Delay by St John Ambulance in publishing report into historic abuse of ‘great concern’, says O’Gorman

Investigation by Dr Geoffrey Shannon examined past child abuse in St John Ambulance

The impact on survivors of a delay by St John Ambulance in publishing an independent report into historical child sex abuse is of “great concern”, Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman has told the first aid organisation.

The investigation into past abuse in the voluntary body was carried out over more than a year by Dr Geoffrey Shannon SC, a child law expert, with his report sent to the organisation late last November.

St John Ambulance has said it intends to publish the report following its own review of its findings.

In a January 25th letter, Mr O’Gorman said he would “urge” the organisation to publish the report “as early as possible”.


The investigation by Dr Shannon was commissioned following a series of reports in The Irish Times revealing alleged abuse by a former senior figure in the organisation’s Old Kilmainham division in Dublin.

To date, at least nine men have alleged they were sexually abused by the same former senior figure, between the late 1960s and late 1990s.

In his letter, Mr O’Gorman said given it was the end of January he was reiterating previous calls for the organisation to publish the report without further delay.

“Whilst acknowledging your organisation’s wish to complete your organisation’s due diligence process, the impact of the delay on publishing this report on victims of abuse is now of great concern,” he wrote.

“I’m aware that the ongoing delay in publication is a source of great anxiety and stress to the survivors of abuse and of public concern,” he said.

The Minister asked the organisation to continue to liaise with Tusla, the child and family agency, to ensure appropriate supports were in place for survivors for the report’s publication.

John Hughes, St John Ambulance commissioner, told Mr O’Gorman in late December the organisation’s board was committed to publishing the report in full, following a review which would be “as quick and efficient as possible”.

Representatives from both Government and Opposition parties have criticised the failure to publish the report, with the issue expected to be debated in the Dáil in the coming week.

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is acting Europe Correspondent of The Irish Times