Charlie Flanagan plans to meet Bill Kenneally’s abuse victims

Taoiseach keen for commission to start inquiry into jailed former basketball coach

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: wants  a commission to start inquiry into the handling of complaints in the 1980s against Bill Kenneally by various State agencies. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: wants a commission to start inquiry into the handling of complaints in the 1980s against Bill Kenneally by various State agencies. Photograph: Dave Meehan

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Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan will meet victims of convicted paedophile Bill Kenneally “as soon as he has some news” about a commission of investigation, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has told the Dáil.

The Taoiseach insisted the Government was very keen to allow a commission of investigation begin its work as soon as possible.

The commission will investigate the handling of complaints in the 1980s against Kenneally by various State agencies.

It will look into what gardaí, members of the Health Service Executive and figures in the Catholic Church knew and did after a family contacted the Garda in 1987 to say that Kenneally was abusing their son.

Jailed for 14 years

The 67-year-old former basketball coach was jailed in 2016 for 14 years after he pleaded guilty to 10 sample counts that he indecently assaulted 10 boys between October 31st, 1984, and December 31st, 1987.

“At the same time we don’t want to jeopardise potential future prosecutions,” Mr Varadkar said. “We are working towards a solution that will allow the commission to begin its work. It might not be able to do all of its work but would at least be able to commence it.”

The Taoiseach told Labour leader Brendan Howlin that “the Attorney General and the Minister for Justice and Equality are working on the issue and the Minister will meet the families as soon as he has some news”.

Mr Howlin had written to the Taoiseach about the case in Waterford and had received an acknowledgment and a fuller reply from the Minister for Justice. He asked if the Minister would meet the victims.

The Government promised in April 2017 to establish a commission.

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