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Sunday 20 January 2019

Two national coaches abused young swimmers

FORMER Olympic and national swim coach George Gibney raped and threatened scores of young men and women who were members of Swim Ireland, formerly known as the Irish Amateur Swimming Association (IASA).

Gary O'Toole, one of Ireland's great Olympic hopes, blew the whistle on Gibney more than 16 years ago after a young man confided in him that he had been abused by Gibney.

Gibney, who faced allegations that he abused young swimmers from dates as far back as 1966 and up to 1982, won a judicial review in the High Court in 1994 stopping a prosecution after he argued that too much time had passed since the alleged abuse.

He then fled Ireland in 1996 to live in America and has never returned since. He is currently living in Orange County, Florida.

Gibney was replaced in his post by Derry O'Rourke, himself a paedophile who was later jailed for his crimes against children.

A married man with six children, O'Rourke was handed a jail sentence totalling 127 years for various sex crimes against young victims, but was released in 2007 after serving just nine years.

Earlier this year, Swim Ireland settled a compensation claim with 13 girls who had been abused by O'Rourke.

The settlement, estimated at €2.5m excluding legal costs of about €3m, contained no apology and no admission of liability by the defendants, Swim Ireland and King's Hospital School.

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