Ex-sports coach appeals 14-year jail term for abusing 10 boys

Waterford man Bill Kenneally pleaded guilty to 10 sample counts of abuse in 1980s

A former sports coach has lodged an appeal against a 14-year jail term handed down to him after he pleaded guilty to sexually abusing 10 boys in Waterford in the 1980s.

Accountant Bill Kenneally (65) of Summerville Avenue, Waterford was sentenced to 14 years and two months in jail earlier this year after he pleaded guilty to 10 sample counts of indecent assault on the boys during a 39-month period between October 31st, 1984 and December 31st, 1987.

Kenneally has lodged an appeal with the Court of Criminal Appeal against the severity of sentence imposed by Judge Eugene O'Kelly following a two-day hearing at Waterford Circuit Criminal Court in February when the nature of the abuse on the boys was outlined.

Imposing sentence in February, Judge O’Kelly said that Kenneally had engaged in clearly predatory behaviour in grooming the boys, who were aged 14-17 at the time of the abuse, after gaining their trust through his involvement in soccer, tennis and basketball.


Judge O'Kelly had heard evidence from Det Garda Maureen Neary how Kenneally used to buy the boys drink, take them on trips to local chippers and give them money before abusing them at his parents' house – when his parents were away – or in his car, or in isolated woodlands.

He recalled the evidence given by Det Garda Neary and the victim impact statements of six of the 10 boys – now all men in their 40s – as they described the humiliating abuse which he categorised as being at the upper end of the scale.

He noted that Kenneally, who was the subject of an informal complaint to the gardaí in Waterford as far back as 1987, had no previous convictions and that he had gone for treatment and counselling since April 2013 and was at a low risk of re-offending.

But he rejected an argument by Kenneally's counsel, Michael Counihan SC, that because some of the charges overlapped in time, sentencing should not be consecutive and instead he said he believed each victim deserved to have their suffering recognised separately.

Judge O’Kelly said that, in those circumstances, he believed it was appropriate to impose consecutive sentences and allowing Kennelly seven months credit for his guilty plea on each count, he believed the appropriate penalty was 10 consecutive 17-month terms, totalling 14 years and two months.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times