January 2008

Former brother sentenced for child abuse

A former Marist brother has been sentenced to two years in prison for sexually abusing a former pupil at a school in Sligo in the 1970s.

Martin Meaney, who was known as Brother Gregory, now lives in Clondalkin in Dublin.

He was previously sentenced to 12 years for abusing six boys in Castlerea, Co Roscommon in the 1980s.

Meaney’s victim in this case waived his right to anonymity.

Paul Gordon said he was abused by Meaney and two other teachers at St John’s National School.

He said his life was destroyed by all the sexual abuse and in 1983 he killed his father who he believed was complicit in the abuse by one of the teachers.

Mr Gordon believed his father was receiving money from a teacher, not Mr Meaney, for turning a blind eye to the abuse.

Sentencing Meaney on five sample charges of abusing Mr Gordon, Judge Anthony Kennedy said Meaney was the first person to use the term ring in relation to this school.

But the judge made it clear Meaney denied the existence of any ring of abusers.

However, Judge Kennedy said, the absence of such a ring makes the situation in that school just as shocking.

Five teachers acted independently and separately, ignorant of each other’s criminal activities, with the same victims used but not shared, the judge said.

He said this was as bizarre as if there had been a ring.

After sentencing the victim said he had received closure following a long, hard battle but he believed that a longer sentence should have been imposed.