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Dublin: 1°C Sunday 28 November 2021

Calls for gardaí to reinvestigate Domhnall Ó Lubhlaí case

The deceased founder of one of the largest Irish colleges in the country is the subject of historic allegations of sexual abuse against dozens of children.

Image: Child abuse form via Shutterstock

THE RAPE CRISIS NETWORK has called on the Garda Commissioner to carry out a review of investigations into allegations of sexual violence by the founder of one of the country’s biggest Irish colleges.

The allegations concern TV host and founder of Coláiste na bhFiann, Domhnall Ó Lubhlaí, who is the subject of T4 documentary examining claims that he may have abused dozens of victims in the 1970s and 1980s.

It is alleged that Ó Lubhlaí may have abused up to 100 boys when he was an Irish and religion teacher with some of the alleged incidents taking place in camps, hotels, flats and cinemas in Athlone, Ros Muc, Dublin, Donegal and Tipperary.

He died in March while under investigation for sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy in the 70s. Gardaí investigated allegations of abuse in 1998 while in 2002 the teacher faced 56 charges of sexual abuse involving 11 victims but the case never went ahead following a legal challenge.

The RCNI claims that gardaí had two opportunities to investigations the allegations against Ó Lubhlaí who it describes as “very influential and powerful figure”.

RCNI director Fiona Neary said: “We ask the Garda Commissioner to ensure a full review to ascertain if the Gardaí utilised the opportunity of the investigation in 1991 to examine whether abuse had taken place, as was practised elsewhere in such incidents. ”

“Questions also surround the loss of vital evidence from this 1991 case which then impacted on an investigation in 1998, when five men came forward and reported sexual violence by Ó Lubhlaí.”

In response to queries about the case, the Garda Press Office said it did not discuss named individuals.

Neary added: “It is vital that all allegations of sexual abuse are investigated fully by authorities in order to ensure the best response to survivors and to prevent future acts of sexual violence being committed by perpetrators.”

Ó Lubhlaí, known as ‘Donal Lovely’, died last March, aged 84 with his death notice referring to him as a ‘gaeilgeoir, teacher, educationalist, author and republican’.

You can contact your nearest Rape Crisis Network Ireland centre by visiting its website.

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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