Abuse Survivor’s Disgust

New light shed on Kenneally probe

Eoghan Dalton Reports

Victims of convicted paedophile Bill Kenneally say they have been contacted by an individual claiming the child and family agency Tusla is in possession of a 20-page file containing references to Kenneally. The file is understood to date back to the 1980s and was created by the South Eastern Health Board, which later merged into Tusla. It is understood to be heavily redacted and the individual who viewed it has said they were only able to view a short paragraph referring to themselves. They were able to access the file through a Freedom of Information request.

The find has been described as significant by one of the survivors, Jason Clancy, who believes questions remain over when Waterford Gardaí’s knowledge of Kenneally. They are on record as having first became aware of Kenneally posing a risk to children in 1987, after which he was referred to the South Eastern Health Board for counselling.
“The real anger that we have is the very fact that we have been fighting and fighting and fighting for this and there’s a file, a 20-odd page document, sitting on a filing cabinet in Tusla at this moment in time,” Clancy told WLR yesterday (Monday).

Abuse survivor Jason Clancy.

Abuse survivor Jason Clancy.

“Only for we actually forced this inquiry through, that file would never see the light of day. And people in Waterford would never ever know the true extent of what was actually done because they did not hold their hand up and say listen, we have a lot of information on Bill Kenneally.”This is the child protection agency you’re talking about. It’s absolutely scandalous, and we’re absolutely disgusted over it.” While he said he was delighted with the file coming to light, he also found it difficult.
“What really upsets me, and this isn’t just me, is to know that there were people in authority that could have taken us out of our misery at any stage. We need to find out what was more important for them…than to help us.”

“We know that it’s a 1980s file. ‘87 was important because it was when a parent went to [a high ranking Garda at the time] and made a complaint. If the file is prior to ‘87 then someone had concerns about Bill Kenneally [prior to the date currently stated by State bodies],” he continued.He further said there are now a number of questions surrounding the information in the file, including the reasons behind the creation of the file and why Tusla and its predecessors did not declare the existence of the file before now. A number of the men who waived their right to anonymity following Kenneally’s conviction for sex abuse, leading to his sentencing in February 2016, released a video last week appealing for those with information related to the case to come forward.

A commission of investigation into allegations sex abuse by Kenneally was covered up by Gardaí, members of Fianna Fáil, the South Eastern Health Board, the HSE and the Catholic Church is set to start in the coming weeks. One of the survivors appearing in the video, Colin Power, told this newspaper there are a number of people who have yet to come forward, but can be compelled to appear by the Judge overseeing the commission. He said: “We know a lot of the timeline of when things happened, so we’re well aware that a lot of people in Waterford know stuff about what went on and when. It’s not a guess – we know who they are. “For people who have information, they should come forward now rather than dragging this out any longer.”

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