Child sex abuse victim ‘will go on hunger strike’ over Raphoe report delays

Sue Doherty

Reporter:

Sue Doherty

A man who was sexually abused as a child in Donegal is threatening to go on hunger strike if a report on abuse in the Diocese of Raphoe is not released in the coming weeks.

A man who was sexually abused as a child in Donegal is threatening to go on hunger strike if a report on abuse in the Diocese of Raphoe is not released in the coming weeks.

John O’Donnell, who is now aged 55, was abused by two men from the age of nine to fifteen. One the men, both of whom are now deceased, was a member of the local church choir.

Mr O’Donnell will stage a protest outside the Bishop’s palace if the report prepared by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church is not released before the end of the month.

The Falcarragh man told the Donegal Democrat yesterday that he was prepared to go even further. “When I met the Bishop in August, I told him to his face that I was prepared to on hunger strike over this issue. If the full, undiluted report is not released in the next few months, I will go on hunger strike.”

Mr O’Donnell said he was making this stand on behalf of all of the victims of child sex abuse perpetrated by religious and laity associated with the Catholic Church.

“The longer the report is delayed, the longer we are left without answers and the longer we are left suffering.

“What is wrong that we can’t even get an apology? Church officials say they ‘understand our suffering’ but they can not even begin to know the pain that we have endured and continue to endure.

“We have been let down by both the Church and the State. When we tried to come forward to help others, we were the ones branded as evil - in my case by both clergy and guards.

“Even recently, when my story was told in a tabloid newspaper, an elderly lady stopped me in the street in Falcarragh. She asked me was I John O’Donnell. When I told here I was, she said I was ‘nothing but an Anti-Christ’.

“The truth must come out, so that at least people can understand what really happened.”

READ MORE ABOUT JOHN’S STORY IN THURSDAY’S DONEGAL DEMOCRAT.