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Review of Domhnall Ó Lubhlaí abuse allegations ordered

Known as ‘Donal Lovely’, the late teacher is accused of abusing up to 100 boys over two decades.

Domhnall Ó Lubhlaí
Domhnall Ó Lubhlaí
Image: RTÉ Screengrab

A REVIEW OF the garda investigations into allegations of abuse by Irish language summer school founder Domhnall Ó Lubhlaí will now take place.

Commissioner Martin Callinan ordered the audit following calls from victim advocacy groups.

The review will be carried out by the Garda’s Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Unit from Harcourt Street in Dublin.

The Rape Crisis Network pressed for the fresh investigation after it came to light that at least two opportunities – in 1991 and 1998 – were presented to gardaí to look into allegations concerning the Coláiste na bhFiann teacher.

Ó Lubhlaí, who is the subject of TG4 documentary examining claims that he may have abused dozens of victims in the 1970s and 1980s, has been described by another support group, CARI, as someone who “hid in plain sight”.

It is alleged that the language activist 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 this year while under investigation for sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy in the 70s.

Gardaí examined 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.

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

CARI CEO Mary Flaherty said this case, as well as the Savile revelations in the UK, show that the “best place to hide is in plain sight of the public”.

“Myths about abusers assist them in the grooming process and the more respectable the organisation, the more valuable to a predator as a hiding place,” she continued.

“The media can also unwittingly collude in unhelpful myths. What often transpires in the media is the notion that ‘they’ (the offenders) are different from ‘us’. Recent studies find that for  offenders who have abused within professional settings, there appears to be no reliable offender character profile that differentiates the abuser from the ‘good employer’; analogously, there is no clear-cut ‘abuser trait’ that could ever be zoned in on with a screening tool.”

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

Calls for gardaí to reinvestigate Domhnall Ó Lubhlaí case

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