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SOCIAL BOOKMARKS

Commission to begin investigating child sex abuse allegations against Bill Kenneally next week

The Commission of Investigation into allegations of child sex abuse against Bill Kennealy will begin next Monday.

It will be led by retired Circuit Court judge Barry Hickson, who says today is an important day for survivors.

Bill Kennealy is currently serving a 14-year jail sentence for abusing teenage boys in Waterford in the 1980s and the former basketball coach is due to stand trial for further offences.

The commission will look into what - if anything - organisations including the Gardaí, Basketball Ireland and the Waterford Diocese, knew about the allegations.

Mr Justice Hickson said: "The survivors have been calling for an investigation for a number of years and I intend to ensure the facts are established in line with the Terms of Reference for this Commission.

Bill Kennealy.

“As there are criminal proceedings ongoing, it has been complex to establish this Commission of Investigation and I want to acknowledge the considerable work undertaken by the Department of Justice and Equality with the assistance of the Attorney General’s Office."

He also called for the "continued cooperation" of politicians and the media to ensure no current or future criminal proceedings are prejudiced.

He said: "Central to the work of this Commission is ensuring that the work we do in no way adversely impacts on any further criminal proceedings, including on the accused’s right to a fair trial or on the rights of those who have made further allegations of sexual abuse to have their claims fully investigated and, where appropriate, prosecuted."

Formal hearings will begin later this month.