Saturday 19 January 2019

Victims of paedophile coach call for action on inquiry

Bill Kenneally
Bill Kenneally

Ralph Riegel

Victims of paedophile sports coach Bill Kenneally have demanded that a stalled inquiry into his case be fast-tracked by the Government.

The plea by victims of the Waterford-based coach has already garnered significant support on social media. A video by Jason Clancy asking for the stalled inquiry to be immediately opened generated some 137,000 views on Facebook.

Kenneally (66) was jailed for 14 years in February 2016 for indecent assaults against 10 teenage boys in Waterford in the 1980s. However, Kenneally admitted to gardaí he estimated he had molested around 20 teens, though he only agreed to name two.

The victims involved in the Waterford Circuit Criminal Court prosecution said they believe far more teens were involved. They also said they believe Kenneally's abuse involved a period earlier than the 1984-87 time-frame involved in the conviction.

Victims of Kenneally launched the campaign to fasttrack the inquiry amid fears it could be delayed for years due to unnecessary legal concerns. While former Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald appointed retired Circuit Court Judge Barry Hickson to head the proposed inquiry, it was subsequently stalled amid concerns it could interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation and an appeal against severity of sentence lodged by Kenneally. That appeal has yet to be concluded.

Mr Clancy said there was no reason why the promised inquiry shouldn't proceed.

"It is clear that an inquiry hearing would be totally irrelevant to any appeal against severity of sentence. They are totally unrelated," he said.

"In respect of any ongoing criminal investigations by the gardaí, we have been assured by our legal advisers that the inquiry would not have any impact there either," Mr Clancy said.

The investigation into Kenneally's abuse of young boys was triggered when Mr Clancy contacted gardaí to lodge a complaint in 2012.

Kenneally was jailed for 14 years as Judge Eugene O'Kelly described his actions as indicative of a systematic, predatory paedophile.

Four of his victims, who waived their anonymity to speak out about "that beast of a man", offered reassurance to others.

Mr Clancy insisted the full truth about what happened must now come out.

Victims have also demanded answers as to how Kenneally could remain involved with Irish sports clubs for 26 years after he first made verbal admissions to gardaí about indecent behaviour.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News