‘The World That Philip Cairns Felt So Threatened By Is Becoming Much Clearer’




From top: Philip Cairns; Gareth O’Callaghan

Broadcaster Gareth O’Callaghan has been commenting on Facebook on the Philip Cairns case since ‘new evidence’ concerning DJ Eamonn Cooke came to light.

Mr O’Callaghan believes these ‘revelations’ are a distraction and that Philip was the victim of a paedophile ring operating  in Rathfarnham, Dublin 14/16.

Mr O’Callaghan writes:

The world that Philip Cairns felt so threatened by for many years is becoming much clearer in recent weeks.

It is a world that continues to get smaller because the people who controlled it are all getting older and dying.

Thanks to a number of individuals who have given me crucial information in recent days, we are slowly threading together a timeline of valuable insights as to what led up to Philip’s disappearance.

There have been many stories and theories in the years that have passed since Philip vanished in October 1986 – as to what might have happened to him. But one fact I have always been sure of is that someone out there knows exactly what happened; and today we are much closer to finding out what really happened.

Much of this is brand new information and I am grateful to those who have been brave enough to share it with me.

What follows here will no doubt be difficult to read if you have been abused by someone in the past. I need to say that at the outset because I am aware that there is information here that will deeply upset many people.

Some will chose not to believe it; others will feel hurt and uncomfortable by memories it will bring up.

Hopefully it might also help some individuals to heal from the pain of a past they have been terrified to talk about through the years.

There was once a time, not long ago, when the Catholic Church believed that it was more important to protect its paedophile priests than to safeguard the innocent children these predators preyed on. For decades the church had lived by its own rules and laws, and its priests remained untouchable.

Because of their seeming invincibility, these priests were joined in their systematic rape and abuse of young children by other ‘pillars’ of society, namely gardai, teachers, swimming instructors, scout leaders, and many other individuals parents naturally assumed their young children were safe in the care of. Within a group of influential people there is guaranteed safety in numbers.

Some of these children died as a result of their abuse, while others ‘disappeared’ because – in deciding that they couldn’t take anymore of the pain – they wanted to tell someone that their young lives were slowly being destroyed.

Sadly the reason they disappeared was because they disclosed their abuse to the wrong person.

I believe this is what happened to Philip Cairns.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Ireland was awash with paedophile rings. Each group was autonomous and anonymous; but each group would have known of other neighbouring rings.

Secrecy and protection were the key words to the survival of these groups and their members, no matter what that protection entailed. If you had to kill to survive, then there often was no other option.

Evidence shows now that the archdiocese of Dublin was home to some of the most vile and violent paedophile rings in the country. Rathfarnham was the home of one of the most secretive and dangerous rings of predators that ever existed.

No one on the outside would have suspected anything of the sort because of its upmarket status back then. Its leafy, wealthy appearance gave the impression of stability and contentment.

It was perfect for the crimes that were committed against children whose lives were threatened if they dared to speak out. Unfortunately Philip was unique in that he was prepared to speak out against his abusers.

In 1971, Archbishop John Charles McQuaid appointed a priest called Patrick Tuohy to Ringsend church in Dublin. Tuohy would remain there until 1973 when he was appointed parish priest of Rathfarnham.

As soon as Fr Tuohy had settled into life in his new parish he started to abuse young boys. Tuohy was a close friend of McQuaid – another low-profile paedophile – who died in April 1973. Tuohy’s appointment to Rathfarnham was made by McQuaid’s successor, Dermot Ryan.

Tuohy set up a newspaper recycling project and encouraged the young boys from the local national schools to get involved. He suggested they collect old newspapers from their neighbourhoods and bring them to a large recycling collector he had installed close to the paraochial house.

He was supported by a number of local businessmen in the project – one of these was a local newsagent who is now dead. A barber has also been mentioned. Also a primary school teacher, a swimming instructor, and at least one garda (possibly three).

The garda, was actively supporting (and protecting) and willingly participating in what was going on behind the scenes, namely the abuse of many of the young boys who had become involved in the newspaper recycling project.

It didn’t just stop at the recycling business. Tuohy, with the help of the other abusers, used every opportunity he could get to groom young boys.

Philip’s abuse would have started around 1982, when he was nine years old. This is usually the age that paedophiles target young children as it’s known as the modelling age when children look for a role model who will influence them and encourage them. Children trust their role models implicitly.

However, by the time Philip had turned thirteen, the abuse was no longer sitting comfortably with him.

He was in a new school. His newly-acquired teenage status was being hindered by the experiences he could no longer bury deep within. He was discovering what it meant to have a consience; and a newly-formed conscience has no space for sexual abuse.

It’s my belief that Philip told someone in confidence about the abuse he was suffering at the hands of Tuohy. It may have been an old teacher from his primary school days. It might have been the local garda, who unknown to Philip was up to his eyes in the abuse ring. Whoever he told then reported back to Tuohy, and from that moment the dye was set. Philip’s fate was sealed.

Philip was returning to school that afternoon when he was stopped by someone he knew, someone who asked him to get into the car for a few moments.

Whoever was driving, I believe, took him to Fr Tuohy’s house where Philip was warned that if he ever talked about his abuse, he would disappear. I believe at that moment that Philip panicked and tried to run from the house.

Whatever men were in Patrick Tuohy’s parochial house that afternoon – It’s my understanding that there were three men present – were the last to see Philip Cairn’s alive. They were the same men who disposed of Philip’s body.

Patrick Tuohy was relieved of his priestly duties within a fortnight of Philip Cairns disappearance by the then archbishop Kevin McNamara.

Clearly damage limitation quickly became a priority. There was no public explanation given as to why Tuohy was being taken out of priestly circulation. He remained on in the parish in some sort of strange pastoral role until his death in 1994.

In order to understand why no one has ever been charged and convicted of paedophile offences against children in the Rathfarnham area it’s important to look at the backdrop politically and religiously in those days.

Herein lies the reasons that a gang of locally respected men who raped and abused local children got away with their disgusting crimes.

The Rathfarnham paedophile gang was heavily protected religiously and politically from outside of their jurisdiction. It consisted of approximately seven individuals. One of them was a political activist who had higher support.

Following the retirement of John Charles McQuaid as archbishop of Dublin, the papal nuncio Gaetano Alibrandi, was left with a dilemma. McQuaid’s successor was Dermot Ryan – a man many regarded as far more liberal and progressive than his medieval predecessor.

Alibrandi, an arch-conservative and protector of the old world of Pope Paul VI, hated the new liberalism of the modern church.

So it’s not surprising that Alibrandi had a very tense relationship with taoiseach Garrett Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald had even asked for Alibrandi to be removed because of his suspected closeness to the IRA and to Charles Haughey. Alibrandi had great sympathy for the provisional IRA.

Alibrandi had greater power than the bishops. He was happy for his paedophile priests to be protected at any cost.

He knew that if his priests were looked after by sympathetic gardai and political activists in the area, then no one could touch them. No one would dare to go up against them and challenge them. The risks would be huge and the cost of being so stupid would be enormous.

Alibrandi wanted the archbishop who succeeded Ryan to be ‘doctrinally sound’ -someone who would put the needs of the church and its priests above everything else, including innocent defenceless children.

He wanted an archbishop who was opposed to divorce and contraception and the the idea of any significant role for women in the church. He ignored the reports that were piling up on his desk that priests were abusing young children. He didn’t care.

The appointment of Kevin McNamara as Ryan’s successor was hopefully going to solve all of his problems. McNamara was one of those conservative old-guards of the traditional church – the same church that ignored child abuse and simply moved the abusers from one parish to another.

McNamara’s fate was also sealed however. Cancer killed him after only three years in office. But by then Philip Cairns had disappeared, never to be seen again.

A number of individuals – both men and women – have contacted me privately in recent days to say they went to Rathfarnham garda station many years ago to report savage abuse they suffered at the hands of the individuals in this paedophile ring.

Their files and statements remain ignored all these years later – locked up in some filing cabinet somewhere in that building – their complaints never investigated.

One woman told me only last week that as a young child she was taken into the Dublin mountains by three local men and repeatedly raped, and then dropped back close to where she lived.

Philip’s disappearance has been used as the ultimate threat that still hangs over the lives of so many of those young people who were abused by this group of men back in the 70s and 80s.

Each of those victims of abuse was told, “if you ever tell anyone what happened, you will end up like Philip Cairns”.

One victim told me this last week. Thirty years later he is still terrified that he will ‘vanish’ and never be found if he speaks out. Such a threat can last a lifetime for so many reasons.

I want to make a special appeal to those of you who read this piece today:

These men – these paedophiles – are dying. They are old now. Back then, they were physically stronger and more influential than they are now. Their ominous threats stand for nothing today.

A small child who is threatened can often still remain in part a small child thirty years later, terrified and frozen in time by the threat of death from someone you were afraid of – someone who is now a very old, frail and frightened man.

The fear young boys felt thirty years ago is now the same fear that a group of men in their late sixties and seventies are feeling.

I was abused in the early 70s and warned that if I ever divulged anything about what happened to me that I would also be killed.

I am still alive despite talking out for years about my abuse. I expect that my writing here today is making a small group of men feel very uncomfortable – the same men who hope that death might come to them before the world finally discovers who they are.

Time has a habit of catching up on these individuals. And that seems to be what’s happening in these past few weeks.

You might have taken Philip’s life, but he hasn’t gone away.

Gareth O’Callaghan (Facebook)

‘If DJ has information he should go to gardaí’ – missing Philip Cairns’ mum (Independent.ie)

Previously: Philip Cairns And A Trail of Disinformation

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118 thoughts on “‘The World That Philip Cairns Felt So Threatened By Is Becoming Much Clearer’

  1. fluffybiscuits

    None of this is beyond possibility. When you look at the revelations of the Tory paedophile ring that was operating for years and was said to include people from all sorts of peers to MP’s to royalty the very same may also be true. The church has a record in protecting abusers and of course not giving access to said information. The current reluctance of authorites in pursuing any investigation is going to raise many an eyebrow…

    1. J

      @ FluffY Did you ever watch the Panorama investigation into this so-called Tory paedophile ring? You should check it out .

    2. Tom Fitz

      What about wee Mary Boyle in Donegal, Irelands longest missing person. A peado ring in West Donegal. Garda Martin Ridge wrote a book ” Breaking The Silence”. Look it up.

    1. Wayne.F

      Steve, McQuaids first order after his appointment was to have files related to him destroyed. At best he was complicit in the protection and encouragement of child rapists, at worst he was one himself

    2. Catherine McEntee

      @ Steve Knievel

      No matter how well you know or think you know someone, you will never know if their mind is warped and depraved with regard to wanting to abuse children – none of us knows what’s in anothers mind or what they are capable of sexually.

  2. newsjustin


    Seems like Gareth O’Callaghan went to the “mention everything in one rambling speculative piece with some verified facts thrown in” school of journalism. Doesn’t help to convince.

    Many of the things mentioned could very well have happened. But there’s so much speculation.

      1. newsjustin

        Which bit? That Mcquaid was a pedophile?

        Like I say, could well have gone down like this, but too much speculation – some not even relevant. Are O’Callaghan”s theories on post Vatican 2 church politics vital to the investigation?

          1. The Lady Vanishes

            John Cooney suggested it in his biography of McQuaid in 1999. The Sunday Times ran extracts. Column Kenny in the Indo/Sindo got very upset about it at the time.

          2. newsjustin

            That’s my point Ivan. With so many claims and tangents in a single piece it becomes much harder to take it seriously.

        1. J

          @ Ivan. Society is better served by a justice system that respects proof. Manipulation of truth only serves to distract from issues of real importance.

          1. The Lady Vanishes

            Society is best served by free and open discussion J. The public must be credited with the intelligence to distinguish manipulation from truth.

          2. MoyestWithExcitement

            What a hero. The world needs more truthy internet comments like this. J is Ireland’s MLK.

          3. J

            @ LadyVanishes. There is a duty to present facts in an accurate manner so that the public can distinguish manipulation from truth.

          4. Bodger

            I agree. So let’s start with you, J. Rather than throwing out vague references to ‘manipulation’, can you say what facts you say are being inaccurately presented, and by whom? As you’ve used the term manipulation, which implies inaccurate presentation with motive, what do you think is the motive for the manipulation?

          5. MoyestWithExcitement

            And everyone else, clearly. I bet nobody else knew that facts were important. They have you to thank for enlightening them.

          6. Owen O'F

            ‘Truthy’, Moyest? The sheer irony of your comment (in your usual cancerous, snide fashion.) Have you read the post and the responses?

            While O’Callaghan clearly is on the side of the angels in his goal of uncovering the truth, this is turning into a depressingly familiar trial by mob. And the usual tired, useless posts by the Broadsheet faithful come trotting out. ‘That’s sounds right to me!’ ‘Something should be done!’ ‘Ugh I knew it.’

            The Cairns family have been through a hellish time almost unique to Irish families, certainly unrelatable to a bunch of internet idiots who only care about looking smug and caring before moving on to the next ’cause’ they are told about. Broadsheet too may be doing this with the best of intentions, but after the debacle of putting forward the definition of ‘research’ into the Nice attacks being a false flag operation, all you are doing is further compounding a family’s misery.

            O’Callaghan should be working with the Guards, and not blunderbussing social media.

          7. some old queen

            @ Owen O’F

            It is highly likely that given their experiences in the past that most of the victims do not trust the Gaurds? Gareth O’Callaghan is making an appeal for people to come forward. I see absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact, I applaud it.

          8. Owen O'F

            I hope something does come of it, Queenie. In the meantime, every shed-dwelling crank on the internet gets his day in the sun and more tabloid fuel. The family has to endure all this.

          9. Simon

            If so you should also be reproaching the guards for bringing up the whole Eamon Cooke debacle. That is what caused it. Broadsheet has done a great job in bringing together coverage of the Cairns story to date.

          10. rotide

            So let’s start with you, J. Rather than throwing out vague references to ‘manipulation’, can you say what facts you say are being inaccurately presented, and by whom?

            He already did pose the question above. You ignored it.

            Stop pretending to be a journalist bodger and go back to throwing out the usual stuff to appease the mob.

          11. Saturday Night Newsround

            You must be a journalist yourself, Rotide, if you seriously think that anyone in Ireland would pretend to be one given the way in which our mainstream media dealt with Denis O’Brien and the Philip Cairns story (to give just two examples).

            Their holier than thou response to social media is as obviously and pathetically insecure as your ad hominem style of argument and more than a tad hypocritical given the level of spoofing, bluffing and embarrassing personal disclosures they engage in on a daily basis.

            It might be more appropriate to describe Bodger as one of the few real journalists out there, doing penance for the misdeeds of others in the profession by putting up with the likes of you.

          12. Saturday Night Newsround

            Only someone who was a journalist themselves could be deluded enough to think that anyone else would ‘pretend’ to be one.

            The holier than thou response of the mainstream press to social media discussion of issues they’ve failed to cover adequately is as obviously and pathetically insecure as your ad hominem style of argument.

            It’s also more than more than a tad hypocritical given the level of spoofing, bluffing and embarrassing personal disclosures they engage in on a daily basis.

            To hijack a post on a topic such as this to score points against either Broadsheet or ‘social media’ under the excuse of concern for the Cairns family is the lowest form of engagement and equally hypocritical.

            In fact to anyone capable of putting personal considerations aside it’s obvious that Bodger is one of the few genuine journalists out there, doing penance for the incompetence of others in the profession by putting up with the likes of trolls like you.

          13. D'El Boy

            Well said Saturday night newsround

            As depressingly familiar as the cattle call of dribbling cranks on this thing are the inevitable lorry load of rubberneckers giving out about them

          14. Errol Gunne

            Irish journalists?

            They don’t disclose conflicts of interest e.g. their connections with rich and talentless people they write about.

            Even when those conflicts are obvious, not only from a simple google search for their names and those of their family members who they’ve also written boringly and repetitively about, but from the pathetically toadyish style of said articles.

            Internet manipulation? Please. Internet showing them up, more like it.

          15. rotide

            Lets get two things straight.

            1. I’m not a journalist.

            2. Bodger is not a journalist.

            Bodger is a very good researcher but every single one of the timelines broadsheet has published is a collection of facts first researched by actual journalists working for the *shock horror* mainstream media.

            Accusing me of disrescting anything is rich considering bodger will happily disrespect the familes of all those who died in the many atrocities he calls faked.

          16. Saturday Night Newsround

            I didn’t think you were actually a journalist, Rotide. Too literate. I was making a joke.

            Investigative journalism as I define it includes not just directly obtaining and publishing new information but also compilation and criticism of information already in the public domain. If you actually read newspaper stories on Philip Cairns you will see most of them fall into the second category (compilation) and those that don’t generally involve information obtained from anonymous Garda sources (some of whom, frankly, seem a bit unreliable). So I don’t agree with you that Broadsheet’s work on the Cairns story isn’t journalism. Pioneering investigative journalism in the strict sense it may not be – yet – but it is certainly journalism.

            The remainder of your reply rather proves my point above – which is that all your arguments are weakened by your obvious personal dislike of Bodger. Realistically it is rather unlikely that all Bodger posts are by the same person. I expect there are quite a few Bodgers and perhaps the person who did the other post you mention is not the same as the one responsible for the Philip Cairns coverage.

            It’s disappointing that posts on something as sensitive as this are hijacked by people trying to bitch and score points.

        1. Saturday Night Newsround

          That’s nice, J. So tell me, what did you think of the mainstream media coverage of Eamon Cooke (who, unlike Archbishop McQuaid, has children still alive who could potentially be impacted by the highly speculative allegations made). Did you write a letter to the paper about it? Because, frankly, even taking your criticism of O’Callaghan at his height, I can’t see how it’s any worse than the Mirror coverage of Cooke. Any views on the kangaroo justice of that?

  3. bisted

    …powerful piece…didn’t know McQuaid was a paedophile, as if his role as a facilitator wasn’t heinous enough…

  4. Maria

    Don’t let these offenders die off thinking that they have gotten away with it. They’ve ruined lived. Time for people and victims to speak out.
    Well said Gareth O’Callaghan. At least the debate has started. Hope that Justice prevails

  5. dan

    The core of this piece is true. A man who got his own daughter pregnant not prosecuted. A barber who was allowed move out of the area without prosecution. A local clergyman (not necessarily catholic). A local shopkeeper who was one of the prime suspects of Cairn’s disappearance not questioned.

      1. Liam Deliverance

        Why would you trust AGS to investigate when there is a possibility that members of AGS were abusers or at least conspirators? For all we know people have been going to AGS for the last thirty years, or more, in relation to this case and others and the local sergeant has been dead-ending the evidence and telling the person who raised it that there was nothing in it. There is always going to be crimes and criminals and victims and the whole system, our society, falls flat on it’s face when those who uphold the law decide to become criminals themselves for financial or personal gain. Trust nobody until they can prove themselves to be trustworthy.

  6. Holden MaGroin

    There is a great deal of what seems to be speculation in this piece. References or statments of proof that have been witnessed or coroboratted need to be included. Otherwise it will remain just that, speculation. I have no doubt that people have probably spoken to GO’C and that terrible, terrible things happened to those poor children but until he approaches the Gardai with proof there’s nothing to be done.

  7. J

    Present the evidence to the guards and allow justice to be served. Why is such a serious case being played out on social media? There are families involved.

    1. Simon

      Are you suggesting restriction of freedom of expression on social media? I would suggest that the reason it is being played out on social media is because of (a) lack of proper coverage in mainstream media, particularly re Cooke story, which the public simply are not swallowing (b) a trail of misinformation by the guards (c) a history -stretching over many decades pre 1990s – of lack of coverage by media into either paedophilia generally or church abuses – which everyone knew existed but were subject to an omerta of silence (d) a better educated and more confident plebian class who know from the reports of past enquiries conducted by High Court judges that those in positions of power have been able to get away with much wrong precisely by hiding behind statements like ‘manipulation’ and ‘think of the family’. I really suggest you read these reports and Mary Raftery’s book before commenting further.

    2. Anne

      Go read it again.. the Guards have been approached on numerous occasions by victims and nothing has been done… The Irish solution is what’s being done – nothing and hopefully it’ll go away.

      Social media will hopefully put a bit of fear into these decrepit yokes. The fear that they’ll be named and shamed. Which is hopefully what will be done if no one listens to the victims of these perverts.

      Death is too easy for these disgusting child rapists..

  8. steve knievel

    A lot of speculation here. the stuff about Cairns is interesting and must be tough reading for his mother and family.

    1. Simon

      No tougher than the guards’ leaks over the years – and possibly a lot more relevant.

  9. Junkface

    Oh God, its awful what that poor kid would have gone through. No surprises to see the Catholic church connected to it. Paedophilia is what they do best

  10. some old queen

    The key here is for the people who originally made the complaints to come forward again and it is fairly obvious that Gareth has been speaking to some of them already.

    Those monsters now only hold whatever control the victims allow them to hold. I hope the survivors can find the courage in themselves to speak out and give that frozen little child the justice he or she deserves.

  11. Linda

    If you search for theories on tjiscase there is an article from 2002 in the indo that says very much the same thing
    This is a long discussed theory. This is a more fleshed out version

    1. DubLoony

      Which is why it needs to be brought to the only authoriites who have the power to investigate fully. Would have thought witness testimony should be taken serioulsy & (no disrespect to BS) not to frivilous curren affairs site.

      1. Anne

        frivilous ? The cheek of it.. I get more accurate news here than the State Broadcaster… that’s not much of a compliment in fairness… because they’re so atrocious – RTE that is.

        But Broadsheet do some great work..

  12. phil

    The thing I cant get my head around is the biggest concern of the establishment is not the rape and murder of children , its the possibility of falsely accusing another establishment figure of being the perpetrator, or maybe the establishment being associated with a convicted peado …

    1. Harry Molloy

      they should be given equal weight, we all have the right to a good name and the assumption of innocence until proven otherwise, if you’re ever au the wrong end of an accusation it will be the most important thing in the world to you.

      obviously every single effort should be exhausted in investigating the case but we don’t want to drag names through the mud in doing so – look at the UK over the last few years. Ask Cliff Richard

      1. smiffy

        It’s not just a question of the alleged perpetrators, in this case. O’Callaghan is making serious claims that Philip Cairns was a victim of sexual abuse for four years prior to his disappearance. Has he brought this information to the Gardaí? More importantly, did he consult the Cairns family before he decided to broadcast it on social media? If not, it’s despicable stuff.

        This is a family still grieving for a child, and at the centre of huge media interest over decades. Suggesting that someone should think twice before making unsubstantiated allegations online isn’t a question of trying to censor social media. It’s simply human decency, and concern for the family.

      2. Anne

        we all have the right to a good name and the assumption of innocence until proven otherwise,

        That’s not how it’s supposed to work with accusations of child abuse Harold.. These people need to be quarantined immediately.. not presumed innocent.

        1. rotide


          You should do one of your little research runs and look a program called Brass Eye

      3. Huh?

        Open question because I’m not clear about what you’re saying. Rape and murder should be given equal weight to defamation and libel, presumably only when it comes to taking care in an investigation not to commit crimes during that process, right? As in, it’s as important to ensure no one is defamed while trying to find out who committed the murder? Not that those crimes are on a par, right?

        1. Harry Molloy

          they’re both protected under the same constitutional article, 40.3.2 I think, can’t check now.
          Practically a call may have to be made in certain situations but overall, it’s very possible to conduct an investigation while having due regard to the fact that no one has been found guilty yet so you don’t treat them as such.
          It’s standard procedure for that reason and also to avoid prejudicing and jury of course which could collapse the trial altogether.

  13. J

    @ Bodger I agree. So let’s start with you, J. Rather than throwing out vague references to ‘manipulation’, can you say what facts you say are being inaccurately presented, and by whom? As you’ve used the term manipulation, which implies inaccurate presentation with motive, what do you think is the motive for the manipulation?

    Bodger , the burden of proof in establishing the truth lies with you and not me as a BS commenter. My comment is a fair one based on the speculative nature of the post. “As you’ve used the term manipulation, which implies inaccurate presentation with motive ” … Well, you could also infer that the manipulaiton of truth is merely the presentation of truth in such a manner as to influence or shape the thoughts of the reader. Personally , I believe the motive to be a noble one, driven by the pursuit of justice .For this reason, I don’t believe it should be played out on BS nor on facebook. The evidence should be brought to the guards .

    1. The Lady Vanishes

      This is more Jesuitical than a Clongowes summer barbie. Fupp the motive. Tell us simply, J, what facts are being manipulated by whom and how? As a long term reader – who has just finished rereading Maeve Noland’s investigation in the mainstream (NOT social) media in the 1990s – which basically says the same thing as O’Callaghan above – I and others deserve to know how we are being manipulated?

      And while we are on the subject of the family we must consider the distress that false allegations of manipulation may cause them. At the very least it’s only fair – and not unreasonable – for you to spell out exactly what you mean in your numerous comments above. Read the Maeve Inland piece. This is not just a ‘social media’ issue. And even if it were no reason to dismiss it like that on that basis. The world is moving on and public debate is now becoming that – truly public.

      1. J

        @ Ladyvanishes A careful and conscientious investigation of facts should be the focus not a kangaroo courting of a very sensitive case . This post is speculative in nature. Smiffy has already highlighted some of the assumptions that have been made . I agree that the overriding concern should be the pursuit of justice, but I disagree on the vehicle that is being used in this particular case.

        1. The Lady Vanishes

          J, the newspapers and the Gardai have been publishing frankly speculative stories about Philip Cairns’ death for decades (for details, see previous Broadsheet Disinformation post). The most charitable motive to be attributed to such pieces is that they are published in the hope of getting further information from members of the public.

          O’Callaghan’s post carries greater weight insofar as he gives his own name (unlike the wholly unnamed Garda sources) and he has only given one account (unlike the many different accounts given by Gardai and newspapers).

          You use terms like ‘burden of proof’, ‘justice’ and ‘kangaroo court’. The implication is that discussing Philip Cairns’ murder on social media breaches the rule of law. That is not the case. Freedom of expression is a fundamental principle of the rule of law. Obviously it is subject to constraints in accordance with law, such as the law of defamation and the right to privacy. However it does not appear that they are breached in this case. If you feel that privacy or defamation law should be extended, that is a separate question. But freedom of expression is not something which belongs only to newspapers. It belongs to the individual citizen and online journalism as well. People are entitled to discuss these matters within the boundaries of the law and I see nothing in the post which goes outside that. Seeking to restrict such discussion – even where it does not correspond with your opinion or your sense of good taste – is in breach of a fundamental principle of the rule of law itself. Don’t lower the law by citing terms in support of restrictions on freedom of expression.

          1. Saturday Night Newsround

            I would add to the Lady Vanishes’ comment above that the newspapers have also all covered the ‘paedophile allegations against Archbishop McQuaid’ story. When Cooney’s book (which detailed two complaints) came out in 1999 the paedophile allegations were featured in all the major newspapers.

            So why is O’Callaghan being pilloried for covering these and Broadsheet for covering his post? And why are O’Callaghan and Broadsheet being criticised for suggesting an alternative perpetrator to Cooke on the same evidence as that put forward by the gardai – the word of an anonymous person or persons? Is it because the newspapers and the Gardai are ‘official’ and we must respect officialdom.

            Well, we respected officialdom for years and look where that got us. I agree with the commenters below who say read the inquiry and tribunal reports. They were reports compiled by the highest law officers in the land, according to the rules of fair procedures. They display a sad litany of paedophiliac corruption in McQuaid’s church. Where such corruption is present in an institution so tightly controlled by one man – – and complaints have been made against that man by two individuals – I think it’s not unreasonable to consider the possibility that he himself might have had paedophiliac inclinations. You don’t have to have the breathtaking intellectual skill and fine taste of the average Irish hack to work that one out.

      1. The Lady Vanishes

        Geraldine Niland, not Maeve, my apologies.

        You’ll see her piece from 1989 summarised on Broadsheet’s Philip Cairns’ post here (I have read it in full in the archives and I am satisfied Broadsheet’s summary is accurate, if you disagree you are of course free to post). It does fit in with O’Callaghan’s assertions above. This cannot be simply dismissed as a ‘social media issue’. Nor should it simply be dismissed on that basis.

        October 22 1989: A Sunday Independent investigation into Philip Cairns by journalist Geraldine Niland concludes that Philip was offered and accepted a lift back to school by an adult male close to him whom he knew and respected. It states that Philip was approached at the junction of Ballyroan Road and Ballyroan Crescent and accepted the lift because he knew the man would be going that way anyway.

        The adult man drove him to the school but did not stop there. Geraldine Niland says the man lived and worked locally. He was not a sex offender. He was almost certainly interviewed by gardaí in their investigations. The removal of the religious books was a deliberate ploy to point gardaí in the direction of a sect or cult. Only the religious books were removed from the bag.

  14. cynthia owen

    Sometimes victims need the media and social media to get their stories out there, having tried like myself, for 23 years to get justice through the proper channels, ie, the Garda, the Dept of Justice, and GSOC, where do we go when they are not listening???

    Here is my response to the post on Facebook, to Gareth’s post.

    “Gareth thank you for your bravery in openly admitting your abuse, its not easy for us to be so open, but thankfully it is getting easier. I was also taken to the Dublin Mountains to the Hellfire Club in Rathfarnham by one of the three Garda who were abusing me in a Dalkey Pedophile ring in 1973. This man took me there a few times and “sold” me to a paedophile ring, that I can only assume were from the Rathfarnham area. In Dalkey alone in the 60’s – 70’s and 80’s there was up to three different rings operating out of Dalkey, so I know what you say is absolutely true. I also know that these men were protected, and are still being protected today.

    One of the men who abused me was the church clerk, and the Archdiocese have told me that he has come to their attention several times. If anyone wants “clarification” of a priest of any member of the Catholic church that abused them, or they want to report a member of the Catholic Church to the Archdiocese they can ring and speak to the Child Protection Dept, where they can ask for information about a particular priest or report a priest to them, or a nun. And especially if that nun or priest is still alive and is still a risk they can report that risk to them. Their number is Dublin, 01-8360314 thier call will be treated in confidence.

    To come back to my childhood, when I threatened my mother who sold me to these men that I was going to tell, I was taken from my family home on more than one occasion and was threatened with my life, by more than one man in the ring. Within the community these men were “pillars of society” and they kept a watchful eye on me both in school, and on a day to day basis, and if I stepped out of line, they would report to my mother and warn her to keep me under control.

    However I am now 54, and they are all in their 80’s and I am no longer afraid. I have battled against them for 23 years now looking for justice, but am no nearer getting justice from the Garda in Dunleary who are still protecting them than I was 23 years ago, but that will never stop me, never stop doing what you are doing Gareth O’Callaghan we are not small frightened children anymore, we are now tall brave adults, who have grown up and come back for the men who only thought they had destroyed us, they were wrong.”

  15. Tish Mahorey

    It’s really quite incredible the amount of people even today who seek to undermine, mock and discredit people like O’Callaghan are exposing the sexual abuse of children. It begs the question are they involved themselves in abuse or are they protecting abuser parents, uncles, grandparents?

  16. Tish Mahorey

    McQuaid used An Garda Siochana to spy on members of the public when he was Archbishop. There is documentary evidence of this, reports by special branch officers on various individuals movements and associations delivered directly to McQuaid.

    So you had the state police force reporting to the church who had no authority to direct or receive such reports.

    The Church operated a parallel state within a state and the damage to people’s lives was immense.

  17. Anne

    Lets see RTE do the same over here –

    The hunt for Britain’s paedophiles


    For example, should we prosecute old men whose crimes were committed over 30 years ago? This programme takes viewers right into the heart of the debate. Wilfred Thelman owns a cottage called ‘Hazelcot’. One of the rooms is virtually a shrine to Hazel Ascot. Before his arrest he was asked if he was still interested in ‘young girls’. He replied: ‘I am too old for anything like that now. I am 80 years old.’

    A year later he was sentenced at the Central Criminal Court in London after pleading guilty to charges including indecent assault on several victims. The BBC presents the evidence graphically yet unemotionally. In seized footage filmed by one of Thelman’s fellow Hazel Ascot fans, we see this pathetic old man preparing a 10-year-old girl for a session of buggery. He is given a suspended sentence and goes on the sex offenders’ register.

    There you go now.. 80 years of age and still raping children.

  18. kellma

    Gruesome is still not a strong enough word to describe that…… These people will stop at nothing to satisfy their carnal desires. And they operate off the radar so collaboration etc. is how they do what they do. Preying on vulnerable little people and destroying their futures, their lives. It is just horrific. I can’t even imagine what that child’s parents must feel every day and I hope with every bone in my body that I am never in a situation like that.

  19. Gary

    Mary Boyle,Philip Cairns and countless more children whose lives were destroyed by the instituitions that were supposed to protect them.Who will guard the guards?The Catholic Church has never been properly dealt with and to this day wields an influence that is not just outrageous but absurd.

  20. Truth in the News

    This needs the establishment of a an Independent Statutory Body to take possession
    of all documentation the Guards have, and start the proceedure to gather and collate
    all new evidence even allegations and claims, yes some of it may be not correct
    but it serves the purpose of eliminating false leads.
    The Guards as they are currently performing to date with all sort of media leaks that end up as diversions, need to be investigated themselves, so lets forget about
    them doing any investigation, so outside competent people need to brought in.
    There are couple of Independent members of Government, its time they called the
    shots, don’t expect Fine Gael or indeed Fianna Fail to do anything after all they
    appointed the top brass in the Guards and have so since 1922……Maybe the
    current structure may have to be dissolved and start a new…..all this is. about
    children and youngsters……one has to ask why has it being allowed to fester on
    for so long.

  21. Kdoc1

    After the revelations from Gemma O’Doherty regarding Mary Gareth O’Callaghan’s story doesn’t surprise me.

  22. Catriona Sinn

    We know paedophilia – while not in any way unique to the Church – was prevalent among priests in Ireland to quite a shocking degree.

    We also know that – even in 1980s Ireland – being a paedophile was not exactly something you wanted advertised.

    Particularly by the sort of child who was well-behaved enough and well thought of enough to be the kind of kid not able to be easily dismissed.

    I don’t think it’s that unlikely a possibility that Philip might have been abused by a priest.

    His main interest after all was religion.

    And the likelihood was it was someone local. Common sense indicates that.

    I think this is a more realistic line of inquiry than the Cooke story.

    Also, I happen to know a man who taught in Philip’s school. He told me that the Gardai did not interview him. That indicates that they did not interview all (any?) of the teachers.

    I would be very interested to know how this investigation was conducted.

    Who guards the guards if not the people they serve? Let’s not be bullied into shutting down discussion on this issue.

    I am sure Philip’s family will be able to distinguish between the well-motivated and the opportunistic in coverage and discussion.

  23. Catherine McEntee

    It’s very disappointing to read some of the comments on this thread. Mr. O’Callaghan, Bodger and Gemma O’Doherty put so much time and effort into getting justice for these precious children. To see posters make negative and disrespectful comments is diabolical. You will always get this level of idiocy, I suppose, from keyboard warriors and those with no regard or respect for children.

    As a survivor of abuse, I find your doubting amd questioning of Bodger etc highly insulting. Stop being such hateful and obstructive b@stards and support these brave people that are working tirelessly to expose the truth. Shame on you.

    1. rotide

      I don’t mean to be insulting here in any way, and I’m very sorry that you had to endure abuse in your life, but what has that got to do with simply asking if there’s any proof that someone accusing of being a padeophile is a paedophile?

      That sort of abuse is about the worst crime someone can commit and this piece sails mightly close to the wind in naming someone of it.

  24. Errol Gunne

    I don’t think such commenters matter, Catherine.

    I think ordinary people with a basic level of common sense and knowledge of current affairs know that the unexplained disappearance of a child is often linked to sexual abuse and the reason the disappearance remains unexplained is often because people who know or suspect the perpetrator are too afraid to talk.

    I also think that the family of a missing child are quite capable of distinguishing between people discussing the disappearance of the child who are motivated by genuine concern and those who are motivated by other considerations.

    People make up their own minds and to truly help someone it is important to keep going irrespective of whether your motives are misconstrued.

    The most important thing is that the case is being discussed and to seek to promote discussion which will prompt genuine people with information to come forward.

    1. newsjustin

      I agree 100% with everything you said.

      But I also think it’s correct to critique any opinion piece that so deliberately (even though in good faith) mixes fact with speculation, rumour and guesswork.

      1. Buswells Babe

        Everyone is entitled to critique – as you did above.

        The concern above was about vague insinuations by other commenters about ‘manipulation’ of the facts by either O’Callaghan or Broadsheet (it was not made clear which).

        When asked to explain what facts were being manipulated, or by whom, a clear answer was not given.

        There was a suggestion by another commenter that the objection might be to McQuaid being described as a paedophile but this was not specifically confirmed by the person who used the term ‘manipulation’.

  25. Buswells Babe

    Father Tuohy’s obituary corroborates one aspect of O’Callaghan’s story. He did resign as Parish Priest of Rathfarnham in 1986.

    The obit as published in the Irish Times on the 19 April 1984 reads as follows:-

    “The former Taoiseach, Mr Liam Cosgrove, led prayers at the funeral Mass of Father Patrick Tuohy in Rathfarnham, Dublin, yesterday Father Tuohy had been a friend of his father, William T Cosgrove…. He was chaplain in UCD from 1955-64 and retired as parish priest of Rathfarnham in 1986.”

  26. Buswells Babe

    There’s also a story about Father Tuohy in the Irish Press on the 8th November 1968, dating from a time when he was in City Quay Parish.

    It reads as follows:-

    “Father Patrick Tuohy of City Quay Parish has become accustomed to opening his presbytery door to be greeted with the youthful plea “I am lost and penniless”.
    It happened again last night when two teenage English boys walked into his church in search of comfort and company.
    Two days earlier they had set out from their native Liverpool sharing the total sum of £3 and an ambition to become trainee jockeys.
    Someone had told them they would find a platform for their talents at the Curragh “just outside Dublin”. But their combined geographical knowledge of Ireland consisted of a notion that it lay somewhere west of Liverpool. So they took the mail boat to – Belfast.
    They arrived in the early hours of the next morning and pitched their tent on the outskirts of the city. Later they hitched, but mostly walked their way to Newry where they spent the next night sleeping in the back of a bus in the local depot.
    Eventually they arrived in Dublin, hungry and almost penniless. On the outskirts of the city they appealed at the garda station for a lift to the Curragh or the return fare to Liverpool, and came away with the price of a bag of chips.
    Early last night they went in search of the Liverpool Boat at the North Wall and tired, starving and cold, they wandered into City Quay Church where they were discovered by Fr Tuohy, administrator of the parish. He gave them refreshments and made arrangements for accommodation at the local hostel.
    Today, 17 year old Christopher Lowe, 32 Lark Lane, Liverpool, and his 15 1/2 year old friend, Phillip Parrish, Holtville, Higher Bebbington, Cheshire, will try to leave for home.”

    I am not making any comment as to the relevance or otherwise of this article, I simply thought it might be interesting to share what I found in the archives.

    The key matter which I think should be explored further is the date in 1986 that Fr Tuohy’s resignation occurred, which I have not been able to find, and the reason (if any) given.

    1. Buswells Babe

      We don’t, Rory.

      All we know is that allegations have been made. As with Eamon Cooke and the other allegations made by Gardai in respect of Philip Cairns.

      What is however interesting is that records indicate thaf Fr Tuohy resigned as parish priest in 1986. it is obviously important to ascertain the exact date.

      If he did in fact resign shortly after Philip’s death the fact that he remained in a pastoral role in the Dublin Diocese thereafter (which I have confirmed by reference to newspaper archives) raises a question as to the reason for such resignation and whether it was actually due to the serious health concerns which would normally be the reason for such resignation.

      Where a religious child disappears in circumstances where as a matter of common sense someone they knew may have been involved a resignation by their parish priest shortly afterwards would have to be relevant.

      In the absence of a named person coming forward to confirm the alleged paedophilia no conclusions can be drawn about Fr Tuohy’s involvement or the involvement of any of the other unidentified community members mentioned by Mr O’Callaghan.

      That is why it is so important that anyone who can verify the allegations regarding Fr Tuohy or the paeophile ring come forward and identify themselves either to Gardai or generally. They should come forward if they can verify the paedophilia allegations even if they do not have information about Philip’s abduction.

      I would suggest that it is also important that the date of Fr Tuohy’s resignation be explored.

      I realise that it is upsetting for allegations to be made against a priest who is no longer alive and cannot defend themselves.

      However in view of the paedophiliac history of priests in the Dublin Diocese, and their pastoral role, public discussion of these matters is justified.

      Such discussion however must not conclude Fr Tuohy is guilty of either paedophilia or murder in the absence of evidence of named persons coming forward identifying him. I agree with you on that.

  27. Simon Reilly

    As disturbing is the writer’s smearing of orthodoxy. Just because the Nuncio wanted to uphold the status quo, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he was orthodox, it may mean he simply didn’t want his comfort zone disturbed.

  28. Buswells Babe

    Also: I’m putting this here rather than up above because the thread is so scattered.

    You can hardly expect Broadsheet not to cover the O’Callaghan allegations against Tuohy when they have fully covered all other allegations to date.

    I went through all the archives and the Broadsheet Disinformation post simply covers chronologically every item published in the newspapers or in published books in relation to Philip Cairns.

    There is no manipulation of the facts, every story is covered in chronological order. Anyone who reads the newspaper archives will see that this is correct.

    Also reading the comments by Bodger on this and the Disinformation post Broadsheet has always expressed the view that it is likely that Philip Cairns was taken by a local person – they have stated this view is on the basis of the archive stories and it does appear likely as a matter of common sense. Obviously nothing further than this can be said until Fr Tuohy or any other local person unless and until someone comes forward and gives their name to Gardai or identifies themselves publicly through O’Callaghan or others.

    If there is a view that O’Callaghan is engaging in manipulation then this should be stated specifically to avoid any insinuation that Broadsheet is involved in this.

  29. Buswells Babe

    One further matter: as regards commenters who express concern for the Cairns family. Disappearances and deaths of children or indeed anyone are a public issue. They are entitled to be publicly discussed. In fact it is important that this occurs because it makes it more likely that the perpetrator is discovered. The Cairns family have recognised this in their public appeals. Obviously such discussion should seek as a matter of empathy and kindness to be sensitive towards the family of the child involved. The suggestion that a child who has disappeared may have been abused prior to their disappearance is necessarily extremely upsetting for the family. However it is unavoidable given the fact that so many child murders are linked to such abuse. In particular where a religious child disappears the level of paedophilia among religious officials (not just Catholic) is such that any discussion would necessarily have to feature this. There is no doubt but that such discussion must be unbearably painful for the family but I see no evidence that either Mr O’Callaghan, Broadsheet or the commenters discussing such a possibility above are not well motivated. ‘Think of the family’ is not a sufficient reason to shut down discussion although it makes it important that such discussion be engaged in in a sensitive and empathetic fashion. Good taste and protection of reputations of priests and community figures, however is not always compatible with vindicating/protecting children. If forced to make a choice, I know which I consider the most important value.

  30. Louis Lefronde

    I have been following the Philip Cairns story and others on Broadsheet for some time. The suggestions put forward by Garreth O’Callaghan doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. I have little regard for the integrity of the Gardai and even less for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Perhaps because I am libertarian, I’m deeply suspicious of over centralised governments which are easier to corrupt. Centralised executives and police forces such as ours can easily close down investigations and inquiries. They are not above burying evidence and sometimes bodies when it suits them. As recent as 2003, a Judge investigating institutional child abuse had no alternative but to resign because th executive branch of government did everything to impede the inquiry.

    If we had proper investigating magistrates in this country with the power to independently (of the corrupt Gardai and the inept ODPP) investigate and bring prosecutions – we might start making in roads into the dark recesses of Ireland’s child abuse shoa.

    The bureaucrats and the cops won’t like their powers being taken away….to that I say good.

  31. Formerly known as @ireland.com

    How sad that defenseless children are victims of ‘pillars of society’. There are similar stories in Australia. It is not a coincidence that the Catholic Church reacted the same way, Worldwide.

    How that organisation is allowed to be involved in Irish education, I don’t understand. How people let their children be exposed to the holy sacraments and to be alter boys/girls, I don’t get.

    One of the priests in my town got convicted of one count of child abuse – 18 months suspended – WTF!
    Who knows how many he stuffed up. I do wonder about the suicides in my little town. I will never know but I think being abused as a kid would have contributed.

    It is important that the pedophiles that are still alive are brought to justice.

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