Tag Archives: Gareth O’Callaghan

Gareth O’Callaghan

This morning.

Further to complaints yesterday about the Allied Irish Bank charging their customers, who have less than €2,500 in their accounts, quarterly fees…

Former radio and TV presenter Gareth O’Callaghan tweetz:

Previously: Some Are Sicker Than Others

A Mother’s Love

From top: For Ava, by Vera Twomey, published by Mercier Press; Garret O’Callaghan

Free Thursday?

At Eason’s on Patrick Street in Cork city, from 6pm.

Former radio and TV presenter Gareth O’Callaghan will launch For Ava – a book by Vera Twomey about her daughter Ava, who lives with Dravet Syndrome, and their fight to obtain medicinal cannabis in Ireland.

Ahead of the launch, Gareth writes:

….I first heard of Vera Twomey in early 2016 when she spoke on a radio chat show about her daughter’s chronic illness and how, despite repeated efforts to get her the medication she desperately needed to help Ava stay alive, the doors of power and authority continued to slam in her face.

But Vera refused to give up.

Her beautiful book, For Ava, has just been published and it’s in all of your favourite bookshops around Ireland right now.

If they tell you they don’t have it in stock, ask them to order it for you. You can go online and order of from a variety of websites including Eason.

Vera has paved the way for so many who will benefit from her heroic struggle. Her point-blank refusal to shut up and go away, like so many others would do and have done, has meant that her daughter is now seizure free and attending school each day, and engaging in many other activities that any nine-year old child would regard as normal.

Her book is filled with stories that will make you laugh and cry. The background to her story is also an accurate reflection of the daily struggles that so many of the frontline staff within the HSE have to endure: paramedics, junior doctors, nurses, and carers.

On one particular night, an ambulance had to be dispatched from Kilkenny in order that Ava could be taken to hospital in Cork following one of her worst seizures ever. That’s a 140-mile journey that took the paramedics almost three hours!

This is a book about a mother’s love and devotion to her daughter, and it’s also a book about a small child’s terrible illness and her family’s fight for medical justice.

It is beautifully written with tenderness and compassion, but the warmhearted anecdotes are never far from the ruthless, innate determination of one woman who refused to go away and accept that the health and wellbeing of her daughter Ava would or could ever be silenced by those in the corridors of power.

If there was only one book I would recommend you to buy this year, it would be this one; and if you happen to be passing Eason’s in Patrick Street in Cork this coming Thursday evening around 6.15pm, please drop in and say hello.

It will be my honour to launch this epic book, and to introduce Vera Twomey.

Cork Book Launch For Ava by Vera Twomey With Guest Gareth O’Callaghan (Eventbrite)

For Ava (Mercier Press)

O’Connell Street, Dublin 1

“Walked through Dublin city centre earlier this evening. I was having a few medical tests done earlier in the day. Sadly the town I’ve known and loved all my life has been reduced these past few years to a horrible, intimidating drug-infested kip of a place.

And it keeps getting worse. There’s still a handful of great pubs where you can enjoy a pint (albeit in some places at exhorbitant prices – €5.90 for a pint of stout ffs in one place we called into! So I don’t go to too many of them lately.)

But the city is now becoming more sinister and more nasty than I’ve ever known it to be in the past. Sadly this city I once loved is now controlled by gangs. It wasn’t how I knew it to be years ago, as I walked back to where we were staying tonight with some food from a local takeaway.

Even a young garda asked me if I knew exactly where I was going. I agreed with him when he described the city centre as an incurable kip. He looked no more than twenty. When I was twenty, this city was a great place. Sadly that’s not the case anymore. But we still had a great evening and thankfully the weather was beautiful.”

Broadcaster Gareth O’Callaghan, yesterday.

Spaghetti Hoop writes:

Is Gareth’s mournful outpouring simply a reaction to a bad night in the city and a bit Brennan’s Bread with its, ‘ah it’s not like the good ole days’, or has our capital city declined in cultural value, safety and general conviviality because of increased crime and addicts?

 A close relative of mine, more Dub than I, can’t wait to get out of the place due to the ubiquity of addicts where he works in Dublin 1.

I know several people agree with him, but triple that who don’t and who left their Dublin roots for the commuter belt semi-ds in Meath and Kildare during the housing boom, craving to come back now that the kids are teens and they have more social time.

Tourism Ireland reports that 11.2 million overseas visitors came to Ireland in 2018, an increase of 6% from 2017 and many of them spent at least two days in Dublin. Which means we are top providers of a cultural experience and a pleasing gateway to the rest that the country has to offer.

The swarms of hen and stag parties that visit Temple Bar during the spring and summer season contributes to a healthy tourism industry and they don’t cause any grief except push the pint price up in those contained zones – which Dubs nimbly avoid and proceed to their prized spots.

Most Dubliners wouldn’t dream of living anywhere else in the country, even for the four bedrooms, horse stables, chicken coop and hectare of landscaped garden they could gain in exchange for their city crib.

There’s a buzz in town, and you get used to its traffic and rough neck and enjoy its village-like eccentricity.

Granted I’m a twice returned emigrant so without lyrical-waxing about it I still think the city rocks from a global perspective because of its small size, recreational offerings and touch of madness.The diversity of pursuits at the weekend for beach, city culture and mountain walks would want you wish for more weekends.

So I am curious; is Gareth right about Dublin being a kip or just doesn’t get the joys of city life? And if you do think it’s a kip, to paraphrase Junker to Farage in the EU Parliament in 2016, “Why are you here?”.


Gareth O’Callaghan: broadcaster, writer and mental health & justice campaigner

‘This is the post I’d always hoped I would never have to write. Many of you have already been reading about my situation this weekend. Unfortunately it is true. I have been diagnosed with a neurodegenerative illness called Multiple System Atrophy.

It is a rare disease, very progessive and sadly incurable. I thought I might have been able to continue working as normal for another few months but unfortunately the pace and the painful decline of this awful thing has really taken us by surprise. I am absolutely devastated by what is happening to me and of all that lies ahead.

Despite all that is going on I remain strong and positive. I’m learning to take life a day at a time now. I’ve always said that life is only a short journey, and that is true – whether you are lucky enough to remain healthy throughout; or you suddenly find you are unexpectedly challenged by something you never thought would happen to you: something that terrifies you and challenges you at every level of your being. I now find myself facing those challenges.

I will miss being with you on the radio. It’s something I thought I would always be doing for many years to come. But none of us knows what’s waiting around the next corner. Unfortunately my voice is now slowly deteriorating because of the MSA – one of the many side effects of this disgusting relentless disease. So I’ve had to make the decision to ease back now.

Time to change direction now and concentrate on doing the little things I’ve always wanted to do but could never find the time to do them. I intend to fight this disease for as long as I can; and to remain as healthy and as fit as I possibly can. I will write more here later. And of course I will keep on writing because that’s what I’ve always loved doing. Chat to you later.’

A Facebook posting from Gareth O’Callaghan, of Classiic Hits 4fm, and formerly with RTÉ 2fm, this morning.

Gareth O’Callaghan (Facebook)

Previously: Protected On Both Sides

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

Thanks Garthicus


From top: George Gibney; Broadcaster Gareth O’Callaghan

George Gibney is either innocent, very lucky or extremely well connected.

In a new Facebook post, broadcaster and abuse victim activist Gareth O’Callaghan addresses the swimming coach’s long, baffling escape from justice.

Mr O’Callaghan writes:

For those of you who might not be familiar with him, George Gibney was an Irish swimming coach of universal repute who was charged with 27 counts of indecency against young swimmers under the age of 15.

That was back in April 1993. The following year he won a High Court Judicial review in which all the charges against him were quashed. His victims were and remain devastated.

The judicial review was secured following a highly controversial landmark Supreme Court decision during which Gibney’s barrister Patrick Gageby argued that the delay in bringing the prosecution against Gibney infringed his right to a fair hearing. Gageby’s sister Susan Denham was on the bench of the Supreme Court that day as one of the senior presiding judges.

This was despite the Code of Conduct of the Irish Bar which provides that:

“Barristers shall not habitually practice in a case in which their parent, spouse or near blood relative is a presiding judge.”

Meanwhile Gibney fled the country, eventually ending up in the States. Despite all the questions raised about the emotional and physical carnage this alleged rapist and abuser left in his wake and how he could just vanish unchallenged, questions continue to be asked to this day as to how he ended up getting an official US visa and green card and working since then in America.

Gardaí here in Ireland even gave Gibney a certificate of character – issued on January 20, 1992 – to support his application for a US visa.

This certificate which is now part of an official US investigation shows that the name and signature of the garda who issued it to Gibney at Dun Laoighaire garda station was redacted and its contents have been obscured.

By November 1991, less than two months earlier, allegations of abuse were already mounting against Gibney. The gardai, and the ISPCC, according to one parent in 1992, were aware of what Gibney was doing to young swimmers in his care but yet gave him a character reference to support his US visa application.

The Murphy Inquiry (set up in 1998 to look into abuse in swimming here in Ireland) states that the first recorded statement on the Garda file about Gibney is dated 15th December 1992.

Jumping forward to present day events – February 2017, 25 years almost since Gibney was cleared of all charges of rape and abuse. I

f you read my posts on Facebook late last year, you will know that an American friend of mine, journalist Irvin Munchnik, has been working for many years to obtain the US Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) immigration file on Gibney – in an attempt to understand how Gibney was able to get a visa and a green card, and then to live and work in the States without any questioning, despite the previous charges against him.

Thanks to Irv’s relentless work, on the  December 6 last, the US District Court Judge Charles Breyer issued an order forcing the US government to release Gibney’s immigration and visa file to the renowned investigative journalist. Judge Breyer gave the government a 60-day window in which to either comply or appeal the ruling.

Irvin is looking for the court’s permission through his attorney Roy Gordet to see 20 documents (43 pages) of the Gibney immigration and visa file.

Judge Breyer has seen these documents in private (in camera) and has made it clear that he has serious reservations regarding some of the privacy exemptions. On November 2nd last, the Judge said he was “prepared to rule (largely) in Munchnik’s favour”.

Original material already released shows there was a letter which appeared to offer Gibney a job in swimming in the US.

Although the name and organisation of the sender and almost all of the letter’s main details are obscured, what remains is “Dear George,” followed below by “…would be very interested in your services as coach to their [sic] team”. It’s not known if the letter is from an American club, or from an Irish person trying to set up a job for him in the States.

Gibney was living mostly unnoticed for many years in Orange City, Florida, until Sligo born Evin Daly waged a four year campaign against Gibney mainly through his ChildAbuseWatch website.

Through his published alerts about Gibney’s underground movements throughout the US, Evin Daly’s tireless efforts eventually ran him out of Orange City in 2013 after parent groups locally discovered who he was. It’s understood he may currently be working and living in Orlando.

Sadly Judge Charles Breyer’s 60-day window expired on Saturday and the US government are appealing the December summary judgement and order.

The case now heads to what’s known in the States as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Irvin Munchnik’s request to all of us this week both here in Ireland and in the United States is that we start speaking out again loudly and publicly about this evil predator, so that he won’t get another 20 years to hide.

Enda Kenny needs now, to take a hardline on George Gibney.

When he meets US President  Trump on March 17, the taoiseach needs to address the ‘Number One At-Large Paedophile in Global Sports’, who continues to live freely in the United States thanks to successive governments on both sides of the Atlantic ignoring his evil status as a clear and present danger to children and teenagers everywhere.

Gareth O’Callaghan (Facebook)

Previously: George Gibney on Broadsaheet



A Garda officer with Philip Cairns’ schoolbag in 1986; Gareth O’Callaghan: The Late Show with Ryan Tubridy and crime reporter Barry Cummins

Last Friday the Late Late Show featured an item  with crime journalist and author Barry Cummins on Philip Cairns.

Philip disappeared from Rathfarnham during his school lunch break on Thursday, October 23, 1986. He was 13 years old at the time.

Discussion on the show focused on last summer’s claims by Gardai sources that there was evidence that paedophile DJ Eamon Cooke was involved in Philip’s disappearance.

Eamon Cooke died in St Francis Hospice in Raheny on June 4, 2016 while on temporary release from Arbour Hill.

On June 10, 2016, it was reported by the media that one of Cooke’s victims had come forward to say that she had seen Philip lying unconscious in Cooke’s radio studio on the day of his disappearance following a blow to the head.

There were also further reports that the Gardai intended to carry out digs on various sites owned by Cooke to try to locate Philip’s body, and that the DJ – who lived on the other side of the city from Philip – might have met the boy through a paedophile ring associated with a pub in Rathfarnham.

Priest Bill Carney, who featured in the Murphy Report into child abuse by priests in the Dublin diocese, was also described as having been connected with this ring.

The Late Late item also included speculation about the discovery of Philp’s schoolbag in a laneway near his home six days after his disappearance.

The schoolbag had not been discovered on previous Garda searches of the laneway. Angela Copley, an activist for victims of sexual abuse, told the media that a woman abused by Cooke had been informed by a retired Garda that another of Cooke’s victims had come forward to say that she had left the schoolbag in the laneway.

On June 15, 2016, the Gardai, at a formal press conference, requested any person with knowledge of the disposal of the schoolbag to come forward.

On August 5, 2016, the Irish Independent reported that the Gardai had been unable to link DNA on the schoolbag to Eamon Cooke.

There have been no reports of any person associated with the disposal of the schoolbag having come forward in response to the Gardai’s request for information.

Nor has any subsequent information been released by Gardai about the paedophile ring with which both Cooke and Carney were originally alleged to have been associated.

Following the disclosure of Cooke’s possible involvement, broadcaster Gareth O’Callaghan – who is distantly related to Philip Cairns and had also worked with Eamon Cooke in his radio station – went on record to say that he did not believe Cooke was associated with Philip’s disappearance.

In a series of subsequent Facebook posts, one of which has previously been featured on this site, Mr O’Callaghan instead asserts that Philip’s disappearance was associated with other paedophiles active in the Rathfarnham area in the years prior to his disappearance, some – but not all of whom – are now deceased.

Two of the deceased, named by Mr O’Callaghan as part of this ring are Father Patrick Tuohy, the former Parish Priest of Rathfarnham, and a local man, Mr Brian Ellis.

According to Mr O’Callaghan, both men were well known to Philip – Tuohy in his capacity as parish priest and organiser of local community activities for children (including a newspaper recycling project) and Ellis as a member of a local prayer group and a fishing club – the Dublin Sea Anglers Club – of which Philip and his family were active members.

Mr O’Callaghan suggests that Philip Cairns had been the victim of sexual abuse by one or more men associated with the paedophile ring and was killed as a result of having disclosed this abuse to a person who, unknown to him, was also part of the ring and subsequently passed on news of this disclosure to the person or persons concerned.

As a result Philip was picked up on his way back to school on the afternoon of October 23, 1986 and taken to the Parochial House, Rathfarnham, where he was warned of the danger of further disclosures. Philip’s death subsequently occurred when he panicked and tried to run from the house.

According to Mr O’Callaghan, the body of Philip Cairns is possibly buried in the garden of a house in the Rathfarnham area formerly owned by a deceased member of the ring.

O’Callaghan’s source for the alleged location of Philip’s body is a person, described by him as ‘Tom’, who allegedly acted as a gardener for Brian Ellis, by whom he was contacted following his initial Facebook posts on Eamon Cooke.

Another contact referenced by O’Callaghan is the brother of a woman, not named by him but identifiable as Eva Brennan, aged 39, who disappeared in the Rathfarnham area on July 25, 1993.

Like Philip, Eva was a member of local prayer groups. Her disappearance similarly remains unexplained. In 2010, Eva’s sister, Colette McCann expressed concern regarding the Garda investigation of her death.

The lack of any progress in respect of the disappearance of Philip Cairns remains similarly worrying.

A timeline of the inquiry, as referenced in a previous Broadsheet post, shows it to have many unusual characteristics – not least the discovery of the schoolbag not far from Rathfarnham Garda station and the subsequent failure of the Gardai to protect it from contamination – as evidenced by Press photographs showing it being handled by at least two Garda members following its discovery.

The most relevant evidence in respect of the disappearance of Philip Cairns remains that identified by Sunday Independent journalist Maeve Niland in an investigation carried out by her in 1989.

Ms Niland detailed two sightings of a boy in school uniform talking to the male driver of a red Japanese car along the route Philip would have taken back to school at approximately the time that he would have been likely to be on that route.

She suggests that Philip was picked up on the way back to school by the man driving this car, who was known to and respected by him, and that the man drove him in the direction of the school, but did not stop there.

Publication of Ms Niland’s investigation was followed by a number of apparently hoax phone calls and false leads, without any further public identification of the man or car involved.

It now appears that the Garda identification of Eamon Cooke as the perpetrator – shortly after his death, and in the year leading up to the thirtieth anniversary of Philip’s disappearance – is yet another false lead in an investigation inexplicably bedevilled by them.

Other cases, featured in this site, involving deaths and disappearances the perpetrators of which have gone notoriously unpunished: the murder of Noeleen Murphy in April, 1973; the disappearance of Mary Boyle in March, 1977; the death of Fr Niall Molloy in July, 1985. In all of these cases, without exception, allegations of involvement have been made against persons with significant political connections or Garda associations.

These characteristics are also present in the Philip Cairns case in relation to both of the persons named by Mr O’Callaghan as perpetrators: Fr Patrick Tuohy and Brian Ellis.

Prior to his appointment as Parish Priest of Rathfarnham, Patrick Tuohy had acted as personal chaplain to WT Cosgrave, Chairman of the Provisional Government of the Irish Free State.

He subsequently retained close links to the Cosgrave family, including WT Cosgrave’s son Liam, leader of Fine Gael between 1965 and 1977 and Taoiseach between 1973 and 1977. Tuohy resigned as Parish Priest the year of Philip Cairns’ death, remaining in the area in an undefined pastoral capacity.

Like Tuohy, Brian Ellis had powerful political connections dating back to the foundation of the State. He was the son of Dr Vincent Ellis, a Sinn Féin activist and close friend of Michael Staines, the first Commissioner of An Garda Siochana.Staines appointed Ellis Chief Medical Officer of the Garda Siobhana in 1922. He served in this position for the following 35 years.

Brian Ellis, his son, was brought up in the Garda Depot in the Phoenix Park where friends included Tuohy’s superior Archbishop Dermot Ryan, whose father was also a friend of Vincent Ellis.

In 1986 the idea that paedophiles could also be persons respected in the community was not the subject of open discussion. The report of Judge Yvonne Murphy into paedophilia among priests in the Dublin diocese records both this belief and its fallacy.

The idea that members of the Gardai – universally praised by contemporaneous media for their work into Philip’s disappearance – could have been involved in covering up such disappearance would have been equally incomprehensible.

This is no longer the case. Earlier this year, retired Garda Frank Mullen – a former head of the Garda Representative Association – took to the media to deny allegations of sexual abuse made by Cynthia Owen (formerly Sindy Murphy) of Dalkey, the mother of Noeleen Murphy, whose unsolved murder is referenced above.

Mullen – who vehemently disputes the allegations – is not the only member of the Gardai alleged to have been involved in perpetrating or covering-up unsolved crimes.

According to Mr O’Callaghan, the Rathfarnham paedophile ring responsible for the death of Philip Cairns included one or more local Gardai.

Nor are the allegations made against Brian Ellis new allegations; they appeared in the Irish Sun newspaper on October 21, 2015 and, according to Mr O’Callaghan, were reported to the Gardai by his source as early as 2010.

There has, however, been no attempt by Gardai to follow up on these allegations by conducting any investigation of the garden of Ellis’s former home.

Previously: Philip Cairns And A Trail Of Disinformation

The World That Philip Cairns Felt So Threatened By Is Becoming 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