New judge appointed to Bill Kenneally commission of investigation

Mr Justice Michael White to lead the commission investigating handling of complaints

 Mr Justice Michael White’s appointment was confirmed following a Cabinet meeting. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Mr Justice Michael White’s appointment was confirmed following a Cabinet meeting. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

 

The Government has confirmed that High Court judge Mr Justice Michael White is to take over the Commission of Investigation relating to responses to allegations of child sexual abuse made against Waterford man, Bill Kenneally.

Minister for Justice Heather Humphreys has confirmed following a Cabinet meeting that Mr Justice White will take over the commission from retired judge Mr Justice Barry Hickson when he steps down on June 30th.

The commission of investigation was set up by then minister for justice, Charlie Flanagan in 2018 to examine the full extent of complaints or allegations of sexual abuse against Kenneally (70) made to gardaí between 1985 and 1992.

Minister of State with special responsibility for civil and criminal justice, Hildegarde Naughton said she wanted to thank Mr Justice White for agreeing to take on “this vital work with the commission”.

“I would also like to thank Mr Justice Barry Hickson for the important work he has undertaken since being appointed to the commission in June 2018, and I would like to offer him and his family my best wishes for the future.”

A native of Co Donegal, Mr Justice White practised as a solicitor in Dublin where he contested three general elections and one by-election as a member of the Workers Party before becoming appointed a circuit court judge in 1996.

He was appointed to the High Court in 2011 and later began hearing criminal trials at the Central Criminal Court and he has been Judge in Charge of the Central Criminal Court since 2020.

The Commission of Investigation into Responses to Complaints or Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse made against Bill Kenneally and Related Matters has yet to formally hear evidence relating to the Garda and other agencies in Waterford.

Among the other agencies and bodies, included in the terms of reference of the commission, are the south eastern health board - now part of the Health Service Executive, Basketball Ireland or the Irish Basketball Association as it was formerly known, as well local clergy in Waterford.