Tuesday 20 November 2018

Dr Ciara Kelly: Tom Humphries case raises a great many disturbing questions

Ciara Kelly
Ciara Kelly
Dr Ciara Kelly

Dr Ciara Kelly

I've been reading with perturbed interest, convicted paedophile and former sports journalist with The Irish Times Tom Humphries's articles about the under 14 camogie team he was involved in the training of back in 2005. Humphries wrote in glowing terms about these GAA kids. It was from among the ranks of girls like these in another club that Humphries singled out his victim for grooming and ultimately for defilement, and how he viewed them and wrote about them is revealing.

In one article he describes the under 14 girls as "the 24 greatest living Irish women" and says of them "they can be both erratic and brilliant. They can die for each other or they can just not be in the mood for anything except the bartering of gossip with each other. They play and function as an aggregate of their two dozen separate personalities. They are beautiful and wild and basically nuts. Some days they are just collectively hormonal and we are afraid to ask them something in case they rage at us".

When viewed through the prism of trust that people had in Tom Humphries as a respected sports journalist at the time these articles were published, this writing is kind, generous, avuncular, benevolent. He has graciously elevated schoolgirls into women and indeed elevated them further into the greatest of all women. They are fearless, multifaceted sporting warriors to be admired, respected and almost revered.

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