Kenneally Commission Begins its Work

Retired Circuit Court Judge, Mr Justice Barry Hickson, has announced the formal commencement of the work of the Commission of Investigation (Response to complaints or allegations of child sexual abuse made against Bill Kenneally and related matters). The Commission began its work yesterday (Monday, November 5th).
Said Justice Hickson: “The formal commencement of this Commission of Investigation is an important day for the survivors of abuse committed by Mr Kenneally and for the wider community. The survivors have been calling for an investigation for a number of years and I intend to ensure the facts are established in line with the Terms of Reference for this Commission.
“As there are criminal proceedings ongoing, it has been complex to establish this Commission of Investigation and I want to acknowledge the considerable work undertaken by the Department of Justice and Equality with the assistance of the Attorney General’s Office.”
He continued: “This Commission will inquire into what, if any, level of knowledge of the offences committed by Bill Kenneally was held by a number of organisations including An Garda Síochána, the Waterford Diocese, the South Eastern Health Board, Basketball Ireland and certain political figures in the relevant time period.
“It should be remembered that these matters are particularly sensitive, and that Mr Kenneally is due to stand trial for further alleged offences. Central to the work of this Commission is ensuring that the work we do in no way adversely impacts on any further criminal proceedings, including on the accused’s right to a fair trial or on the rights of those who have made further allegations of sexual abuse to have their claims fully investigated and, where appropriate, prosecuted.”

Said Mr Justice Hickson: “I want to thank everyone concerned for refraining from any public comment that might undermine criminal proceedings. I am asking for the continued cooperation of all concerned including politicians and those in the media, to ensure that current or future criminal proceedings are not prejudiced and that the Commission can undertake its work. In this context, the Director of Public Prosecutions will be kept informed of the proceedings at the Commission and I welcome her interest in this regard.
Discussing the work of the Commission, Justice Hickson said: “I have formally written to all parties expressly mentioned in the Terms of Reference, seeking any written legal submissions they may wish to make by November 20th. Following consideration of the papers received, the Commission hopes to commence formal hearings later that month.”

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