Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Father of Kenneally victim gives evidence to commission

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The father of one of Bill Kenneally’s victims has told the Commission of Investigation that he was shocked to his foundation when his son told him the former basketball coach had abused him.

Tom Murphy returned today to give more evidence to the Commission of Investigation examining the response of State authorities to allegations of sexual abuse made against the now convicted child abuser.

The car dealer was questioned on his previous evidence when he said he met with senior gardaí in Waterford Garda Station after a 1987 investigation into Kenneally which led to no charges against him.

Mr Murphy said Chief Superintendent Sean Cashman told him that Kenneally left the station a “chastened boy” after being interviewed.

Mr Murphy was questioned on when this meeting happened and what prompted him to go to the garda station.

“I’ve said I don’t know what prompted me to go the garda station to see the chief of police and his sidekick,” he said.

“I was annoyed when it came to my attention that Kenneally had walked out.”

He told the commission that he “spent too much time on my business and not enough on domestic matters”.

“I feel guilty about that to this day,” he said.

Chief Superintendent Cashman has previously said there was “no cover up” and Kenneally had assured gardaí he would seek medical help when interviewed in 1987.

Kenneally will give evidence tomorrow into the response of state authorities to allegations of sexual abuse made against him.

Chair of the Commission Mr Justice Michael White said tomorrow’s sitting will begin in public, but it might have to go into private session.

He said many victims had been given a “solemn assurance” that their evidence would be in private.

If issues arise relating to their evidence here might be a need for the hearing to be in private.

Kenneally is serving a total of almost 19 years in prison for the abuse of 15 young boys in Waterford between 1979 and 1990.

He was jailed for four and a half years last year for abusing five boys.

That sentence will begin after he is finished serving a previous sentence of 14 years and two months for the abuse of ten other boys.

His trials heard he met boys through basketball coaching and groomed them by plying them with drink, money and other gifts while subjecting them to very serious sexual abuse.

The Government established the Commission of Investigation in 2018 to examine issues including the response of gardaí, the South Eastern Health Board and Basketball Ireland to allegations made against Kenneally.

It is also investigating the knowledge of Kenneally’s uncle, Monsignor John Shine, other members of the catholic clergy and any political or public figures about the offences committed by him, as well as any contact between gardaí in Waterford and the Monsignor or between Waterford gardaí and political figures or public officials about the abuse.

Kenneally is a former tallyman and canvasser for Fianna Fáil. He is a cousin of former TD and government minister Brendan Kenneally.

Journalist Damien Tiernan also returned to give evidence today to refute claims by Dr Donie Ormonde.

Dr Ormonde, a former Fianna Fáil TD and senator, contradicted claims by the former RTÉ journalist that they arranged to meet in a hotel car park and said it was not true that Monsignor Shine had asked him to keep certain matters out of the public.

“I sat in front passenger seat with my notebook on my lap, it wasn’t verbatim,” Mr Tiernan said.

“I would make a note of something to help me jog my memory. I wouldn’t have had that with me if it was a chance meeting.”

Dr Ormonde has given evidence that Monsignor Shine rang him about securing a nursing home bed for his unmarried sister.

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