Protesters call for action on claims of child sex abuse in Fermanagh
Demonstrators held placards outside Enniskillen courthouse and PSNI station
Protestors demonstrate outside the courthouse in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh on Saturday. Photograph: Rodney Edwards
A protest seeking justice for victims of child sex abuse in Co Fermanagh took place in Enniskillen on Saturday.
The protestors held placards outside both the town’s courthouse and its PSNI station as one of the organisers , Padraig Murphy, used a megaphone to appeal for anyone with information on child sex abuse in the county to go the police.
“We are calling for support, we are making it clear that we support justice for the sexually abused children, and we are demanding police action as soon as possible,” he said.
A small crowd of spectators assembled along East Bridge Street to watch the demonstration.
It comes after more than 30 people spoke to The Impartial Reporter in the past four months with allegations against over 50 men spanning several decades.
A special team has been set up by the PSNI to review each case in Co Fermanagh as more alleged victims question the apparent inaction of the police and other authorities in the past.
“We continually hear rumours of cover up, etc, and when we have elected representatives showing a lack of interest, asking others not to be involved then this only leads the rumour mill,” said Mr Murphy.
“Today we call on members of the public if any one of you have information on sexual abuse of children then you have a duty to share this with the PSNI. If any of you know a struggling victim and you believe you can help with them speaking out, to the PSNI, then you have a duty,” he said.
Call to act
Caroline Wheeler praised the number of people who had spoken out in recent months, saying many adults were “wounded” as a result of child sex abuse.
“Father Brian D’Arcy recently said that any institution that protects child sexual violence does not deserve any respect,” she said, to loud cheers.
Speaking to the crowd, Enniskillen Councillor Donal O’Cofaigh said he was protesting “to demonstrate that victims of alleged sexual abuse have been failed and continue to be failed”.
“We call on the PSNI to act, we call on justice for victim for these abuse actions, we call on the victims to receive support. The community stands behind you.”
Some of the victims held copies of The Impartial Reporter’s child sex abuse coverage and placards calling on a “full and open investigation” and “justice for victims of sexual abuse”.
One woman asked those in attendance to “support all victims” and added: “It is so painful, we really need support. Please give victims support.”
“There are so many abusers in the county, every single person knows someone who is an abuser and they also know the victims,” said another woman, holding a placard.
“If you know anything please go to the police,” she said.