Tuesday 17 July 2018

Victims of Olympic swimming coach settle High Court damages case

The High Court, Dublin
The High Court, Dublin

Tim Healy

Victims of a former Olympic swimming coach jailed for sexual abuse have settled their High Court action for damages.

The four men had sued over their abuse by Gerard Doyle when they were young boys.

They sued Doyle and New Ross Town Council in Wexford which was his employer at the time and who owned and operated the local swimming pool.

Following talks today, David McGrath SC told Mr Justice Anthony Barr the cases against the town council were all settled and could be struck out. The action against Mr Doyle could also be struck out, he said.

The court heard judgment had been entered last November against Doyle in the absence of any defence being entered by him.

The four victims had sued in relation to the sexual abuse they suffered on different dates around the 1980s.

Doyle (52), a former national and Olympic swimming coach of Ard Alainn, Wexford Street, New Ross, was sentenced to six and half years in prison in July 2012 after being convicted of 35 sex-related offences against children committed over the space of a decade.

He had pleaded not guilty at Kilkenny Circuit Criminal Court to one charge of sexual assault and 34 charges of indecent assault.

The offences took place between January 1981 and December 1993, at a time when Doyle was manager of New Ross Swimming Club and manager of the pool.


After a five-day trial, the jury returned a unanimous verdict on the sexual assault charge and 34 indecent assault charges.

Doyle had previously been convicted of the offences at Wexford Circuit Criminal Court and sentenced to six and half years in prison, but subsequently a re-trial was ordered following an appeal to the High Court.

In their personal injuries action against Doyle and New Ross Town Council, the four men claimed there was an alleged failure by the local authority to prevent them being subjected to sexual abuse.

It was also alleged there was failure to ensure Doyle was competent and a suitable person to interact with young persons.

It was further claimed there was an alleged failure to remove Doyle or relieve him from his duties when they knew or ought to have known of his sexual proclivities.

The claims were denied.

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