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Man who was sexually abused for years by active garda settles action with State

The man brought a case for damages for the abuse he said he suffered from when he was 12 years of age.

Image: Juan J. Martínez via Flickr

A MAN WHO was sexually abused “on numerous occasions” by a serving member of An Garda Siochána over 50 years ago has settled his High Court action seeking damages against the Garda Commissioner and the State.

The man brought a case for damages for the abuse he said he suffered from when he was 12 years of age during the late 1950s and early 1960s at the hands of Garda Jack Dunne, who died two years ago.

At the relevant time Dunne was stationed at Pearse Street Garda station in Dublin, where most of the abuse took place.

The man sought damages for the personal injury, distress and upset caused by the abuse.

He claimed the Garda Commissioner, the Minister for Justice, Ireland and the Attorney General were negligent and in breach of their duty of care towards him.

The defendants were vicariously liable for the sexual abuse carried out by Dunne while he was a member of the force.

The action was opposed on grounds including the claim was statute barred, and the man had delayed in bringing his proceedings.

At the High Court today, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was informed the action had been settled. As part of the settlement a statement was read out on behalf of the defendants.

It said the:

Garda Commissioner is aware of the facts of this case. It was acknowledged the victim suffered at the hands of a man who was at the time a member of An Garda Síochána. An Garda Síochána acknowledges the damage suffered by the man at the hands of Jack Dunne.

The statement concluded:

An Garda Siochana are committed to preventing, detecting, and prosecuting such offenders and will continue to take proactive steps to vindicate the victims of such abuse.

No other details of the settlement were revealed in open court.

Years of abuse

Afterwards the man, speaking through his solicitor Mr Pearse Mehigan, said he was happy with the outcome.

In his action the man said his family knew Dunne, who was involved with a football team the man had played for. The first time he was abused occurred after Dunne made arrangements with him to meet after he was coming off duty in Dublin City Centre.

Dunne, he said, brought him to the dormitory at Pearse Street Station. Dunne, while in his Garda uniform, got him to sit on his lap.

The man said at the same time another Garda entered the dormitory. That Garda and Dunne acknowledged each other, before the other Garda left the room. Dunne then sexually abused him.

The man, then aged 12, said he did not understand what was happening. Afterwards he said he was frequently abused by Dunne at the dormitory.

When he called to Pearse Street and asked for Dunne, a Garda at reception would tell him to go up to Dunne’s room if he was in.

The man also said Dunne would take him and other boys on trips outside of Dublin.

On one occasion they spent three nights in a cottage in Co Cork. He said on that trip he was raped and sexually assaulted by Dunne, who he said slept in the same bed as him.

Sexual assault conviction

When the man was 14 years old he asked Dunne to stop what he was doing. As an adult he felt shame, that he was a failure, and guilt over what had happened. He tried to close off what happened to him.

His life, health and relationships with others suffered, and he would become irritated if anything concerning sexual abuse featured in the news.

Three years ago he discovered Dunne had been convicted of sexually assaulting other boys during the 1960s.

It left him in shock and brought back all the abuse he had been subjected to by Dunne.

In his action he claimed the defendants had permitted the sexual assaults on him to occur and had exposed him to a risk of abuse they should have been aware of. No risk assessment of Dunne was carried out.

He claimed that the defendants failed to have any adequate procedures in place for the supervision and safety of children that came into contact with Gardai and in particular Jack Dunne.

He further alleged the defendants failed to stop Dunne’s inappropriate behaviour or protect the man from harm when he was present in Pearse Street station.

In its defence the defendants had denied all of the man’s claims.

Comments have been disabled on this article for legal reasons

Read: Man who sexually abused four young daughters in “horror of a home” sentenced to four and a half years

Read: Former CEO of Irish Life and Permanent convicted of €7.2 billion conspiracy to defraud

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Aodhan O Faolain

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