The Devil Is In The Detail


John Horgan


Death notice for John Horgan in the Irish Independent of June 16, 1973,  giving cause of death as an accident. ‘Omnia in Bonum’ is a Latin phrase used by Opus Dei members meaning “all unto good”.

Ten days ago the story of Philip Cairns returned to public consciousness when unnamed Garda sources suggested that Eamon Cooke may have been involved in Philip’s abduction and presumed murder.

The same week marked the forty third anniversary of the death of another young boy, John Joseph Horgan, in Palmerstown, Dublin 20, in 1973.

Next-door neighbour Lorcan Bale, aged 16, pleaded guilty to John Horgan’s murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Bale was subsequently released from prison in 1980 and now lives in England.

Unlike the disappearance of Philip Cairns, the events leading to the murder of John Horgan were almost totally unreported.

No death certificate was issued for John until 2011, when an inquest into his death, adjourned on numerous occasions, was re-opened.

At the inquest, statements were read detailing how John had been found lashed in crucifix fashion to the rafters of the attic of Bale’s home, after having been killed by a blow or blows to the head.

An altar in the attic contained, among other things, a communion chalice and a number of consecrated hosts.

The re-opened inquest was then adjourned indefinitely by Coroner Kieran Geraghty, who stated that he did not feel it appropriate to call further evidence against the wishes of John Horgan’s parents.

At the time of the inquest, television producer David Malone, who had previously worked on RTÉ’s Crimecall, was in the course of researching a book on John Horgan’s murder.

He subsequently published that book ‘The Boy in the Attic’ in 2011.

Much of the evidence of Lorcan’s interest in satanism is based on the testimony of Lorcan Conroy, a school friend of Lorcan Bale.

The book is also the source of much of the only available information concerning the Garda investigation.

And, in similar fashion to the Cairns’ case, statements attributed to Garda sources contain serious inconsistencies.

In Mr Malone’s book, for instance, there are two completely different accounts by named members of the Gardaí regarding the circumstances in which John Horgan’s body came to be discovered in the attic [please see below for a detailed timeline].

The absence of any public investigation into the death also leaves the public completely at a loss as to Bale’s motive in killing John Horgan.

Like Philip Cairns, John Horgan and Lorcan Bale came from highly devout families.

John Horgan’s father Terence had been involved with the Catholic right-wing organisation Opus Dei since the 1950s. Lorcan’s father Kenneth was a member of the Legion of Mary and a vocal critic to the newspapers of what he saw as slipping moral standards in the Ireland of the 1970s.

The late priest Richard Mulcahy, from Dalkey, whose statement identifying the body of John Horgan and detailing its condition when discovered was read out at the resumed inquest, was described in his obituary as the former head of Opus Dei in Ireland.

He was also offered – and accepted from the investigating officers – the consecrated hosts found there to dispose of.

Lorcan Bale, aged 16 at the time of his trial, pleaded guilty to the murder of John Horgan.

As the plea was one of guilty to murder, the mandatory life sentence applied.

Accordingly, his counsel Seamus Sorohan, SC, had no more to do than simply ask that clinical psychologist Maureen Gaffney and psychiatrist Dr Brian McCaffrey – who had seen Bale prior to his trial and certified him sane – be allowed to attend on him in his place of detention.

It is unclear what statement – if any – was made by Lorcan Bale to the judge, John Kenny, himself a member of Opus Dei.

Another unusual feature of the reporting on the Horgan case is that both the Irish Independent and the Irish Press, in reports the day following the discovery of his body, described his death as believed to be accidental.

The Irish Independent the following day corrected this – though without specifically referring to the error in the previous account – when it reported that a 16-year-old youth had been charged with his murder.

However the same edition of the paper carried a Death Notice placed on behalf of John Horgan, in which he was stated to have died accidentally.

The Irish Times, reporting on the trial of Lorcan Bale, simply stated that a full account of events were given without reporting on that account.

It is possible that journalists may have felt disinclined to report on the facts of the Horgan case out of concern for the sensibilities of John Horgan’s parents. There may also have been a concern as to possible copycat offences.

Like the Cairns case, the Horgan case has also been characterised by unusual subsequent discoveries, and strange rumours emanating from garda officers.

Days after the disappearance of Philip Cairns, his canvas schoolbag was discovered in a lane close to his home, claimed to have been earlier searched by Gardaí. A number of religion books were missing from the schoolbag.

Approximately a week after the death of John Horgan, a small canvas bag was found in a rathole in the field in which he had been killed. Inside the bag were artefacts, pages from occult magazines and a list containing the names of seven local children, including that of John Horgan.

Following the re-opened (and subsequently re-adjourned) inquest into the death of John Horgan, Inspector Gerry O’Carroll appeared on RTÉ’s Liveline to talk about his experiences as a young Garda working on the inquiry into John’s death.

In the course of the interview he discussed satanic aspects of the killing of John Horgan, including apparently hearing Bale in Lucan Garda station, on the night of the boy’s death, calling out to his Master for having failed him.

This is just one of many stories claiming a satanic element to Horgan’s death which have been recounted by Gardaí in Mr Malone’s book. It may be noted that such rumours have featured in Philip Cairns’ case.

Another matter that may be of some concern involves the attic itself.

Fifty years ago semi-detached houses, like those in Hollyville, were divided into two parts.

However, until fire safety regulations were introduced in 1976, it was not uncommon for the shared attic to be simply left as one open space.

This, along with certain anomalies detailed below, might have been explored at the re-opened inquest – and which may yet require to be explored.

Pic: Via Irish Independent archive


Hollyville, Palmerstown, Dublin 20

Below is a timeline of events before and after the death of John Horgan. We will correct any errors/omissions.

January 3, 1952: Engagement announcement (in the Irish Independent) of Kenneth Bale, of Nephin Road, Dublin and Catherine (Maura) Breslin, 10 Shamrock Street, Broadstone, Limerick. Kenneth is an Irish and Latin speaker, a conservative Catholic, a hispanophile and a teacher at Mount Melleray Abbey in Waterford. Kenneth’s father, a Royal Mail employee, had converted to Catholicism. One of his ancestors was an Anglican bishop.

1957: Kenneth and Catherine Bale’s first child, Lorcan Bale, is born. Subsequently four further children are born to the couple: Anna, Deaglan, Maire Eithne and Catriona.

Also part of the family are Catherine’s parents Richard and Ann Breslin.

Kenneth Bale, having left his job in Mount Melleray for reasons unknown, is employed by the place names section of the Ordnance Survey office in Mountjoy House, in Phoenix Park. Reserved at work, he is described by an acquaintance as being ‘the life and soul’ of the private prayer groups he attends. He is also a member of the Irish language section of the Legion of Mary, and the family speak Irish at home.

The Bale family live in 7, Hollyville, Palmerstown, a new estate constructed by builder and publican Frank Towey close to the River Liffey and the main Dublin to Galway highway.

There is a large field behind the house which can be accessed from the back gardens of the houses and this is where the children of Hollyville play.

David Malone in his book The Boy in the Attic describes the houses in the Hollyville estate:

“as completely different from those of [Palmerstown] village: larger, mostly with garages and fine rectangular gardens, they attracted middle-class, professional owners: businessmen, some of Ireland’s top publicans, senior civil servants, a retired police superintendent.”

Mr Malone states further:

“There was a highly charged religious mix in Hollyville, most of the men would attend Mass each day, without fail; almost every male child was an altar boy, including Lorcan Bale; there was a passing evangelical Sunday School, one local was involved in Scientology, another was a senior Irish Mormon who would host an American soul singer on his occasional forays to Ireland; many of the children were sent to retreats in the Dublin mountains organised by Marriage Encounter, then a Catholic marriage renewal programme.”

1962: Fr Patrick McCabe (subsequently named as an abuser of children in the Murphy Report) joins St Philomena’s Parish, Palmerstown. Also attached to the parish is Fr Cornelius O’Keeffe, a playwright and scriptwriter for RTE.

July 17 1962:
 It is reported that 10 dogs have been found poisoned in the Palmerston area. Many of the animals were pets. Most were terriers and were found strewn at distances along the main highway. They all appear to have been killed in a similar manner.

1964: A newly married couple, Terence and Anne Horgan move into the house next door to the Bales at 6, Hollyville. The two houses share a common wall.

Terence is a Dublin accountant and businessman and has been involved with the lay Catholic organisation Opus Dei since studying at University College Dublin in the 1950s. He is also a relative of former Fianna Fáil Director of Elections and National Organiser Frank Hawkins.

August 27, 1965: Terence and Anne Horgan’s son John Horgan is born.

September 1, 1965: John Horgan is baptised in St Philomena’s in a ceremony presided over by his uncle, Fr Sean Horgan.

April 17, 1965:
Two teenage boys plead guilty to the larceny of three prayer books and five religious booklets from St Philomena’s Church, saying they say they took them ‘for the children’.

1967: Fr Patrick McCabe is moved from St Philomena’s to another parish at Eadestown, Co Kildare. According to the Murphy Report, he retains ties with a number of parishioners from Palmerstown, who assist him in organising holidays for boys.

1967: Lorcan Bale is admitted to hospital with a scalded foot.

1968: Lorcan Bale is admitted to hospital for an operation to correct an undescended testicle noted in the course of a physical examination at school. He spends three weeks in hospital which is significantly longer than the usual period of a day or two for such an operation.

October 4, 1969:
Two local boys (John Dillon of Hollyville Lawn and Franz van Cauwelart of Hollyville Lawn) are reported missing. It is stated that “the boys were seen playing in a field just behind the estate and when they did not return the alarm was raised by Mr van Cauwelaert around 8 o’clock. Mr and Mrs Dillon were on pilgrimage to Lourdes at the time.”

1969: Lorcan Bale spends six months in St Paul’s Ward of Cappagh Hospital – a centre for the care of children with continuing health problems – under the care of Professor Tom Kavanagh. In addition to attending primary school at the hospital he is also involved with the Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland. During this period, according to Mr Malone’s book, he appears to have obtained sight of a periodical called ‘Man Myth and Magic.’

1970: Lorcan Bale commences secondary school at Colaiste Mhuire, Parnell Square.

November 1, 1972: The body of a 74-year-old man, Thomas Lynch, is found in a drain beside St Philomena’s church. He had been missing since he went to mass the previous Friday. The Irish Press states that “foul play is not suspected.”

December 1972: Lorcan Bale disappears for four nights. According to a statement subsequently given by Kenneth Bale:

“He went missing from home for a few days before Christmas. And he never gave any real explanation of why he had done it, save to say he was in County Meath.”

Spring 1973: John Horgan’s Raleigh ‘Chipper’ a toddler’s version of the Raleigh Chopper, is stolen.

Fr Cornelius O’Keeffe discovers the theft of a communion chalice and three consecrated wafers from St Philomena’s church. In contrast to the prayer books stolen in 1965, this theft does not appear to have been reported to the Gardaí.

May 1973: John Horgan makes his First Holy Communion.

June 1973: Catherine Bale enters Bon Secours hospital in Glasnevin for a hysterectomy.

June 10, 1973:
The Intermediate Certificate Examination commences. A photograph of Lorcan Bale – who is sitting the exam – appears in a national newspaper the following day.

June 14, 1973:
In the morning, Lorcan Bale sits his Intermediate Certificate Geography exam. He has no other exam that day.

In the afternoon, Anne Horgan goes to visit Catherine Bale in hospital. She leaves John Horgan in the care of Ann Breslin, who last sees him in the garden of 7, Hollyville, playing with the Bale’s pet canary.

Lorcan Bale, in a statement subsequently made to Gardaí, will state that after returning home from school he:

“had a cup of coffee and.. went to my room. I rested there for about an hour. While I was there I was considering getting John, that is John Horgan, the seven year old boy who lives next door. I planned how I would do it, meaning how I would kill him and hide his body. I then started getting things I needed to carry out my plan. I got the club. Then I went down to the tool shed and got as much rope as I could find. I also brought down neck ties from my room when I was going to the tool shed.”

4pm: According to Lorcan Bale, he goes into the back garden of 7, Hollyville and asks John Horgan if he would like to look for rabbits in the field. The two boys climb the fence into the field with the club (elsewhere described as a skittle) and rope in Lorcan’s pocket.

According to a letter on file dated June 15, 1973, and written by Sergeant Patrick McGirr to Dublin County Coroner Dr Bartley Sheehan:

“Lorcan Bale invited the child out into a field behind his house to look for rabbits. He clubbed the deceased from behind as he was looking at a rabbit hole [other accounts say a rat hole], which he Bale had pointed out to him.”

According to a subsequent autopsy report, John’s death occurs immediately or almost immediately.

According to Lorcan Bale, he subsequently ties up John’s arms and legs and places a gag in his mouth. He then set off towards his house with a sack containing John’s body.

On seeing two local boys – Michael Smallwood and Damien Dempster, aged 12 – in the distance he puts the sack in a hedge and covers it with nettles. Once they have passed he moves the sack to a different hedge and goes home to get a haversack, returns to the field and places the body in the haversack to take it home. While walking home the second time, he meets another local boy, Colin Nolan, who asks him if he is bringing home coal. Lorcan says yes.

Again according to Lorcan Bale, on arriving home, he initially places the haversack in the garage before going upstairs, coming down again, retrieving John Horgan’s body, bringing it upstairs and through the secret entrance to the attic. Once the body is in the attic, Lorcan Bale uses a thick red rope to tie it to a vertical beam running from room to attic floor in crucifix form. At some point later in the afternoon he returns to the attic to cut off John’s clothes with a scissors.

6pm: John Horgan is missed by Ann Breslin who asks Lorcan about his whereabouts. Lorcan Bale states that he has left him in the field. A search for John commences.

7pm: Ann Breslin leaves Hollyville to visit her daughter Catherine Bale in hospital.

8pm: Terence Horgan returns home. He is allegedly told by Lorcan Bale that he had gone to the field to study and that John went with him and wandered off.

10pm: Terence Horgan reports John’s disappearance to Gardaí.

10.20pm: Gardaí arrive. According to David Malone, the Garda team was led by Detective Inspector William Reynolds with Detective Sergeant Jim Noonan assisting him and that they were joined by Terence Smyth, a local Garda from Lucan.

A Detective Whyte is also named as being present but Mr Malone does not introduce him.

He is simply referred to as being present and saying, ‘we’ll search the house’ before Lorcan admits to knowing where John Horgan is [further details below].

However a letter on file from Garda Sergeant Patrick McGirr to Dublin County Coroner Dr Bartley Sheehan, also quoted in Malone’s book, states that:

“[a] party of Gardaí under the direction of Inspector John J White, Clondalkin Station, commenced a search of the area surrounding the missing boy’s home.”

Garda accounts of events leading to the discovery that evening of John Horgan’s body, as set out in Mr Malone’s book, are wildly divergent.

Detective Sergeant (subsequently Superintendent) Noonan tells Malone that his suspicions of Lorcan were aroused when he told Sergeant Noonan that he had last seen John heading through a gate in the direction of the River Liffey, after establishing that Lorcan could not in fact have seen this gate from his stated vantage point.

After some subsequent discussion, Lorcan became agitated. In his book, Mr Malone states:

“Noonan observed that the boy’s hands were making a continuous motion, alternately wringing his fingers and pulling at the sleeves of his khaki jacket. Watching this exchange, another officer, Detective Whyte, spoke: ‘We’ll search the house.’ Detective Inspector Willie Reynolds added, ‘We’ll search the house from top to bottom.’ As the last light faded from the Jue sky, Lorcan Bale looked at the three uniformed men and then to his father. Lowering his head, he whispered, “I’ll show you.’ ‘Where is he?’ asked Detective Sergeant Noonan, softly. ‘In the attic’.”

The following account by Garda John O’Loughlin, also quoted in Mr Malone’s book, is however very different. O’Loughlin states:

“On arrival [at Hollyville] I was met by Mr Horgan, who was in a very agitated state. Initially I presumed this to be a case of a little boy who had wandered off and would soon turn up unharmed. But I was very taken aback when Mr Horgan said to me, I know my son is dead, my worry is will we ever find his body… Apparently the Horgan boy was last seen going up to the fields at the rear of houses. So I went next door and spoke to Mr Kenneth Bale, the father of the 16 year old youth, and asked permission to speak to the teenager. I asked Lorcan Bale where the Horgan boy was…”

“I got a distinct feeling that Lorcan Bale was hiding something. While I was speaking to him, Bale glanced upstairs a few times. I asked Mr Bale if I could have a look in the teenager’s room upstairs. The bedroom door was locked… A key was produced and I looked round the room, which at first glance was like a normal boy’s room. At one end there was a built in wardrobe doing to the ceiling. I opened the door and saw that it was bereft of any clothing or contents. On the base of the wardrobe broken plasterboard pieces littered the floor. I looked up and saw a passage had been cut in the ceiling large enough for a person to fit through. I asked Lorcan Bale who had crafted the hole in the ceiling and he said that this was all his own work that he was responsible.”

Garda O’Loughlin then opened the main entry to the attic at top of the stairs and saw:-

“[t]he naked body of the Horgan boy lashed to a makeshift cross from the rafters, while in front of him on the ceiling floor was an elaborate altar…[o]n telling Mr and Mrs Horgan, that I had found the body of their little angel, Mrs Horgan paused, then said that this boy was a gift from God and that the Lord had intended them to have him for seven years only. There was no aggression or talk of revenge, as one would naturally expect under these terrible circumstances.”

11.30pm: Lorcan Bale is taken to Lucan Garda station and makes a confession.

June 15, 1973: Following Lorcan Bale’s confession, Sergeant Noonan returns to the attic in the early hours of the morning. He is accompanied by Fr Richard Mulcahy, Chief Counsellor of Opus Dei in Ireland, who is ministering both the Horgan and Bale families.

Mr Malone’s book contains a detailed description, provided by Noonan, of the contents of the attic. In addition to John Horgan’s crucified body, the attic contained a makeshift altar stand including a communion chalice containing what appear to be consecrated hosts, a bowl full of sand, a number of candles arranged in pentagram form, an alarm clock stopped at 5pm, a broken bell, two tarot cards (‘the devil’ and ‘the lovers’) containers of black and white powder (described by Noonan as not obviously identifiable) and a saucepan containing human excreta. Also folded on the attic floor is a cloak made out of a blanket, with multi-coloured handmade designs, and a red silk vest.

According to Malone, neither Noonan nor Inspector Reynolds, “thought it appropriate for the consecrated hosts be bagged and tagged with the rest of the evidence”.

They were removed and taken away by Fr Mulcahy, who also identified John’s body before it was removed from the attic and taken to Kirwin’s Undertakers.

Lorcan Bale goes once again to the field with Gardaí to show them the place where he hit John. He also shows them another spot which was the original intended scene of the crime and which he claims he rejected, after realising it was visible from the upper window of the Hollyville houses.

Bale is subsequently taken to a special court sitting in Lucan where he is formally charged with murder and remanded in custody pending trial in St Patrick’s Institution for Young Offenders.

The same morning, reports of John Horgan’s death feature in the Irish Independent and Irish Press. The reports are in generally similar terms and refer to the boy as having been found dead in a neighbour’s attic following a search.

They both state that a 14-year-old boy is being questioned “but it is believed the death was accidental.”

June 16, 1973: John Horgan’s death notice appears in the Irish Independent, stating:

“June 14, 1973 (following an accident), John, darling only child of Anne and Terry, 6 Hollyville, Palmerstown, Co Dublin. Mass of the Holy Angels, in St Philomela’s Chruch, Palmerstown, today (Saturday) at 11 o’c. Funeral immediately afterwards to Balgriffin Cemetery. “Omnia in Bonum”

However the same newspaper carries a report of “a 16-year-old youth” having been charged with the murder of John Horgan.

John Horgan’s funeral mass takes place at St Philomena’s.

Prior to the mass, Kenneth Bale is invited to attend prayers at the Horgan house in 6, Hollyville and is embraced by Mr Horgan during the ceremony.

June 18, 1973: The Montreal Gazette runs a story about John Horgan’s death, with the headline “Youth charged with murder after boy, 7, crucified.” The article states that police “found the boy’s nude and battered body with the help of tracker dogs”. A “police spokesman” is quoted as saying “the body was nailed by the hands to the office rafters in a crude form of crucifixon. It was a pretty sickening sight.”

June 1973: Local boy Michael Smallwood finds a small canvas bag in a rat hole in the field, containing torn pages from occult magazines curious artefacts and a small notebook. Ten names of local children (including John Horgan) are written in the notebook. Sergeant Noonan and Garda Terry Smyth also notice that the top branches of an ash tree in the field have been cut off, something which Noonan notes without further comment “happens occasionally after a murder”.

July 11, 1973: Coroner Bartley Sheehan adjourns the inquest into John Horgan’s death after being told that a young man has been charged with his murder. Reports of the adjournment as above appear in the Irish Independent the following day with no further details.

June-November 1973:
Lorcan Bale is examined by psychologists Dr Brian McCaffrey and Maureen Gaffney, who conclude he is of sound mind and mentally fit to stand trial.

November 27 1973: Lorcan Bale pleads guilty to the murder of John Horgan in a trial in the Central Criminal Court, presided over by Judge John Kenny. Because of his guilty plea, no details of the crime are given.

Lorcan Bale is sentenced to penal servitude for life, to be detained in St Patrick’s Institution for Young Offenders till he is 21 and then transferred to an adult prison. The judge accedes to a request by Bale’s counsel, Seamus Sorohan SC, that the two psychologists who examined him pre-trial be allowed to visit him.

November 28 1973: The Irish Times records Lorcan Bale’s trial without giving details, stating that:

“[e]nquiries into the murder were conducted, particularly by Garda Detective Inspector Reynolds, and eventually a full statement was made by the accused and all the facts were made clear.”

June 26, 1974: PR agency Murray Consultants is founded by Terence Horgan, Joe Murray and Jim Milton.

1973-1978: Lorcan Bale is detained in St Patrick’s Institution.

1975-1978: During this period, Lorcan Bale is allowed out one Sunday every two weeks or so for a meal with his family at the Skylon Hotel, accompanied by prison officers.

During this period Kenneth Bale begins writing letters to the newspapers concerned at falling moral standards in Ireland.

Lorcan Bale is transferred to Arbour Hill Prison and subsequently to an open prison.

1980: Lorcan Bale leaves prison, having been deemed by the Minister for Justice to have served his life sentence. Among the conditions attached to this release is a requirement that he report back to the authorities at regular intervals. The totality of the time served by Bale is almost identical to the span of John Horgan’s lifetime.

Summer 1986: Fr Patrick McCabe, now facing numerous allegations of paedophilia, moves into a house in Palmerstown owned by Chief Superintendent Joe McGovern.

While living in this house, he commits a sexual assault on a nine-year-old boy, to whom he gives a T-shirt and a prayer book. The boy’s mother reports the assault to the local Gardaí, who call Fr McCabe in for questioning. Fr McCabe attends this questioning in the company of a retired garda sergeant, who asserts Fr McCabe’s innocence.

Subsequently Fr McCabe visits Chief Superintendent McGovern and makes certain limited admissions, which Chief Superintendent McGovern conveys not to the investigating garda, but to his local parish priest.

When subsequently questioned by the Murphy Commission, McGovern replies that

“I didn’t report – I didn’t consider it appropriate to notify the local gardaí in case – they could even think I was meddling. I took the course that I thought was the proper course at the time. I contacted the local curate who was a very conscientious person and I knew who would take it on board and he did take it on board and he got onto the Archbishops House about the matter and he subsequently told me that he got onto the superintendent in Ballyfermot. So I think there was no omission on my part there.”

After this disclosure, the investigation stopped and no further inquiries were made by the Gardaí. Even though the Gardaí knew that Fr McCabe intended to return to the USA, no warrant was sought for his arrest.

According to the Murphy Report,

“The explanation given to the Commission by the investigating garda for the failure to take additional statements was that he did not want to expose the boy within the community as having been indecently assaulted by a priest. The Commission does not find this explanation convincing, plausible or acceptable….The Commission is of the view that this particular garda investigation was marred by Church interference which was facilitated by the Gardaí and which was material in allowing Fr McCabe to evade justice.”

October 13, 1989: Kenneth Bale dies of a heart attack at 67. He had been resuscitated after a prior heart attack by Cathal Goan, later head of the Irish national broadcaster RTÉ as well as the Irish language television station TG4, who was working in the Ordnance Survey at the time.

1992: Joe Murray, Jim Milton and Terence Horgan reach a settlement with the Revenue regarding payments made into an offshore account between 1978 and 1992 in respect of personal services rendered to overseas clients. Payment of the Revenue debt is allowed to be made through a company registered in Panama without the names of the men concerned being published as Revenue defaulters.

January 6 1996: The 1992 settlement reached by Murray Consultants with the Revenue becomes public knowledge. It is noted that, in 1988, Murray had been responsible for the Revenue campaign on self-asessment.

February 10, 1996: An Irish Times article on Murray Consultants describes Murray and Horgan as having had “connections with the right wing Catholic organisation Opus Dei when they were at UCD.”

It describes Tony O’Reilly and Independent Newspapers as important clients of the company. It also describes the business’s client list as including Investment Bank of ireland, Arcon International Resources, Heineken, IAWS, National Irish Bank, Larry Goodman, Food Industries, Arnotts, Avonmore, Golden Vale and CIE. Other directors of the company are former editor of Business and Finance Magazine Jim Milton, Dermot Breen and Jim Morrissey

November 9, 1996: It is reported that a dispute has arisen between Terence Horgan and the other directors of Murray Consultants. Legal action is subsequently taken by Mr Horgan against his co-directors.

January 25, 2000: The legal dispute between Terence Horgan and Murrays settled for an undisclosed sum.

2002: Professor Tom Kavanagh dies. He is described as a former consultant paediatrician, one of the founders of the Marist Boys Club and chairman of the Vincent de Paul Boys’ Club Central Committee.

September 30 2002: An article authored by Fr Richard Mulcahy is published detailing his friendship with Jose Maria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei, with whom he spent time in Rome as a young priest.

April 24, 2009: Fr Mulcahy dies. Obituaries describe him as the nephew of the former leader of Fine Gael and Minister for Education General Richard Mulcahy. They also describe him as the former Head of Opus Dei in Ireland.

May 24, 2011: The inquest into John Horgan’s death is re-opened in the Maldron Hotel, Dublin. As a result of this inquest, a death certificate for John is issued, for the first time, something which the Sunday Times describes as ‘an administrative oversight’.

At the inquest, the autopsy report carried out on John Horgan by the former State pathologist Dr Maurice Hickey is read into the record.

This report states that John Horgan died from a fracture of the skull and bruising and laceration of the brain as a result of severe blunt force injury or injuries to the back of the head. It also notes multiple bruises on the backs of both John’s shoulders and multiple small bruises on the fronts of both his shins.

Also read out at the inquest is a statement by Fr Richard Mulcahy in which he states:

“I went to the attic… where I saw the body of a young boy was tied to the rafters”

The statement also reads:

“Det Sgt Noonan, who was in the attic at the time, pointed out to me a silver cup and I removed from this three hosts which I retained.’

After being told by Detective Inspector Richard McDonnell, of Lucan Garda Station, that a male had been arrested for the murder of John Horgan, convicted, released and was now living outside the jurisdiction, Coroner Kieran Geraghty states that it:

“would not be appropriate to hear the inquest in full without a request by the family or for good reason.”

He adjourns it sine die (with no date for resumption).


2011 David Malone’s book on John Horgan’s murder ‘The Boy in the Attic’ is published by Mainstream Publishing.

Included in the book is an account by a schoolmate of Lorcan Bale’s, Lorcan Conroy, detailing certain aspects of Lorcan Bale’s behaviour over a six month period prior to his death.

in this account, Mr Conroy states that in the autumn of 1972 Lorcan Bale attended at school wearing a necklace made of rat skulls, which he described as having come from rats he has killed himself. Lorca Conroy also references two thefts by Bale that autumn: a bicycle from the grounds of King’s Hospital School, and the sum of £100 alleged to have been stolen by Bale from the school office after breaking into the building at night.

Mr Conroy says that he was informed by Bale in November 1972 that he had joined a secret society of adults who met weekly to perform certain rituals including nudity.

According to Mr Conroy, in the spring of 1973, Lorcan Bale brought a chalice to school and also began to speak about killing animals.

The same spring he also participated in a seance with Lorcan Bale in the attic of the Bale home, which the boys entered through the secret entrance in the wardrobe. The attic contained saucers with white powders, communication wafers, a ouija board and a child’s bicycle (subsequently confirmed to be that stolen from John Horgan).

Conroy was also shown by Bale a peephole in the attic through which he spied on persons using the family bathroom. Later that afternoon, Conroy was allegedly the subject of a physical attack by Bale in the field behind Hollyville, during which he feared for his life.

Conroy further alleges that, when travelling home on the bus with Bale on the day of John Horgan’s death, Bale told him that he intended to kill the boy next door in order to ensure good grades in his Intermediate Certificate exam.

In addition to the allegations made by Conroy, ‘The Boy in the Attic’ also makes reference to a local boy, Jimmy Browne, having suffered a scare as a result of Bale having entered his house and painted a pentagram in luminous paint on his bedroom ceiling.

It further refers to a New York priest with an interest in the occult as having fainted after looking at Lorcan Bale through the keyhole of his cell and, on awakening, telling a prison officer that he ‘had seen the face of evil’.

Another prison officer also referenced by Malone also states that, during his time in St Patrick’s Institution, Lorcan Bale was allowed to paint a black pentagram on the floor and ceiling of his cell, to hang heavy black curtains and decorate it with pictures of nuns and angels.

When asked why Bale was allowed to paint the pentagram in his cell, the same officer tells Malone “I’m really not sure. Perhaps it was easier to allow him to paint the pentagrams than to create an incident by making him remove it”.

Malone also refers to other prisoners having had difficulty sleeping due to Bale’s chanting and draws attention to the apparent suicide on May 14, 1975 of John McCarthy, another young offender with whom Lorcan Bale had recently had a dispute.

Finally, Malone makes reference to an unusual crucifix shown to him by the current owners of the Horgan family home. Apparently it had been discovered in the Horgan attic in the course of building work.

October 14, 2011
Garda John (Sean) O’Loughlin is interviewed on Liveline. In an account consistent with that quoted by Mr Malone in his book (but entirely different from that attributed to Detective Inspector Noonan in the same book) Garda O’Loughlin said he became suspicious when he quizzed Bale in his home and the killer kept glancing upstairs.

When Garda O’Loughlin entered Lorcan Bale’s room he found a hole in the ceiling, hidden by a large wardrobe that stretched from the floor.

Garda O’Loughlin added:

“I went out to the patrol car and got a lamp from the car. There was no stairwell into the attic so I stood on the bannister and pushed up the trapdoor and shone the lamp up – and what I saw there still haunts me to this day. The boy was tied to a makeshift cross, naked and obviously dead.”

Garda O’Loughlin told Liveline that he didn’t go into the attic as he wanted to preserve the evidence. He said:

“It was very, very obvious [he was dead]. He was naked and it was obvious he had been clubbed in the back of the head, it was very, very obvious he was dead. “If I’d thought there was the slightest chance he was alive I would have gone in.”

Garda O’Loughlin added:

“I got everybody out of the house to preserve the scene and then the priest came later on and I asked him, ‘Where does this lead to Father, this is black magic’. “The little boy’s body was lying on the couch at this stage and he said, ‘This is where it leads to’, gesturing to the little boy’s body.”

Also involved in the search for John was Inspector Gerry O’Carroll, subsequently part of the team investigating Philip Cairns’ disappearance.

Inspector O’Carroll told Joe Duffy how another officer barred his way when he tried to enter the Bale house. He said:

“I made to go in the front door of the house and he pushed in front of me, he was a very deeply religious man, and he said, ‘Don’t go in.”‘There’s a lot of strong men in there who’ve had their stomachs turned by what they’ve seen.’ “I said, ‘What?’, and he said, ‘He’s been crucified’.

[Later that evening’] “I drove down to Lucan and the detective said, ‘He’s in there and it’s quite extraordinary, he’s talking about his failure. Lorcan Bale was in there and in his hysteria he was talking disjointedly to a master we now know as the Dark Lord about his failure, how he had failed..”

2012 The Sunday World publishes a story identifying Lorcan Bale as currently working as an Environmental Services Manager for a London borough and associated with church groups in London.

RTÉ, BBC, UTV, The Irish Times, The Irish Independent, The Irish Examiner, The Irish Press, Sunday World, ‘The Boy In The Attic‘ by David Malone, Magill magazine, Village magazine, National Library of Ireland, publically available court and inquest reports

Previously: Philip Cairns And A Trail Of Disinformation

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99 thoughts on “The Devil Is In The Detail

    1. M

      Another great piece. That nobody else will do. We have a Satanic cult operating in this country that are responsible for many heinous crimes. And Gardai are at the centre of it.

      It’s also not a coincidence that the Garda Confidential number is 1 800 666 111.

      And as students of occult numerology will know, it’s not a coincidence that the numbers 911 and 666 are contained therein. Or that Childline UK have the number 1800 666 666. Great job dude.

      1. Harry Molloy

        Not disputing anything you are saying but why would they label their devious news so obviously?

      2. Kieran NYC

        I look forward to your piles of evidence that aren’t just ‘phone numbers that are easy to remember’.

  1. Jimmee

    Before anyone comments that BS has better journalism than the newspapers remember that this article is based on the collection of journalism from all the other papers over the years.

    1. Bangashyte

      Sure it’s a scrapbook of Internet searches but nobody else is doing these except BS so there’s that

    2. 15 cent

      yea, collection of journalism .. eg. ‘He was found in the attic. His death was accidental.’ .. with no further explanation. great journalism .. yea, credit those journalists. those journalists who were complicit in covering up for rich pedos. *rolls eyes to heaven*

    3. louislefronde

      C’mon. The journalists in the other papers (Irish Times, and Independent) have the resources, but seem to do F**k all these days except copy from Twitter, The Guardian, The Telegraph, NY Times etc.

      At least Broadsheet is out there, making the effort and bringing the narrative together which is refreshing as it is interesting.

    1. newsjustin

      It’s lengthy and rambling. It has a pile of interesting facts but it’s hard to know what point is being made.

  2. Harry Molloy

    Holy Jesus!

    And Lorcan Bale is out there, did it say when he was released?

    Is the implication, or question, whether there were some strange rituals occurring which may have influenced his young mind?

  3. Cynic3000

    Opus Dei are a cancer in Irish society and should be outlawed. They seek out professionals and high ranking civil servants and encourage them to put their religious conviction before all else, including state laws.

    There were a lot of Catholic family associations in Ireland during the 60s, 70s and 80s with masses being held in homes and priests given honourable guest status. No wonder so many children were abused and murdered and no wonder so many of the incidents were covered up and ignored by employees of the state.

    Children have an innate sense of evil. That’s why so many clergy seemed scary to us as kids. Because they were.

    1. louislefronde

      I agree, Opus Dei is an evil cult formed by a Spanish Facist with its dirty tentacles all over the leavers of state. They have two schools in the foothills of the Dublin mountains, Rockbrook and Rosemont where they basically brainwash their kids with ultra conservative catholic doctrines.

      Personally, I would love to see Anonymous ‘do a job’ on Opus Dei and release their membership database, so that we can all see exactly who these self-annointed shower of catholic fascists are and how they have mutated like a virus into the political, legal, medical and banking establishments.

  4. boggo

    dont know what relevance murray consultants or Opus Dei has to this. Handy targets for bs. Lorcan Bale went to the dark side. end of.

        1. David Heaton

          I would have thought that the fact that the victim’s father was a leading member of a secret religious right organisation to which the judge who heard the case also belonged – and also in his professional capacity acted for at least one major media organisation along with many many other important clients – might provide an explanation as to why this matter has received so little coverage over the years.

          I am not criticising Mr Horgan for this – I can understand that to him his personal grief may supersede everything else. But it is in the public interest – and indeed in the interest of his son as a citizen of the State – that such cases be fully and properly publicly discussed. I think Broadsheet has illustrated very well this point in this and its previous article on Philip Ciarns.

          In short, the public needs to know the truth about things which happen. This is not a view to which Opus Dei woudl probably subscribe, but a fundamental tenet of democracy. Well done Broadsheet for illustrating this so clearly.

    1. moould

      lots of backslapping here but it’s actually bad practice to be throwing in irrelevant information.

      Unless you can link this stuff together coherently we’re just reading your notes.

      1. Palmerston


        You mean like Gerry O’Carroll who always has a coherent story… even when it’s inconsistent with another story he’s telling the same day.

        The point of journalism is not simply to provide answers, any answers.

        It is to raise questions which, if raised, will hopefully lead to the correct answers.

        In a case involving murder, there should be a full public hearing, either at an inquest or at trial. I could understand adjourning the inquest sine dei if a full hearing had taken place at trial and been reported on. But this did not happen.

        It’s interesting that someone mentioned the Tom O’Gorman case because this was another case which merited a full public hearing but in this case because of an insanity verdict there was no full hearing. I see that the family of the victim in this case are seeking to have the inquest re-opened and I hope this happens and that it is not just a formality like the re-opening of the Horgan inquest.

        Having read the above it appears that the main evidence against 16 year old Lorcan Bale was his own confession and the fact that the dead boy was found in an attic which could have been accessed from his bedroom (and in fact was capable of being accessed by at least one other entrance as well). 16 year olds require the protection of the law and a fair trial too.

        It seems that all that needs to be done to ensure a death avoids proper investigation is to throw in a satanic or pseudo satanic element. And possibly a few false leads as well.

        1. moould

          what exactly are the questions being raised?

          there is nothing here that can’t be explained by the simple fact that, in the era of The Omen and The Exorcist, publicity was understandably kept to a minimum. that’s it. the rest is innuendo

          1. Palmerston

            Quite the contrary, the most recent adjournment of the inquest was in 2011, long after the era of the Omen and the Exorcist, and if there were still any concerns about that the Gardai wouldn’t have been talking to the newspapers in such lurid detail.

            All of the above are what I take from the piece.

            I don’t see any innuendo here other than a piece pointing out failure to provide information to the public when it should have been so provided and putting forward all information which may be relevant to the causes and consequences of such failure.

  5. boggo

    the other interesting connection is that lorcan bale is a cousin of Thomas O’Gorman who was killed by Saverio Bellante.

  6. Jake38

    Ahh, the good old days.

    I think we should leave the EU and it would all come flooding back.

  7. Davros

    “occult magazines curious artefacts and a small notebook. Ten names of local children (including John Horgan) are written in the notebook. Sergeant Noonan and Garda Terry Smyth also notice that the top branches of an ash tree in the field have been cut off, something which Noonan notes without further comment “happens occasionally after a murder

    2 questions:
    What are occult magazines when they’re at home, do they have titles etc I imagine these wouldn’t have exactly been in the news agents in old timey Ireland.

    Why is cutting of the branches of an ash tree a thing?

    1. edalicious

      Yeah, I was wondering about the ash thing too. I presume it’s some kind of folklore thing, like people went and cut the branches to ward off evil spirits because of the satanic nature of the murder.

      1. Palmerston

        I can find nothing on it online.

        Obviously you need to have years of experience as a Guard before that kind of esoteric knowledge is disclosed to you.

        1. The Old Boy

          Esoteric is putting it mildly. It sounds more like a remark by Sergeant Pluck or Policeman MacCruiskeen.

          1. ahjayzis

            “….something which Noonan notes without further comment “happens occasionally after a murder”, before re-adjusting the potato hanging from a string tied to his belt, which was the style at the time.”

      2. Davros

        Also that a guard happens to be an expert on Celtic folklore “Missing branch? Must be the local pagans reacting to this murder “. Is he mixing up Paganism and Satanism? Pagans are usually chill druid types, the pentagram is mostly to do with contemporary Wicca. Am not saying some local creeps didn’t kill a kid in an attic, more if they did they may not have been consistent in their understanding of mythology.

        1. Steph Pinker

          In Pagan Ireland the Rowan Ash tree was venerated by the Druids; like Oak, Hazel, any of the thorn trees, Mistletoe and Holly, they were said to have magical properties, although the Rowan tree *supposedly* had powers to protect against the rising of the dead, and the Devil, and branches were cut off the tree and placed accordingly to prevent such occurrences.

  8. boggo

    Panti Bliss is a far greater threat to Irish Society than Opus Dei. Panti doesnt think the planning laws apply to him/her.

    1. Kieran NYC

      That’s an impressive attempt at shoehorning your repressed sexuality in there. Fair play.

  9. Jónsi

    Are there any further details on the two boys that went missing in 1969? Were they found?

      1. Buswells Babe

        I did a search just now and nothing further reported. They appear to have turned up. A Franz of the right age is now working in public relations. As regards John Dillon, there’s quite a sad story here. Not sure if it’s the same person. If it is, it underlines the fact that Palmerstown probably wasn’t the best place for kids to grow up, back in the 60s.

  10. moould

    I really don’t see what’s being added here. It’s like David Icke’s notes before he adds in ‘Lizards!’ to explain it all, except minus the narrative coherence.

    Seriously. The kid was murdered by a satanist, who later got out of prison pretty early. But we could have read the book for that. What is the relevance of all of the other stuff, really?

        1. Palmerston

          Subject to what the honourable Bodger may have to say, I would suggest as a starting point the following:-

          (i) that a full and complete inquest into any death is a public necessity
          (ii) that sensitivity to the feelings of a bereaved family or fear of copycat crime is not an excuse for dispensing with this
          (iii) that proper Gardai records of cases should be kept
          (iv) that Gardai should not discuss cases in which they were involved unless they have an accurate memory of these records [Cairns]
          (v) that if a Gardai or former Gardai gives an account which is inconsistent with the record, the Gardai as a force be required to correct or alternatively investigate this [Cairns also]
          (v) that Gardai apply no less stringent principles of thorough investigation and accurate reporting to crimes with apparent satanic (or, if preferred, pseudo-satanic) elements than to other crimes [also Cairns, Cynthia Owen]
          (vi) that journalists understand the need for complete and full reporting of serious crime is not less important, but even more important, in cases which are gruesome or involve the death of a child [Cairns also, also Tom O’Gorman]
          (vi) that devout people appear to disappear rather often [Cairns and others also]
          (vii) that the risk of sexual abuse of such children appears high [Murphy Report]
          (viii) that even senior members of the Gardai, when aware of such abuse, do not report it
          (viii) that child offenders are as entitled to a full and fair trial as adult offenders, and that particular safeguards should be introduced to protect them
          (ix) that tale-spinning by members of the Gardai insults not only the investigation of crime but also our common sense [Cairns also]
          (x) that it appears quite easy to avoid or confuse proper investigation of a death by attributing ot it a satanic element. [Cairns also]

          All backed up by facts above.
          That wasn’t so difficult was it? Or would you still prefer to be spoon-fed whatever Gerry O’Carroll has on the menu for the day?

          1. moould

            None of these are conclusions of the analysis of the case at hand, but rather general observations, and certainly not backed up by the facts. There’s also a lot of retrospective analysis going on here too which is confusing the issue

            (i) that is in the gift of the coroner
            (ii) debatable
            (iii) general observation
            (iv) again, a general observation
            (v) there are inconsistencies, but no meaningful contradictions, which is pretty standard human behaviour. No two people remember the same thing identically
            (v) irrelevant
            (vi) debatable
            (vi) statistics to back this up?
            (vii) ‘appears’
            (viii) unsubstantiated
            (viii) I see no evidence of an unfair trail presented
            (ix) what exactly are you suggesting? that Bale was framed?
            (x) he plead guilty. What more do you want? A signed confession from the head of the Opus Dei that they put the hoodoo on him?

            this is farcical stuff

          2. Palmerston

            Full public investigation into a death is not a coroner’s ‘gift’. It is his public duty.

            Completely differing accounts of the discovery of a murder victim’s corpse, by two named Gardai involved in the investigation, followed by a trial at which a 16 year old victim pleads guilty would seem to raise concerns, yes. Except of course if there’s an allegation of teenage satanism, in which case everyone goes ‘Aarrgh. Keep it quiet.’

            For instance, who actually saw John Horgan’s body in crucifxion mode? These two detectives, and the priest who identified him, it seems. And then there’s the fact that evidence was handed over to that priest. Who wasn’t just a priest, but a member of a secret religious organisation to whom the victim, at any rate, belonged. It seems that – at best – concern for the parents, deference to religion and native superstition appears to have combined to result in a very unsatisfactory state of affairs.

            i don’t know if Bale was framed. But I am pretty sure from the above that the inquest
            ought to be re-opened and sworn evidence heard from both McLoughlin and Noonan, and the discrepancies between their statements clarified.

          3. Palmerston

            So, tell me, Moould, how do you explain the discrepancies between the Gardai statements?

          4. moould

            you do realise that you’re not reading the two guards signed statements, but what bodger typed out from the guys book? so, third hand at best? not worth a jot

            even at that, the two accounts agree on the major facts of what took place when the body was discovered. the discrepancies are not contradictions, and certainly do not point to any interpretation other than the culpability of the individual who admitted his guilt of the crime.

            Seriously. Try and string together what is reported above in any way other than Bale murdered Horgan.

          5. Palmerston

            Moould, the whole point of my comment was that in the absence of an inquest or contested trial there’s no way of knowing what the guards had in their signed statements.

            It would have been helpful if Malone had put the inconsistencies between the two accounts to both guards involved.

            However, unlike the coroner, he wasn’t under a public duty to investigate.

            In my opinion Broadsheet is right to highlight this issue.

            Presumably it was the inconsistency in Garda leaks in the Philip Cairns case that brought the Bale case to mind?

            The accounts do NOT agree on the major facts other than that John Horgan’s body was found in a crucifix position in the attic, and there was an entrance to the attic both from Bale’s bedroom and from the landing. Noonan’s account has Bale directing him to the attic. This is very different from Horgan’s account where he goes to the attic on his own initiative.

          6. T Murman

            currently the coroner for County Donegal cites Mary Boyles mother’s feelings as a reason not to hold an inquest into her disappearance in 1977!

            Surely an inquest should be held in the Public interest and not take into account anyone else, especially in a case as disturbing as hers

          7. Cora Pear

            Appalling. Everything is based on the premise that children are the property of their parents/teachers/church etc.

            Appalling disregard for childrens’ rights and the right of the community generally to have murders or potential murders properly investigated so that future crime can be prevented.

            If the background to the Horgan murder and Bale’s extraordinary behaviour had been properly investigated, Philip Cairns – or one or more of the many other Irish missing persons – might never have disappeared.

  11. boggo

    the inquest was heard in dublin county coroners court in the maldron hotel in tallaght.

    1. Palmerston

      Yes. And it was adjourned sine dei as it was felt that full evidence being called should not occur without the consent of the Horgan parents.

  12. Bonkers

    Absolutely shocking story. And to think he had a list of a further 10 local boys lined up. I seriously hope the London Met are keeping an eye on him

  13. louislefronde

    Once again, Broadsheet has put together an excellent timeline. Over the last few weeks, I have read through three different and equally disturbing cases: Cynthia Owens, Phillip Cairns and now the Horgan case. What seems to be coming across are incidents of police incompetence and collusion in hiding reports of child abuse. In one case, there is a strong suggestion of involvement. This raises a saying I heard many years ago, that ‘the solution to an unsolved crime, is either a police cover-up or worse involvement.’ Ireland seems to have a disproportionate number of unsolved ‘disappearance’ case per head of population for a western country of its size. Something is definitely rotten in the state of Ireland.

      1. T Murman

        dont forget the Mary Boyle case , maybe the worst of them all , only ones not implicated so far are the catholic church

        1. Cora Pear

          The assumption that paedophilia is confined to the Catholic Church is wrong, it permeates all sectors of the community. The Church was however very good at covering it up and further the culture of deference to authority promoted by the Church made it very easy for non-church people in positions of authority to get away with paedophilia even where it didn’t have a church link.

  14. Grace

    Lorcan Bale served just 7 years of a life sentence, and seemed to have been treated very well indeed – Sundays with his family? Transferred to an open prison? Either he was the best behaved prisoner ever or he had someone pulling strings on his behalf. What a tragic, and senseless waste of a young kids life, Bale’s punishment didn’t exactly fit the crime.

  15. Louislefronde

    Another bizarre case is the story of a woman who committed a murder in Greystones back in the early 70’s and was never sent forward for trial because her uncle was the Judge who oversaw the preliminary inquiry and threw the case out. It seems a lot of very dodgy things went down in the 70’s and 80’s

  16. rory

    Years later, an unusual crucifix was discovered in the Horgan attic.

    How was it unusual?


  17. Truth in the News

    The research material collated by Bodger raises questions on what influences,
    individuals or indeed groups Loarcan Bale may have come into contact with
    Given that he was only 16 when he committed the murder and confessed to it
    It gives rise to the suspicion that there were other forces at work, then we have
    the release from custody in 1980 after comitting a murder of a 7 year old child
    that he knew, its clear that very powerful people had more than a passing interest
    and why the inquest delayed for years, while Opus Dei may not have the best
    reputation due their secrecy and rituals, it is doubtful if they would engage in
    satanic rituals, however its not beyond a possibility that those who engaged in
    satanic cults could also be members of Opus Dei and were able to pull the strings.
    While Opus Dei is not a large organisation in Ireland, it has considerable influence
    and very powerful friends, and one very large legal practice in Dublin City should
    be able to fill us in on who is who in the organisation or maybe they are unable
    to due to all the chinese walls they constucted in their office layouts.

    1. Louis Lefronde

      Throughout the 70’s and early 80’s there were rumours of satanic practices in Dublin. Now this, as one commentator mentioned above might have been fuelled by a glut of horror movies like the exorcist, and people like a good yarn. There may have been plonkers playing pretend witchcraft, there may have been some into Wicca. Who knows for sure? But the truth is, evil has a very human face.

      What is clear from this and many other cases, is the existence of people who have aided and abetted known pedophiles who preyed on children. These people provided the support, covered up the behaviour or worse could have done something about it but instead turned a blind eye. Supporters, abettors, conspirators or collaborators many of them were and are ‘pillars of the community. Doctors, Solicitors, Civil Servants Senior Members of the Gardai, businessmen. More than a few were / are in Opus Dei, that odious self-selecting despicable entity which masquerades as Christian.

      Organisations like Opus Dei are dangerous to a free and democratic society by corrupting not only individuals but also institutions of state. Members who promote each other to the disadvantage of the many. The result being the perversion of justice, and we the taxpayers have to pay for the depravity of the prelates. The church was supposed to compensate the state for institutional clerical abuse. What the taxpayer got was a deal that let the church off lightly. How did that happen, you might ask? Well when the likes of Opus Dei have their place men in situ, it’s easy to understand.

      If the Pope could do us a favour before he visits us again it would be to suppress that odious coven of parasites known as Opus Dei and their fellow travellers.

  18. Eamonn

    Both the death of John Horgan and the disappearance of Philip Cairns demonstrate similarity in terms of a history of disinformation by Gardai and subsequently by newspapers. Maybe this is a characteristic of many major crimes in this jurisdiction. If so it should be corrected, and Broadsheet is right to highlight it.

    But, over and above this, the Horgan and Cairns cases share common elements from a crime point of view.

    The fact that the two boys were from extremely devout homes, as was the perpetrator in the Horgan case.
    The crucifixion of John Horgan and the reappearance of Philip Cairns’ schoolbag with religion books missing.
    Reports many years later of contemporaneous paedophilia in the areas in which the boys lived. In Philip Cairns’ case, the paedophile ring is alleged to have involved a priest, and met in a pub. In Horgan, the allegations also involved a priest, who was a friend of a chief garda superintendent, and an investigation subsequently suppressed.

    The big difference between the two cases is that in the Horgan case the body and perpetrator were found extraordinarily quickly and in the Cairns case no body or perpetrator was found at all. The perpetrator in the Horgan case, Lorcan Bale, was a youth living next door to the victim, with a family connection to the Legion of Mary and prayer groups. Such details as have been disclosed in relation to Lorcan Bale indicate a detailed knowledge of the occult. They also indicate spontaneous but apparently thorough preparation of the crime, but extremely poor attempts to avoid discovery, and no attempt to explain his crime or put up any defence.

    The clear implication of the above is that Lorcan Bale was not acting alone but was under the influence of a religious cult – not necessarily Opus Dei as such, but perhaps a group within that or another religious organisation, such as the Legion of Mary, or a prayer group linked to his local church – Philip Cairns was also a member of the Legion of Mary, and a similar prayer group.

    As such one would have thought that any member of the Gardai investigating the Philip Cairns case should look again at the Lorcan Bale case, interview Lorcan Bale and also try to ascertain links between people living in Palmerstown at the time of Horgan’s death and people living in or around Ballyroan at the time of Philip Cairns’ disappearance.

    I have enormous sympathy for the Horgan family but Philip Cairns’ family also need their son’s disappearance to be investigated fully. In addition the public need it investigated so that this does not happen to any other child again. The photos of John Horgan and Philip Cairns show them to be happy, loved and loving children. What happened to each of them is a tragedy, and it is crucial that it does not happen to another Irish child in the future.

      1. rory

        Hi Bodger,
        There’s a lot of detail in the above post, some of which, at a superficial glance, one might not connect directly with the murder. What do you believe happened in this case?
        Also, you mention Philip Cairns early on. Do you believe there is a connection between this and the Philip Cairns disappearance? If yes, could you specify?

  19. rory

    If I suspected a group was involved, I would have traced the origins of those ‘occult magazines’. Sounds like they wouldn’t have been readily available in 1970’s Ireland, i.e. Very few people reading them, very few newsagents selling them.
    Perhaps someone had a subscription?
    Then again, occult in 1970’s Ireland might mean anything vaguely naughty, anything with socially transgressive undertones or used vaguely satanic symbols for shock effect. Jazz was considered the work of satan at one stage.

    1. Cora Pear

      There’s a statement in David Malone’s book that in or around 1971 when he was a patient in Cappagh Hospital Bale came across a periodical called ‘Man Myth and Magic’.

      There is no reference to the names of the other periodicals pages from which were found in the bag.

      In his bedroom at the time of the crime were Confessions of Alastair Crowley, along with ‘Crime and Punishment’. Almost too pat, one might think.

      Bale also had a ouija board in the attic. Not sure where he would have got this either.

      He went to school in Dublin City Centre, were such things freely purchasable there in the early 1970s?

      1. Cora Pear

        Sorry, forgot about another book found in the attic, it was ‘Mastering Witchcraft’ by Paul Hudson.

        1. Steph Pinker

          It’s not difficult to make a Ouija Board – or make it work – anyone with belief, intent and who doesn’t mind being used as a channel for bad energy can achieve this. While the boards were originally used for positive purposes in some ancient cultures and traditions in communicating with the dead, through ignorance and disrespect they have been abused.

  20. Blackboard Jungle

    again an excellent piece by Bodger, on a side note, this fupping country……”Fr Patrick McCabe, now facing numerous allegations of paedophilia, moves into a house in Palmerstown owned by Chief Superintendent Joe McGovern”

  21. Bort

    So before films and video games what was to blame for sick and violent behavior in children? Religion!

  22. Todd

    “PR agency Murray Consultants is founded by Terence Horgan, Joe Murray and Jim Milton.”

    Is it interesting that Terence Horgan is not named among the founders of Murray Consultants? Perhaps not.

    1. Cora Pear

      Well, there was a very acrimonious legal dispute. Murray Consultants were formed in 1974 (the year after John Horgan’s death) and Murray approached Horgan to join in setting it up, perhaps it was already set up then but Horgan was certainly there from close to the start, as reports from his legal dispute with Milton and Murray make clear.

  23. Pip

    Was a boarder at said school, just down the road.
    Needless to say, we knew nothing – but also were only young teenagers at the time.
    A certain kind of discretion and ‘don’t get involved’ were very big drivers back then.

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