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Thursday 18 January 2018

Minister wants commission to look into handling of complaints against paedophile ex-basketball coach

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald Picture: Gerry Mooney
Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald Picture: Gerry Mooney
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

A commission of investigation is to be set up into matters surrounding a former national basketball coach who is convicted of abusing 10 teenage boys.

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald briefed the Cabinet on her intentions to establish an inquiry into the handling of complaints against Billy Kenneally.

The 67-year-old is serving a 14-year sentence for child abuse. He was sentenced last year after pleading guilty to the offences which occurred in Waterford in the 1980s.

A Garda investigation into more recent complaints is ongoing but Ms Fitzgerald is to consult the Attorney General for advice on a possible inquiry.

The Tánaiste’s spokesman said she is “anxious not to impinge on the rights of other victims to have their complaints fully considered and, if possible, prosecuted”.

“Therefore the Tánaiste intends to consult with the Attorney General to consider the effects of establishing a Commission of Investigation with a view to supporting all of the victims involved in having their complaints heard and their rights vindicated.”

Ms Fitzgerald has met directly with some of the victims who raised questions about the actions and attitudes of people in positions of authority linked to the Kenneally case.

Her spokesman that based on these meetings she believes “the balance of the public interest may make it appropriate to move towards the establishment of a further inquiry”

This would inquire into the handling of the case by State agencies, including An Garda Síochána, as well as the role of Church and other figures.

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