Curragh Camp Sexual Abuse Allegations
News of Curragh Camp sexual abuse allegations are yet another reminder of the historical failures of the institutions of the state to deal with claims of sexual abuse A number of former members of the Defence Forces have raised concerns about how allegations of sexual abuse and assault were handled.
Curragh Camp Whistleblower
These allegations were first brought to light when Kildare South TD, Patricia Ryan of Sinn Fein, alleged that a whistleblower had contacted the Defence Minister, Simon Coveney. Ms Ryan called for the establishment of an inquiry in to “allegations of systemic sexual abuse and the covering up of sexual abuse in the Curragh Camp. ” In answer to this, Minister Coveney urged any member of the Defence Forces, with information of alleged sexual assault or abuse to contact the Gardai. Since then a whistleblower under the pseudonym ‘Michael’, joined Clem Ryan on KFM, asking the Justice Minister to apologise for ‘the system failures to protect personnel’ and called on the Minster to set up a redress scheme.
Now, Mr Anthony O’Brien, a 64 year old former sergeant, who spent over 20 years in the defence forcers has come forward, and his accounts have been detailed in both the Irish Times. Since may of last year, Mr O’Brien has been gathering accounts from other veterans, of historical sexual abuse in the curragh camp, over a number of decades. The allegations relate to sexual abuse and assaults of both Male and Female members of the military, as well as children living in the residential area of the curragh camp. Mr O’Brien has accused the Defence Forces of failing to act, on allegations of sexual abuse by Defence Forces personnel in the past and has called for a public inquiry and a redress scheme for the victims.
Was there Systematic Sexual Abuse?
?An Garda Siochana say that officers from the National Protective Service Bureau, have met with Mr O’Brien since he first made his allegations in May of this year. According they Gardai they are not treating these allegations of evidence of a systemic culture of widespread sexual abuse, warranting a single large investigation. While the Gardai believe that the complaints are largely credible, they feel they are more a reflection of how claims of sexual abuse were dealt within Irish Society, rather that a culture innate to the defence forces. This was echoed by Minister Simon Convey who said there was no evidence of systematic or seismic sexual abuse in the armed forced. This is claim which was disputed by Tom Coleman of the Journal.ie, when he was interviewed this morning by Pat Kenny on News Talk.
An Garda Siochana, say that they assessed the allegations put forward by the Mr O’Brein. They say that some have already been investigated and in some cases prosecutions have previously be brought. In other case the perpetrators have passed away. A spokesman for An Garda Síochána stated that they had ‘both reviewed and formally investigated a number of individual complaints in the past,” He also appealed for any victims of sexual abuse to come forward to the Garda and make a report. “Irrespective of when that abuse occurred, anyone doing so will be dealt with in a confidential and sensitive manner.”
Defence Forces reaction to claims of sexual abuse
The Defence Forces have reiterated their commitment to providing their personnel with a save place to work. A spokesperson for the Defence Forces stated “Óglaigh na hÉireann are a values-based organisation and we take the safety and well being of our personnel extremely seriously and we are committed to ensuring that all personnel are provided with a safe working environment as per the dignity charter for the Defence Forces.
“In response to the cases outlined in your query, Óglaigh na hÉireann urges anyone with information of alleged criminality to present that information to an Garda Síochána.
“There are a number of internal Defence Forces procedures available to serving personnel who seek to make a complaint. All members are regularly briefed and aware of the mechanisms available to them should they wish to make a complaint.”
Harrowing Allegations Published on the Journal.ie
Today, Orla Ryan of the journal.ie published the harrowing accounts of James Daly and Michael* from the Air Crops. Both gave a candid and brave account of their experiences in the arm forces, with Mr Daly stating that he had to ‘sleep with one eye open’ and comparing the army to the church. ‘“A lot of cases are swept underneath the carpet, files go missing a lot. The Army is like the Church – they do everything internally’
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Both Mr Daly and Michael* detailed how they now suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and anxiety as a result of their experiences in the defence forces. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events. It is common for victims of sexual abuse to suffer from PTSB. Often victims of post traumatic stress can experience nightmares or intrusive thoughts or memories. They might feel as though they are always in danger or need to always be on guard, and may find in difficult to trust people or build relationship. PTSB can manifest itself in people suffering from anxiety, depression, eat disorders, substance abuse and other mental health conditions.
What should you do if you have been the victim of sexual abuse.
We would recommend the you immediately contact the Gardai National Protective Service Bureau on 01 6663430. If you need help, support is available and you can contact any of the below helplines, alternatively you can contact your GP
- Dublin Rape Crisis Centre: 1800 778 888
- Aware – 1800 80 48 48 (depression, anxiety)
- Samaritans – 116 123 or
- Pieta House – 1800 247 247 (suicide, self-harm)
Hanahoe and Hanahoe – We can Help
If you, or a loved one wants to talk to a solicitor about your experience we can assist you. Victims of sexual abuse may be able to bring civil sexual abuse. All enquires will be dealt with sensitively and in the strictest confidence. We have over 40 years litigation experience and over 25 years’ experience in bring sexual abuse claims on behave of survivors. Not only do we do we have extensive experience in this area, but we understand the sensitive and compassionate manner in which these sexual abuse claims need to be dealt with. Hanahoe and Hanahoe are an award-winning law firm, having twice been named Leinster Law Firm of the Year at the Irish Law Awards..
To contact us please call our Naas office on 045897784 or Dublin office on 015255637