Tuesday 20 February 2018

FF politician asked gardai to probe Nulty’s lewd texts

Former Independent TD Patrick Nulty. Photo: Tom Burke
Former Independent TD Patrick Nulty. Photo: Tom Burke
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

A FIANNA Fail politician sought assurances from gardai that they would formally investigate the sending of inappropriate messages to a schoolgirl by former TD Patrick Nulty.

Fingal councillor David McGuinness made an 8am visit to Blanchardstown garda station and requested that officers probe the actions of Mr Nulty.

Mr McGuinness, who finished second behind Mr Nulty in the 2011 Dublin West by-election, made the representation after being approached by the brother of the 17-year-old girl.

The Fianna Fail councillor has confirmed that he had concerns relating to "child protection" after being shown messages sent by the ex-TD to the girl in question.

But gardai told Mr McGuinness that they could not discuss the case because it did not involve him.

Mr Nulty resigned his Dail seat in March after details of the messages were made public. He apologised to the girl and her family and admitted that his actions were inappropriate.

McGuinness, a father of one, lost another by-election last month when he was beaten into second place by the Socialist Party's Ruth Coppinger.

Gardai had already been contacted about the messages by the girl's family when Mr McGuinness made the personal visit to Blanchardstown garda station.

However, officers decided that there was no case to answer because the girl was not classified as a minor.

When contacted by the Sunday Independent, Mr McGuinness confirmed that he contacted gardai on behalf of the schoolgirl and her family.

In a statement he said: "As a secondary school music teacher, I take child protection legislation very seriously and felt compelled to insure this matter was going to receive appropriate attention by the relevant statuatory authority. At all times, I acted with integrity and my sole concern was for the girl at the heart of the story."

Mr McGuinness said he agreed to meet the girl's family in his West Dublin home after they contacted him.

He said he was asked for advice "on how to ensure Gardai were going to conduct an appropriate investigation".

Mr McGuinness said that the mother of the girl had already visited Blanchardstown garda station about the messages and "wanted further reassurances that due process was being followed".

The messages to the schoolgirl allegedly began by asking her if she was "being good" and if she wanted to play "truth or dare".

When the girl replied "truth", Mr Nulty is understood to have replied: "Have you ever been spanked?"

The schoolgirl wrote back: "What the f**k." She then received a reply saying the message was "only a joke".

It is understood Mr Nulty went on to say it was a "harmless game".

When confronted by the mother of the 17-year-old girl, Mr Nulty initially claimed that his phone had been hacked. But he later owned up to sending the messages but said he was not aware of the girl's age.

Meanwhile, friends of Mr Nulty this weekend said the former Independent TD has "no regrets" about quitting his Dail seat but is haunted every day over what he accepts was "stupidity [of] the highest order".

The 31-year-old, who suffered serious facial burns as a child, is now trying to "move on with his life" and is actively seeking employment.

He lost his father, Patrick Senior, suddenly last month.

When confronted by the mother of the 17-year-old girl, Mr Nulty claimed that he was not aware of her age and admitted the messages were inappropriate.

However, the politician's actions and his subsequent resignation took a major toll on Mr Nulty's family.

"Patrick made a mistake and he knew straight away he had to face the consequences. Ethically and morally, he knows what he did was wrong and he is sorry for his actions," said a source.

It was subsequently reported that Mr Nulty sent a number of messages to different women whom he encountered via Facebook. In one of the messages, the then TD asked a constituent whether she had ever been spanked.

However, the Sunday Independent understands that gardai did not contact Mr Nulty at any stage about his online activities.

Sunday Independent

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