Former volunteer interviewed by Garda over alleged St John Ambulance abuse

Gardaí confirm file to be prepared for DPP over historical child sex abuse allegations

A former senior figure in St John Ambulance has been interviewed by the Garda in relation to allegations he sexually abused a juvenile in the voluntary paramedic organisation in the 1990s.

To date at least five men have alleged they were abused by the individual while members of the first-aid organisation.

The alleged abuser, a man now in his 80s, was a senior figure in the organisation, and a member of the organisation from the 1950s until at least 2000.

The man was previously investigated by gardaí over allegations made by three complainants, one who reported the alleged child sex abuse to gardaí in 2001 and others reported in recent years.


The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) directed no prosecution be taken following the first report, and again in 2018 after two further alleged victims came forward.

Following an Irish Times investigation last year detailing the historical child abuse allegations facing St John Ambulance, a number of further survivors came forward.

A new Garda inquiry was opened late last year, after a fourth man reported the same former senior figure had allegedly abused him as a teenager in St John Ambulance.

The alleged victim had been a member of the organisation as a teenager from the mid to late 1990s, and claims he was sexually abused by the man over a three-year period.

He alleged the abuse took place during first-aid duties with the organisation at Lansdowne Road stadium, and while working part-time for the man doing delivery work.

In recent days the former senior figure was interviewed by gardaí by appointment in a Dublin station in relation to those allegations, according to a Garda source.

A Garda spokesman confirmed it was investigating reports of alleged sexual assault in the late 1990s and early 2000s. “A file is currently being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions in relation to this matter,” he said.

Previously prosecutors told the initial three alleged victims they had considered the allegations separately “on the basis of the individual evidence available.”

Correspondence from the DPP to the previous complainants, explaining why no charges were brought, said the man had made no admissions when interviewed by gardaí in their cases.


Tusla, the State child and family agency, had also investigated a number of the child abuse complaints against the man, and determined the allegations to be founded.

Social workers investigating alleged abuse make determinations on the balance of probabilities, rather than the higher bar of beyond reasonable doubt used in criminal cases.

Independent Senator Lynn Ruane has raised concerns that the alleged perpetrator in the case also had access to “vulnerable people” in Dublin for many years.

The man had “full access” to people in addiction and youth services in Dublin “for decades”, recruiting and teaching first aid, she previously told the Seanad.

Dr Geoffrey Shannon, former special rapporteur on child protection, has been commissioned to conduct an independent review into historical child sex abuse in St John Ambulance.

The review is expected to be completed by the end of the year, and will include an extensive review of the organisation’s files, as well as interviews with survivors and volunteers.

Anyone with information related to historical child abuse in St John Ambulance has been asked to contact Dr Geoffrey Shannon and the independent review at:

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is a reporter with The Irish Times