Monday 22 January 2018

Athletics body speaks to gardai over abuse claims against coach


Athletics Ireland has confirmed that senior officials have spoken with gardai after a former female athlete came forward with serious allegations of sexual abuse against her male coach. As part of its code of conduct, the athletics body has also informed the Health Service Executive (HSE) about the allegations.

The coach who is the subject of the allegations has been ordered to step aside.

The coach cannot be named for legal reasons.

However, it is understood that the allegations against him date back a number of years and are now the subject of a criminal investigation, and are also likely to be the subject of civil proceedings against both the coach and Athletics Ireland.

A spokesman for Athletics Ireland confirmed to the Sunday Independent that the body had an extended conversation with gardai in the last two weeks relating to the allegations.

The spokesman said that the athletics body was "absolutely unaware" of any allegations against the coach until six weeks ago, when it received correspondence from solicitors representing the female athlete.

"We are aware of the complaint. Athletics Ireland would take all its responsibilities in this area very, very seriously.

"The person who is the subject of the allegations has been ordered to step down and the relevant authorities, including the HSE, have been informed and Athletics Ireland will be co-operating fully with any inquiries made by State agencies.

"In relation to any civil proceedings which may be taken, we will be defending strongly our position and will not be accepting that Athletics Ireland has any responsibility whatsoever for any of the allegations which may have been made," he said.

Sunday Independent

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