Priest admits 10 counts of sexually abusing boy in school dormitory

Irish Times
November 13, 1999

A Priest supervising boys at a boarding school run by the Sacred Heart Missionaries yesterday admitted sexually assaulting a pupil in a dormitory after lights out. Father Tadhg O Dalaigh (56) pleaded guilty at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to 10 sample counts of sexually abusing the boy at the Sacred Heart College in Carrignavar, Co Cork, in the early 1970s.

Yesterday his victim, now aged 39, said the abuse was frequent, and caused him huge problems in later life, including running away from home, anorexia, drinking heavily and a suicide attempt when he deliberately crashed his car.

"My first marriage broke up disastrously, principally because we had too many ghosts locked away," he said. It was only since he met his present companion in 1993 that he was able to talk about the abuse and he had since gone for counselling.

However, he still had a lot of inhibitions both in his sexual life and in simple day-to-day matters, such as going into a public toilet.

"I hope now I have stopped running away. I can now see I did nothing wrong to anyone," he told the court. He added that the abuse had caused him to become estranged from his family and that had caused them great hurt.

"I've had many years of hell and I'd like to get out of hell," he said, pausing to compose himself in the witness box before adding that he hoped his speaking out would encourage others with similar experiences to do likewise.

O Dalaigh apologised for the harm and hurt he had caused and said he himself had been abused when he was nine. He thought for many years that such abuse did him no harm but he now realised it could be deeply traumatic.

He had been going for counselling since 1994 and now realised the hurt he had caused his victim.

O Dalaigh is now working in administration with the Sacred Heart Missionaries and not in contact with the public. Judge Patrick Moran adjourned the case until Tuesday to allow a counsellor give evidence on O Dalaigh's behalf.









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