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GAA club shocked at ex-coach sex abuse

A GAA club said it is appalled by the sexual abuse perpetrated by a former chairman and coach on children, including one of its former under-12 players.

It comes after former Banner GAA club chairman James 'Tony' Maher (pictured) admitted to 18 counts of the sexual abuse of two young boys in the 1980s.

Maher (69), of Clonroad Beg, Ennis, was a founding member of the Ennis-based Banner club. One of the boys was aged 12 when the abuse started and it continued until he was a month away from his 15th birthday.

In a victim impact statement in Ennis Circuit Court, the former player described Maher as a 'monster' and said that he has tried to take his own life twice before he turned 19.

In his statement, the victim said: "At 12 years old, I was a very happy, bright young kid achieving good grades in school and then the abuse started.

"There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about what happened to me. My life has been totally messed up."

The court was also told that in one instance, Mr Maher abused the second victim on the grounds of Banner GAA.

In a statement yesterday, the Banner GAA club stated that it "is shocked to learn of the terrible suffering inflicted by a former officer of the club".

"The perpetrator of this terrible crime is no longer a member of our club and has had no role in the club for decades.

"We are fully satisfied that it could not happen in our club ever, ever again," the statement added.

Mr Maher is on bail and due to be sentenced by Judge Carroll Moran on January 14.

Irish Independent