Tag Archives: Maureen O’Sullivan

Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan; George Gibney; and journalist Irvin Muchnick

This week.

Further to Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan writing to Shellie Pfohl – head of the new US Center for SafeSport – to formally request an investigation into former Irish swimming coach George Gibney….

US journalist Irvin Muchnick, of Concussion Inc., reports that the US Center for SafeSport has opened an investigation into Gibney.

Mr Muchnick writes:

The SafeSport Center’s investigation begins as O’Sullivan engages with American politicians closely identified with the youth sports coach abuse issue in this country — principally Congresswoman Jackie Speier of California.

This development also coincides with Congressional hearings this week in which Tim Hinchey, CEO of USA Swimming, and other national sport governing body heads and Olympic officials are being called on the carpet after the scandal of Larry Nassar, the prolific molester doctor of USA Gymnastics, raised the problem to its highest profile yet.

In a May 7 letter to O’Sullivan, the SafeSport Center’s Jocelyn Shafer confirmed that it was undertaking the investigation that had been requested …Shafer said the investigation was being overseen Malia Arrington, the center’s chief operating officer under CEO Shellie Pfohl.

Former Irish swimming coach George Gibney was charged with 27 counts of indecency against young swimmers and of carnal knowledge of girls under the age of 15 in April, 1993.

He sought and won a controversial High Court judicial review in 1994 which quashed all the charges against him.

After this, he left Ireland for Edinburgh, Scotland and then the US.

Gibney was granted a visa during a visit to the United States in 1992 – seemingly aided by a Garda character reference – a year after people who had been abused by him started to speak up and organise themselves.

In March 2015, it was reported that police in Colorado, America, investigated a complaint of sexual assault made by a young swimmer against Gibney in October 1995 – a year after the sexual abuse and rape charges against him were dropped in Ireland.

At the time of the complaint, Gibney was working as a coach in the North Jeffco Parks and Recreation District.

The Arvada Police Department in Colorado couldn’t establish if any crime had been committed.

US journalist Irvin Muchnick, of Concussion Inc, has previously reported that the police officer who investigated the complaint made in North Jeffco was the mother of a swimmer at North Jeffco.

Attempts by Mr Muchnick to obtain the 1995 Arvada police report have been unsuccessful as the local government has refused to release it.

Meanwhile…

Mr Muchnick further reports that this week, in an email answering some of the first questions posed by US Center for SafeSport, Ms O’Sullivan has written:

“He [Gibney] has been in the US since the mid to late 90’s; we know he coached in Arvada, Colorado. We know he was a board member of a programme for youth at risk and was chair of a church’s eye clinic mission in Peru.

“We know our police expressed concerns to US authorities in ’95, ’98 and 2001.

“We also know that he applied for US citizenship in 2010 but this was rejected because he had lied on his application [as shown by investigative journalist Irvin Muchnick’s FOIA case with Judge Charles R. Breyer in U.S. District Court in California].

“While my country has a lot of questions to answer we believe so has the US.

Who facilitated him into the US in the first place; what type of visa did he have; how was he offered employment in the US; why is he allowed continued residency in the US particularly as his application for citizenship was denied. Did the American Swimming Coaches Association assist him in re-locating to the US?”

US Center for Safesport opens investigation of rapist Irish Olympic swim coach George Gibney – has lived in the US since the mid-1990s (Irvin Muchnick, Concussion Inc)

Previously: ‘Gibney’s Victims Have Been Waiting A Very Long Time’

From top (left to right): Head of the new US Center for SafeSport Shellie Pfohl; Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan; George Gibney; and journalist Irvin Muchnick

Former Irish swimming coach George Gibney was charged with 27 counts of indecency against young swimmers and of carnal knowledge of girls under the age of 15 in April, 1993.

He sought and won a controversial High Court judicial review in 1994 which quashed all the charges against him.

After this, he left Ireland for Edinburgh, Scotland and then the US.

Gibney was granted a visa during a visit to the United States in 1992 – seemingly aided by a Garda character reference – a year after people who had been abused by him started to speak up and organise themselves.

Readers may also recall how, in March 2015, it was reported that police in Colorado, America, investigated a complaint of sexual assault made by a young swimmer against Gibney in October 1995 – a year after the sexual abuse and rape charges against him were dropped in Ireland.

At the time of the complaint, Gibney was working as a coach in the North Jeffco Parks and Recreation District.

The Arvada Police Department in Colorado couldn’t establish if any crime had been committed.

Last month, US journalist Irvin Muchnick, of Concussion Inc, reported that the police officer who investigated the complaint made in North Jeffco was the mother of a swimmer at North Jeffco.

Further to this…

Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan has written to Shellie Pfohl, head of the new US Center for SafeSport, formally requesting an investigation of George Gibney.

Mr Muchnick reports:

The center had told this reporter that it would undertake, at minimum, a preliminary investigation on the basis of third-party reports. Lawyers who work in the abuse field had advised that O’Sullivan was best situated to initiate the process.

“In her letter request to Pfohl, O’Sullivan cited two known incidents on American soil involving Gibney, the former Irish Olympic swimming head coach who fled to this country after being charged with 27 counts of indecent carnal knowledge of youth athletes in his charge.

“The first incident was his alleged rape and impregnation of a 17-year-old Irish swimmer during a training trip in Tampa, Florida, in 1991, when he still resided in Ireland.

The second incident is a somewhat less clearly understood act of alleged sexual misconduct in 1995, when Gibney was a coach for the USA Swimming member team North Jeffco in Arvada, Colorado, and presumably was himself a USA Swimming member.

“In the course of an Arvada police investigation of that incident, which might have been spurred at least in part by a complaint about the incident itself as well as information about his Irish past, Gibney was separated from the North Jeffco club and, apparently, did not coach again.

“However, he remains a resident alien in the US to this day, even though his 2010 application for citizenship appears to have been rejected on the grounds that he lied on it about past criminal charges in Ireland.

“Concussion Inc. has sought unsuccessfully for access to the 1995 Arvada police report from the department and the city manager.

“On April 12, a prominent First Amendment attorney in San Francisco, Karl Olson, of Cannata O’Toole Fickes Almazan, sent on our behalf a request for reconsideration of their denial to Mayor Marc Williams.

“Olson argued that the city has the discretion to release the material under the Colorado Criminal Justice Records Act, and urged it to do so in light of the passage of time, the fact that there was no criminal complaint or charge against Gibney and the matter is closed, and the narrative is of great public interest in the current Irish-American campaign on behalf of Gibney’s numerous victims.

“Arvada has acknowledged receiving the Olson letter and promised a response.

In Irish legislator O’Sullivan’s other new move, she has confirmed that she also wrote on April 12 for the assistance of Congresswoman Diana DeGette of Colorado’s First District.

“DeGette, the Democrats’ chief deputy whip, is ranking minority member of the subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is investigating the handling of the abuse issue by USA Swimming and other US Olympic Committee national sport governing bodies.

O’Sullivan had appealed previously to Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, chief sponsor of the Safe Sport Act of 2018, and Congresswoman Jackie Speier of California, a leading voice of the “#MeToo movement” and the Democrats’ unofficial House of Representatives watchdog on the youth sports abuse problem. Speier referred the Gibney matter to the House Judiciary Committee.

“O’Sullivan’s letter to DeGette states in part: “I know there is tremendous work going on in the US in relation to uncovering the abuse of young people by their sports’ coaches and it is in that light that I am contacting you, hoping that this case of George Gibney be examined, especially due to your work with the House Energy and Commerce Committee investigating USA swimming.” Gibney’s victims, O’Sullivan added, “have been waiting a very long time.”

Irish Politician Maureen O’Sullivan Files For U.S. Center For SafeSport Investigation of George Gibney and Seeks Support of Congresswoman Diana DeGette of Colorado

Previously: George Gibney on Broadsheet

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Today, during Leaders’ Questions, Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan raised the recent protests at Moore Street.

Ms O’Sullivan specifically asked Taoiseach Enda Kenny why the Government isn’t doing more to protect the entire Moore Street terrace and not just the buildings numbered 14-17.

Maureen O’Sullivan: “On the 1st of January in Dublin Castle, there was an impressive flag-raising ceremony to start the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising. An amazing array of launches and events is being held not just in Ireland, but also abroad, by a wide number of organisations. A number of restorations are ongoing, for example, Kilmainham court and Pearse’s cottage. It appears to me, and others, that this and previous Governments would have preferred it had the men and women involved been airlifted from the GPO to Richmond Barracks and Kilmainham Gaol, thereby bypassing Moore Street. However, they did not bypass it and it is part of the evacuation route. It was also witness to a number of events, not just involving the leaders in Nos. 14-17 Moore Street, but the ordinary men and women who took part as well as citizens in Dublin.”

“Shaffrey Associates conducted a wider assessment of the 1916 battlefield as part of the ministerial consent to carry out work. I will cite parts of that assessment. The block exactly matches the terrace into which the majority of the GPO garrison escaped. The activities relating to the 1916 Rising that took place on Moore Street happened throughout the entire street, on adjacent lanes and within many of the buildings. The assessment specifically mentions buildings other than Nos. 14-17. Furthermore, Article 1 of the Venice Charter reads: “The concept of a historic monument embraces not only the single architectural work but also the urban or rural setting”. Article 6 reads: “Wherever the traditional setting exists, it must be kept. No new construction, demolition or modification which would alter the relations of mass and colour must be allowed.” To me, this means that the fabric of Moore Street and its area must be retained.”

“If one walked into Kilmainham Gaol or Pearse’s cottage or if one went to Brú na Bóinne, one would immediately get a sense of what it was like to have been there at the time in question. This is what we could have at Moore Street. Last week or the week before, the Taoiseach launched a virtual reality tour of Easter 1916. I do not want that to form part of what we will do for Moore Street when we have the opportunity to retain the authenticity of Moore Street now. Westport House was withdrawn from NAMA. Under section 4.1.1 of the NAMA Act, that was possible for legitimate reasons in the public interest.”

“The Government had the power to designate Nos. 14-17 Moore Street as a national monument. Why was this designation not extended to the rest of the terrace? Why has the Taoiseach abandoned what he called the “laneways of history” and why are we leaving it to a vulture capitalist to look after the rest of the battlefield site?

Enda Kenny: “Thanks, Deputy.  I looked at this myself quite a number of years ago.  To put it mildly, the condition of the street and of the buildings on either side of what is a national monument were simply disgraceful.  I have listened to all of the rows about the national monument, about what should or should not be done about it.  For that reason, the Government purchased the national monument.”

“This has dragged on for some many years with so many different variations, given the fact that Dublin City Council, as the planning authority, has responsibility in respect of applications that come before it for planning permission both in respect of Moore Street and the lanes of history at the back of O’Connell Street and so on.”

“In respect of the centenary commemorations for 2016, Government decided to purchase this for a sum of €4million and to restore this building in a proper, authentic and time of the period fashion. As I understand it the maps show clearly other documents, buildings on either side were either non-existent or in a state of collapse before the Rising took place in 1916. And you are right, this was the centre of the end of the evacuation process from the side door of the GPO…but you know Deputy O’Sullivan what the Government wants to do for the people here and for posterity is to take the buildings where the surrender was commissioned from and preserve that as a national monument in respect of one of the first small countries to achieve its, to strike out for independence, politically and economically at the start of the 20th century.

The Government don’t own all the streets and the buildings on either side of 14-17. The Government do own, in respect of the people now, these buildings and the intention is to have that restored in a proper, fitting fashion. It is not a case of just, of the vulture capitalists, the venture capitalists or capitalists doing what they like in respect of the remainder of the surrounding area. The responsibility for planning and for approval of that lies initially with Dublin City Council and, beyond that, if there’s an objection, An Bord Pleanála and that’s independent of the process of Government…”

O’Sullivan: “When you did the right thing, with part of it, why could you not have gone further and have done the right thing with the whole area. In 2014, we had this exchange also and you said to me that commemorative events had to be inclusive, sensitive and appropriate. Now I want to go back two weeks and to just 14 to 17 first of all. The occupation should never have happened. But what happened on that Monday was completely disrespectful, undignified and insensitive to what has happened in 14 to 17. It was all cloak and dagger stuff, there was no conservation expert on hand to oversee the work that was going on, somebody happened to arrive along and heard workers there with claw hammers and, no disrespect to the workers, but they didn’t know where they were, what they were doing and the significance of the building.”

“Now there have been so many mistakes in the reports and I just take one. Number 18 is, in one conservation report saying, that the facade singled out was pre-1916. And in another report, it was omitted. And we know that once something is destroyed, it’s gone forever. And we have examples of that. Now, so far, the Government, the taxpayer, paid €9million €4million to buy and €5million has been designated for 14 to 17. My questions is: whose plan are we following? Because it doesn’t appear to be the State plan, it appears to be the plan that was drawn up by the developer, the same, failed property developer, who wanted to build over, under, around and on top of the national monument. So that seems to be the plan that we’re following.”

“Now I’ve just been to a meeting at [Dublin] City Hall – the Moore Street Forum. Dublin City Council were represented and of course they’re saying that the minister has responsibility, you’re saying Dublin City Council have responsibility. Now there was a motion passed in the city council on the 11th of January and that motion has to be taken on board by the minister and the Government. And because the Government are passing it one way, Dublin City Council are passing it another way, there is a need, and I think the Government and the minister have to take the lead on this for all of the stakeholders to come together, at the same time, so that these matters can be addressed. Because time is very much running out.”

Previously: Moore Of It

‘I Have Been Asking Questions And Not Getting Answers’

Related: Minister officially refuses to give independent conservation experts access to inspect Moore St terrace

Thanks Ciaran

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You may recall a post on Wednesday about the erection of scaffolding around historic buildings on Moore Street, Dublin 1.

A group of protesters are now occupying the buildings.

Further to this…

Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan, pictured above, writes:

“Just before the Christmas break the Government voted against saving Moore St from total demolition. After which the High Court allowed a last-minute challenge to works taking place at the 1916 National Monument 14 to 17. However, while information is still very sparse, [yesterday] work began apparently gutting seven of the buildings with a plan to demolish two either side of the National Monument. A commencement notice had been granted for surveying building features in the National Monument but the works seem to be far more extensive. Fronts are being removed and the interiors are being left open to elements.”

“The “1916 Quarter Development Bill 2015″ quite simply would have meant that the four buildings which are part of the National Monument would not be surrounded by a shopping centre and the street would be preserved. I could not believe the Government would actively vote against this and pave the way for demolition of the street. We lost so much of Viking Dublin, Tara, the Mendicity Institution and we very nearly lost Kilmainham Gaol, are we now going to lose another significant historical area? And for what – another shopping mall, another shopping centre, in an area surrounded by shops and shopping centres when long-time shops such as Clerys and Boyers stuggle/d to keep their doors open?”

“While Nos. 14 to 17 Moore Street will be preserved as a national monument, that will be accompanied by the total obliteration of the laneways of history. They won’t build sufficient short-term homes for our homeless but are willing to build shopping centre over our history? The only city-based 20th century battlefield site in all of Europe to survive and they want to knock it down!

“… I have been asking questions repeatedly of the Minister and I am not getting answers. Who valued Nos. 14 to 17 Moore Street at €4 million? Why was it valued at that amount? Surely €4 million would have bought the whole terrace? Were the buildings purchased by a CPO under a State order? If so, why could the whole area not have been purchased in that way? Who has costed the restoration at €5 million? A contractor has been named for Nos. 14 to 17 Moore Street. I have made inquiries but I have still not received an answer about when the project went out to tender, how many tenders were received and who, why and how the particular contractor was chosen. The irony of ironies is that it is the ministerial consent order of the Chartered Land team that had in its plan the destruction of the entire area is being adopted.”

“When I asked for the independent comprehensive assessment on the site the Minister refused, saying an assessment had been carried out. Who was it done by? It was the same developer who wants to knock down the whole area and would have knocked down Nos. 14 to 17 Moore Street if he had the opportunity…”

Government vote to demolish Moore St (Maureen O’Sullivan)

Save Moore Street From Demolition (Facebook)

Previously: Staying In Tonight