Wednesday 17 January 2018

Everyone's a loser when an unhappy family goes to war

It wasn't just John Brown's good name in the dock at his sex abuse trial, Eilis O'Hanlon says. It was his sister's reputation too


It was arguably the most extraordinary moment of an already extraordinary Presidential campaign, as a visibly upset Dana Rosemary Scallon read out a prepared statement during the live Prime Time debate claiming that "vile and malicious" lies were being spread against her family and that she would leave "no stone unturned" in her quest to prove who was responsible and that it was untrue.

Presenter Miriam O'Callaghan, baffled, tried to prise more details from the former MEP, but Dana would say no more. Two weeks later, her second bid for the Aras, already on shaky ground, netted her less than three per cent of first preference votes.

It soon transpired that the reason for Dana's discomposure was that she had been informed before the show that allegations about her brother sexually abusing a child some years previously were about to be made public. John Brown, a member of Dana's election team at the time, was subsequently charged with indecent assault against two girls, now aged 47 and 53, at various addresses in Northern Ireland and England during the 1970s.

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