Eoghan Dalton Reports
Fianna Fáil Councillors told colleagues at last Thursday’s plenary meeting of the local authority in Dungarvan that they fully support calls for a Commission of Inquiry into the Bill Kenneally case.
Mr Kenneally was a tallyman for the party as well as being the first cousin of former Fianna Fáil Waterford TD and Minister for State, Brendan Kenneally.
The latter said he first knew of his cousin’s crimes in 2002, while there are allegations that separate members of the party had a part in a cover-up.
Comeragh Councillor John O’Leary welcomed reports that Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan would seek to establish a means of at least partly convening the Commission of Investigation.
Said Cllr O’Leary: “As a parent, as a grandfather, I can only imagine the trauma that these victims have gone through over their young lives. And I can only imagine the trauma that their parents siblings and their relations would equally have gone through.
“And whether it be the HSE, whether it be the Garda Síochána, whether it be politicians, or whether it be the Catholic Church, I – and everyone associated with this party – will want the truth and the findings of this done and done to its limits. And I certainly will support the full rigours of the law to be bestowed on them. Nobody, but nobody, should escape the system of justice where they have anything to answer or where there’s questions to be asked and where there’s questions to be answered.
“I certainly hope that people who have something to answer, people who have evidence to give, people who can set at ease the minds of the victims and their families, this should be done in a very coherent and very determined manner. Our party will endeavour to, in any investigation, put its best foot forward in an honest and true manner and will support what we need at this point in time in support of the victims. We want justice, we want to ensure that anyone who goes down the road of this type of behaviour, this type of abuse of young people, be brought to justice.”
Two of the party’s younger councillors spoke of their horror at learning about what had happened in the decades past.
Waterford City East’s Adam Wyse admitted he was unaware until he first entered politics four years ago at the age of 19. “That was because I was protected by my mother and father . . . to not believe that something like this could actually happen in a city like ours.
“But the question has to be asked: who was there to protect the men sitting inside in this chamber with us today? Who was there to protect the other men that we believe were abused within this city? And even in some ways sadder, there was no one there to protect the men who have sadly passed and won’t actually receive the justice that they fully deserve. You’d really have to ask yourself, what is the point of us having a political system, what is the point of us sitting inside this chamber, what’s the point in having a justice system if men like this can’t get answers immediately?
Cllr Eamon Quinlan said both he and Cllr Wyse are from a generation “where we find it very hard to understand the types of abuses that occurred on such an industrial scale. However we are appreciative of the previous generation that broke the cycle that allowed us to have a childhood of genuine innocence.”
For more on this story see this week’s print edition of The Munster Express