Above Water: a crisply told story of surviving abuse
Trish Kearney’s account of her abuse at the hands of George Gibney is powerfully told
George Gibney’s liberty is a stain on Irish society. We know this. We’ve known it, on some level, for more than a quarter of a century. The fact that he was able to abuse young swimmers and escape conviction for his crimes is depressing in and of itself. That he was later able to find safe passage to a new life in the US, to live out his days unruffled by the destruction he left in his wake, is enough to turn your stomach.
We did this. Don’t be in any doubt about it. We did it through our system of justice, which in its wisdom and in our name let Gibney slip through the cracks to walk free. We did it too through our history of deference towards figures of authority, our disinclination to believe the worst of people in top positions. Gibney was the most famous sports coach in the country for a while – the gall of him to abuse children while carrying such a high profile was equalled only by the latitude Irish society conferred upon him at the time.