Mr Justice Barry Hickson announces the formal commencement of the work of the Hickson Commission of Investigation
1 November 2018
Retired Circuit Court Judge, Mr Justice Barry Hickson, has announced the formal commencement of the work of the Commission of Investigation (Response to complaints or allegations of child sexual abuse made against Bill Kenneally and related matters). The Commission will begin its work on Monday, 5 November.
Justice Hickson said: “The formal commencement of this Commission of Investigation is an important day for the survivors of abuse committed by Mr Kenneally and for the wider community. 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.
“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.
“This Commission will inquire into what, if any, level of knowledge of the offences committed by Bill Kenneally was held by a number of organisations including An Garda Síochána, the Waterford Diocese, the South Eastern Health Board, Basketball Ireland and certain political figures in the relevant time period.
“It should be remembered that these matters are particularly sensitive, and that Mr Kenneally is due to stand trial for further alleged offences. 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.
“I want to thank everyone concerned for refraining from any public comment that might undermine criminal proceedings. I am asking for the continued cooperation of all concerned including politicians and those in the media, to ensure that current or future criminal proceedings are not prejudiced and that the Commission can undertake its work. In this context, the Director of Public Prosecutions will be kept informed of the proceedings at the Commission and I welcome her interest in this regard.
Discussing the work of the Commission, Justice Hickson said, “I have formally written to all parties expressly mentioned in the Terms of Reference, seeking any written legal submissions they may wish to make by 20 November. Following consideration of the papers received, the Commission hopes to commence formal hearings later that month.”
Notes for Editors
Terms of Reference
Commission of Investigation (Response to complaints or allegations of child sexual abuse made against Bill Kenneally and related matters)
1. The Commission is directed to investigate the following matters:
(A) To establish the full extent of complaints or allegations of sexual abuse against Bill Kenneally made to An Garda Síochána between 1985 and 1992 (inclusive)
(B) The extent of the knowledge, or otherwise, of members of An Garda Síochána, serving in the Waterford area, of the offences being committed by Bill Kenneally during the time period specified in Term A. In addition, if further information comes to light regarding the extent of the knowledge held by members of An Garda Síochána (i) prior to 1985, of offences committed by Bill Kenneally before 1985; or (ii) prior to November 2012, of offences committed by Bill Kenneally after 1992; the Commission shall proceed to investigate the extent of that knowledge.
(C) To ascertain the nature of the Garda response to any allegations or complaints in relation to, or knowledge of, the offences referred to in term (B) above and whether such response and/or investigation was adequate or appropriate.
(D) Whether a "caution" was given to Bill Kenneally by An Garda Síochána in 1987, and whether he was formally, or informally, questioned by An Garda Síochána, and whether those actions were an adequate response to the allegations being made against him.
(E) Whether, following this “caution”, or other form of questioning as outlined in term (D) above, in 1987, there was ongoing monitoring of any form of Bill Kenneally by An Garda Síochána stationed in Waterford.
(F) Whether An Garda Síochána contacted or notified the South Eastern Health Board or Basketball Ireland (or the Irish Basketball Association as it was then known) in relation to the allegations made against Bill Kenneally and if not why not.
(G) Whether the South Eastern Health Board took any action upon receipt of the information supplied by An Garda Síochána, or any other third party, in 1987, if any, regarding allegations against Bill Kenneally, and whether the action taken was an adequate response.
(H) Whether Basketball Ireland took any action upon receipt of the information supplied by An Garda Síochána, or any other third party, if any, regarding allegations against Bill Kenneally, and whether the action taken was an adequate response.
(I) The knowledge, or otherwise, of a member of the clergy related to Bill Kenneally and serving as Monsignor in the Waterford parish, or other members of the clergy, of the offences being committed by Bill Kenneally during the time period specified in Term A, and whether there was any contact between the Garda Síochána in Waterford and the Monsignor; and the nature, purpose and appropriateness of such contact.
(J) The knowledge, or otherwise, of any political figure or public official of the offences being committed by Bill Kenneally during the time period specified in Term A, and whether there was any contact between the Garda Síochána in Waterford and those political figures or public officials, if any, and the nature, purpose and appropriateness of such contact.
(K) whether there was any investigation undertaken by An Garda Síochána in 1992 relating to a B&B in Inchicore, Dublin, where it is alleged Bill Kenneally stayed with young boys on basketball trips, and whether the action taken was an adequate response.
(L) The adequacy of the Garda Síochána response and investigation in 2012; specifically whether or not all relevant evidence was seized, and appropriately utilised as evidence.
2. The Commission shall have due regard to any criminal prosecution, currently in train or pending, that may be affected by evidence adduced at the Commission.
3. The Commission shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Commissions of Investigation Act, 2004.
4. The adequacy or appropriateness of the response from An Garda Síochána should be measured by reference to the prevailing standards and guidelines applicable at the time.