Saturday 20 December 2014

Irish college chief backs calls for probe

Published 16/04/2013 | 05:00

The CEO of one of the country's largest Irish colleges – founded by alleged paedophile Domhnall O Lubhlai – has backed calls on the Garda Commissioner to order a review into allegations of sexual abuse dating back more than five decades.

An investigation by TG4, which was broadcast last week, alleged that the Irish language activist admitted to gardai that he sexually abused scores of students – but he was never brought to trial.

He had worked for Gael Linn, organising children's camps in the Gaeltacht and also taught in schools in Clondalkin, Dublin.

The programme claims that during school trips to the Gaeltacht, he plied youngsters with alcohol before telling them there was only one bed so they would have to share with him.

Alleged victim Gearoid O Crothar said he was abused for more than three-and-a-half years in the early 1970s.

O Lubhlai set up Colaiste na bhFiann language school in Rosmuc, Co Galway, in the 1970s and also taught in Colaiste Chilliain in Clondalkin.

Caitriona Ni Cheallaigh, Colaiste na bhFiann chief executive, said gardai should review all their files in relation to O Lubhlai and Justice Minister Alan Shatter should order an inquiry.

'Victims'

"Particular evidence, including tapes and a file, which were central to the case, went missing.

"It's not satisfactory and it meant Domhnall O Lubhlai was walking in and out of secondary schools all around the country selling a book he had written.

"He was doing that as a free agent and that was very distressing for his victims," she told the Irish Independent.

"This is a man who was a huge character and central to Irish language and education in general.

"He was widely regarded right across the country and it's quite amazing that even in 2013, people still refuse to believe that it was true."

Last night, Justice Minister Alan Shatter said he has requested information from the gardai on the criminal investigations which took place and is "not in a position" to comment until this is available.

Dubbed "Ireland's Jimmy Savile", he died last month in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, before facing abuse claims.

He is believed to have abused dozens of boys during his 30 years as a teacher and children's camp founder.

Fiona Neary, Rape Crisis Network Ireland executive director, also said gardai should review all their files.

"He has allegations against him that date from 1955 up to the present day. It appears that at least two opportunities, in 1991 and 1998, were presented to the gardai to investigate allegations against this very influential and powerful figure," she said.

In 1977, he had presented one series of an Irish language education programme on RTE television.

Asked whether the state broadcaster supported calls for a garda review, a spokesperson said it was a "matter for the Garda Commissioner", adding that RTE "abhors" the alleged offences. A garda spokesman said it "never discusses named individuals".

Irish Independent

Promoted articles

Read More

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News