the way this country operates? Not a surprise at all.

  15. meadowlark

    How horrendous. There is something truly horrible lurking in Irish society that needs to be addressed. I sincerely hope Cynthia Owens gets the justice she deserves. Her bravery is astounding. Petition signed. Every person in Ireland should sign.

  16. ReproBertie

    Ah this is ridiculous. Have we learned nothing from the cover up by the church? FG were happy to score political points over SF’s paedo shuffle and then boast about this whitewash. Presumably the plan is to wait until all the abusers are dead and then wring their hands about how terrible it was but there’s nothing more to be done.

  17. Christopher

    Truly shocking- all these people watching making a murderer on Netflix and scoffing at American justice should maybe look into our own disgusting law enforcement.

    Shame on these people and FG for letting the victims down.

  18. b

    I worked in Dalkey for a few years and probably bumped into her dad a few times without knowing. it has a seedy underbelly as does dun laoghaire.

  19. ahjayzis

    I’m so disillusioned and frustrated just from reading that, can’t imagine how this poor woman keeps going, she’s so brave.

    Policing and the legal profession are rotten to the core, they really are.

  20. shitferbrains

    I don’t like Vincent Browne much but fair dues to him for always emphasising that the majority of the abuse is within the family. How anyone carries on after this is a minor miracle.

  21. balloons

    are the other 5 names published anywhere else? it creeps me out that they’re walking around our community with total anonymity

  22. Liam Deliverance

    A truly amazing story. A truly amazing and remarkable woman in Cynthia Owen. Her strength and perseverance is at Mount Everest levels. I have nothing but enormous respect and admiration for the woman and wish I could do something to help. I wasn’t aware of the march at Dept of Justice, if I was I would have been happy to attend, if there is another protest/vigil please use Broadsheet.ie to let us know and I believe a strong turnout can be achieved if there is a next time. I have signed the petition at any rate. Credit must be given here to PBP and Richard Boyd Barrett for bringing this to the Dail and it is a mark of the man and his fine character. I can’t see many of the other mostly gutless TD’s running with this. Also credit to Broadsheet too for running this piece.

    Gageby, Shatter, Fitzgerald – bow your heads in shame and imagine for one moment that this has happened, or may happen in the future, to one of your sons or daughters, grandsons or granddaughters, or even great grandsons or great granddaughters because when your country called on you, you turned your back, you covered your eyes and ears, you did nothing when a great injustice and an evil was brought before you. Indirectly you stood in support of these vile criminals and their vile acts and yet you still took the reward and honour of the position that the people elected you to. You are little better than these disgusting criminals.

    For us all the thoughts of a paedophile actively abusing children in our towns and in our communities is a frightening and disturbing thought to say the least. The opposing force to that occurring is the law enforcement and the judicial and penal system, one of the main pillars in our society. In this case not only did the enforcers of the law protect those who committed child abuse they actually committed child abuse themselves and when the judicial system was invoked to punish those criminals that system covered up for the paedophiles and the corrupt law enforcers. This is so monstrous that I am lost for words.

    Who knows how many other towns across Ireland that something similar to this has occurred in the past or continues to occur in the present day. How many suicides or disappearances could be attributable to something similar to Ms Owens story? Please sign the petition and attend a future protest if you can.

    1. Salmon of Nollaig

      Paedophilia happens far more often than many people like to admit.

      There are many reasons why people do not want to admit this.

      One reason is that such an admission would implicate people close to them, family, friends, people who acted as their mentors. Many paedophiles are pillars of their local community and closely involved in working with young people. Because of this ‘good’ work people make excuses for them or close their eyes to what is going on.

      Another reason is that such an admission would cause them to question fundamental institutions of the society whose guidelines they have followed in organising their lives. Work, marriage, mortgage, kids and all the sacrifices as well as the joy that goes with things part of mainstream society – what’s it all for if key institutions of that society are not what they seem.

      Studies have shown that people who have been sexually abused in childhood have a much higher incidence of depression and addiction and may find it difficult to navigate society – many homeless people were sexually abused as children. But even if someone was not sexually abused, the constant pretence that everything is all right would be enough to provoke depression.

      The cosy world of Maeve Binchy does not exist, not even in her home town. Presumably she would have recognised the faces – maybe even exchanged the odd word – with Cynthia’s abusers.

      There are dragons out there. Life can be as bleak as the dangerous landscape of a fairytale.

      The only way forward is to trust your own instincts and remember that fairytales have heroes as well as dragons.

      1. Salmon of Nollaig

        And keep asking questions.

        One question which jumps out at me from this piece is: why was this allowed to go on.

        The only answer that makes sense is that the individuals concerned were men of prominence in the non-celebrity Dalkey community – big fish in a small pond so to speak.

        Well-integrated into the celebrity community too, most likely, to get away with it for so long. What is truly shocking is how few of the media resident in Dalkey have had anything to say on this. Brigid McLaughlin is to be commended, but why are the Independent and Times (both sets) papers not pursuing this story? Justine McCarthy who covered it previously now writes for the Sunday Times. Surely, given the inquest verdict, there must be a full investigation.

        My motto is. Ask questions (esp of people who are dealing with children). Keep asking questions. And if people don’t like you asking the questions… well then there’s something up.

        1. Jack McHugh

          This is it – I really don’t understand why Broadsheet keep piecing together these timelines and we haven’t seen anything like it from the Times. So strange and disheartening.

          1. Salmon of Nollaig

            Yes particularly if you read Justine McCarthy’s piece just after the inquest which although containing some factual errors was hard-hitting in tone.

            Nothing has changed since her piece except that there has been no progress.

            However that was a piece for the Sunday Independent under its old editor.

            Presumably the Sunday Times, Sunday Independent, Irish Times and Irish Independent editors don’t view this story as something which needs to be covered.

            Why is this?

  23. Cynthia Owen

    Thank you all for your kind comments. Please continue to visit my facebook page which is ony childhood name of Sindy Theresa Murphy and please sing and share mh petition on the page. There is also a “How you can help me” post.

    I also have a blog http://www.noleenbetrayed42years.blogspot.com

    Thank you to the editors of this piece its outstanding. I was completely overwhelmed with the amount of work and effort that went into this piece and am hugely grateful. Cynthia Owen

  24. Junkface

    Horrible, so sick. What kind of weird sickos do this to their own children? Effin grim! That poor woman Cynthia is at least owed some justice from the state as a minimum. Ireland has a lot to answer for in the 20th century, this creepy sh1t was happening outside the Catholic church too. Those poor kids

  25. Cynthia Owen

    Hi just to point out that the story has been covered in the Times only a fort night ago and has been in the Independent and Sunday Times and Sunday Independent. All of the media covered the story over the years and have been asking questions for a long time now. I just wanted to clear that up. Cynthia Owen

  26. Salmon of Nollaig

    Cynthia, thank you for clarifying this, and for having the courage to share your story. In so doing you not only help other abuse survivors but also help prevent the abuse of many more. The very best of luck with your quest.

  27. rotide

    I swore I wouldn’t comment on this but there’s some pretty heavy implications in there involving senior council. Have you had lawyers look over it?

    1. Anne

      What implications?
      Do you see something written that’s not factual?

      The women needs support, not more scaremongering.

      You know what, you read the piece.. You’re just looking for attention again.

      You whinge and p*ss and moan about the cat/dogs pics, then you’ll whing and p** and moan about these thorough posts too.

      Answer the question or p*ss off. What part of the above has some ‘heavy implications’ that Broadsheet would need to run by a lawyer?

      1. rotide

        Answered below.

        I should point out that I find it hard to comment on this at all because it’s so hard to process an evil like the one in this story. I can’t add anything to the opinions expressed above, much more eloquently than I could ever put them.

        1. inPisces

          Nonetheless as Anne said you simply could not resist the urge to dribble some worthless nonsense all over the thread so as to make sure we all got to know how “you” feel about the issue

  28. Actiononaccrevit

    Link to full account of Mr Gageby’s 2005 conference paper here.


    He is of course perfectly entitled to hold that view, but one would have thought that it is something which should have been highlighted at the time of his being appointed to compile the report.

    It is also surely legitimate for Ms Owen to express surprise that he did not meet with her, but met with gardai, in circumstances where the report related to garda corruption. I note Alan Shatter, in the context of the Guerin report, complained about not being met with (in fact Guerin did meet Maurice McCabe.

    If a Senior Counsel chooses to take on a public duty of investigation, the public must be entitled to consider the question of whether or not he is at risk, by reason of a stance previously taken by him, of pre-judging the issue, and also to consider the question of whether or not he carried out that duty correctly. Such consideration does not, in itself, impute his character or ability and to suggest it does is misleading.

  29. Liam Deliverance

    I read that link you posted Actiononaccrevit and to be honest I felt ill reading it in the context of this article. It sounds like a cop out to say the least, that or he is voicing someone else’s opinion. Also I’m not sure I understand your last paragraph, thanks for the link anyway, interesting read.

    1. Actiononaccrevit


      Yes, very interesting that Gageby was chosen in light of this.

      I would have thought his comments would at least raise the possibility of pre-judgment of the issues involved.

      Perhaps whoever thought of him for the job didn’t know about his v strong views or, more worryingly, perhaps they did.

      think Rotide was suggesting that the post could result in a defamation action by Mr G and I was disagreeing for the reasons more cogently put by Anne above.

      1. Anne

        Well now to be fair Actiononaccrevit, you put it much more cogently and were much more civil than I was. :)

        That goon probably didn’t even read the full post before he posted his nonsense comment about heavy implications.

        It’s a fair comment to make that Gageby was not suitable to do the Garda review given his previous stance. The pretense of impartiality is gone out the door choosing him.

        1. rotide


          What do you mean by Impartiality, that he is biased towards child abusers?

          That’s kinda what I was getting at.

          1. Actiononaccrevit

            I think it’s more he has prejudged the issue… that he has already made up his mind that child abuse allegations over a certain no. of years are v suspect.

            It does not suggest he’s sympathetic to paedophiles, simply that he has an advance view which stops him objectively considering the subject matter of the report – which relates to an allegation more than the no. of years mentioned…

            Prejudgment doesn’t carry character implications as such, I don’t think it would be regarded as defamatory.

          2. rotide

            He also has a very long track record of involvement in these type of cases. His pre-judgement comes from actually having first hand experience of how trials in these matters go. I assume that’s why he was chosen to lead the review.

            I’ve no idea whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing but surely an ‘expert’ in the field is the best candidate for this sort of thing?

          3. The Lady Vanishes

            Not really. Firstly, having looked up the number of abusers he has represented, many of whom pleaded guilty, it is very difficult for me to understand how he could state, as he did, at the later conference, that most abusers of underage children tended to be children themselves. What statistics had he for this for instance? I haven’t seen this stated anywhere else and it is certainly belied by his pleading guilty clients. Clearly he is very committed to his work as a defence barrister but to make a statement like this does raise lack of objectivity in a world in which we simply don’t know the extent of abuse but it is very clear from reported decisions that there was extensive abuse of minors by adults.

            Secondly as a barrister should he have dismissed the verdict of the jury in the inquest case (who had the benefit of hearing Cynthia Owen) so lightly. The role of the jury in criminal cases is paramount and a criminal barrister should understand that.

            There is also the fact that he largely represents paedophile defendants (he has prosecuted in the past, but most of his work is defence, particularly recently)… wouldn’t it have been better to look for a barrister who was also expert in the area of criminal law but who had experience representing both sides and who had not made any previous public statements raising such a risk of prejudgment.

  30. Lilly

    The DPP says there is not enough evidence to prosecute. Is it possible that it was so efficiently and effectively covered up by the Gardai and their cohorts that he’s right?

    Kudos to BS for covering it.

    1. rotide

      Of course it’s possible that he’s right. The review by Gageby and An independant commision agreed with him.

      It’s a horribly tragic case and it’s very hard not to get emotional reading about it. I assume the reviews were dealing with the rules of law and not emotions though.

  31. louislefronde

    Excellent timeline. Shocking but not entirely surprising, Dalkey has always had a sleazy underside.

    In terms of patterns of behaviour, I’m sure there are other cases in the area and possibly Dun Laoghaire which are related.

    1. The Lady Vanishes

      That’s a good point, Louis.

      Fiona Doyle (abused by her father in Dun Laoghaire for 10 years from the age of 6) has also mentioned the possibility of Dun Laoghaire paedophile rings.

      Perhaps they flourished because covered up by paedophiliac gardai? Or perhaps it was linked to the proliferation of orphanages/special schools in the area?

      There is a post on a local Dun Laoghaire site about a man who, along with other children, was sexually abused in the primary school of CBS Dun Laoghaire in the 60s/70s and subsequently killed himself leaving a suicide note. The post is by his brother and is very sad Other people respond. Clearly the school had an appalling record of child abuse. The abuser (a Christian brother) is now deceased. Many young men who grew up in Dun Laoghaire during this era were very troubled (suicide, addictions, violence etc) and this may well be linked to the abuse of male children in CBS.

      This is the post here:-


      Note the brother was never convicted. The Murphy report is just the tip of the iceberg because it deals with priests in Dublin that were complained about, not those who got away with it because the children they abused did not tell. It also does not deal with complaints of abuse by religious orders or Christian Brothers.

  32. The Lady Vanishes

    This is the post about abuse in CBS Dun Laoghaire (Eblana) in full. It is by a Mr John O’Reilly about his brother Captain Niall O’Reilly. If you follow the link in my previous comment you will see that responses refer to further incidents of sexual abuse in CBS including abuse by a lay teacher.

    Sexual abuse in CBS

    Postby JohnR » Tue Nov 15, 2011 8:40 pm
    This is not an easy post to write, but here goes. My brother, Captain Brian (O) Reilly, who attended primary school in CBS, 1966 to 1971 and secondary school from 1972 to 1977, committed suicide in June this year. In the note he left, he stated that he he had been sexually abused by Head Brother Frank McGovern in primary school and this had resulted in follow on problems including severe depression. Such was the shame and guilt he suffered that he never told anyone about what happened to him and we only found out about this after his death. Since then I have learned of others who were also sexually abused by the same person, so Brian wasn’t the only one who suffered. There are others, now aged between 50 to 60 approx. out there. McGovern died last year.
    The reason I am writing here is to advise others who suffered abuse not to suffer in silence but to take the first steps towards looking for help. I found 1 in 4 to be an excellent source of information and help, when I went to them to gain some understanding about sexual abuse and its effect on people.
    I went to CBS primary and secondary myself, leaving in 1983. I have only good memories of the school. I found what happened to my brother to be so unbelievable that I found it difficult to accept myself and it was only when I learned there were others that proved it conclusively for me.
    If a person who was abused reads this and finds the courage to seek help then I will have achieved something positive.


  33. Sorry

    Carriglea Industrial School which contained the most heinous examples of child sexual abuse was also situate in Dun Laoghaire.

    As was the National Rehabilitation Institute which was also the scene of sexual abuse by priests.

    I think the Dunne family who were noted criminals in the Dun Laoghaire area went to Carriglea.

    I would be very interested to examine the life history of those convicted of paedophilia in this area and indeed of the persons named by Cynthia Owen.

    The abuse in the industrial schools and orphanages dates back decades, presumably some of the children abused remained in the area and possibly some of them repeated this behaviour to others. This may be one contributory factor here, another of course would be if the gardai were not keeping an eye out for abuse.

    Alternatively you could wonder whether the reason the abuse in industrial schools and orphanages in this area was so bad was because of compliant gardai.

    Possibly a bit of both.

    It really was not a pleasant place to grow up in.

  34. Cynthia Owen

    My father was in Carriglea Industrial School and was beaten and abused there, he then came out aged 16 and met and married my mother. My father was entitled to apply to the Redress Board for counselling, education and compensation, Bertie Ahearn gave a public apology to victims of the Industrial Schools. As my fathers victim, I am not entitled to any compensation, or even an apology. Sadly the Irish Authorities recognised the victims of the Industrial Schools but to date complete ignore the victims of those victims of which there are many. Cynthia Owen

  35. Sorry

    Yes indeed.

    What happened in schools in the 1940s and 50s impacted on children in the 60s and 70s and is still impacting on the children of those children today – both directly, in the sense of leading to their abuse, and also indirectly, insofar as even children who escape abuse live in a country plagued by depression, suicide, secrets and corruption – all consequences of a climate of sexual abuse.

    And the pattern will go on repeating itself unless we find a way to break it. Talking about it and trying to understand is key. So is protecting children from future abuse. And proper treatment for survivors. All of these require honesty and accountability. Thank you for being so determined in seeking this.

  36. scundered

    I remember “Tessa” very well, one of the nicest people I have ever met, I was horrified to hear about all that had happened when it came out… the sense of cruelty and injustice just so overwhelming.

    I really hope you someday manage to find some justice and peace out of all this.

  37. Mary Ryan/Reilly

    Thank you so much “Lady Vanishes for remembering the post about my late beloved brother Brian who tragically committed suicide as a direct result of having being abused by CHRISTIAN Brother MCGovern who was principal in Eblana during the 70’s.The devastation and trauma of sexual abuse can never be underestimated.

    I wish you every success Cynthia in your fight for justice.My thoughts are with you.

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