Monday, 17 January 1977

What's a Canon?

Vincent Mercer, the Headmaster excused me from class and showed me into a private room.

 I was nervous, had I done something wrong?

I was introduced to Canon McMahon. He said he was from Archbishops House in Dublin and asked me to recount what had happened to me a couple of days before. I told him as best I could knowing who had just taken me to the room and could be listening outside the door.

Fear has the power to silence anything!

I only had the courage to tell him about McCabe and regretfully I was left with my other 'dirty' secret. What could I do, when I knew I would have contact with the other person on a daily basis?

This was the first recorded version of what happened and I presume it was taken back to the Archbishop in Dublin. I have a copy of his report and occasionally I read it to remind myself that I did the right thing in reporting it and even then not being afraid to speak out (albeit I only told half the story).

Sunday, 16 January 1977

An innocent picture.

My pony, Snowball.
At first glance, an innocent photo of a child looking smug on his pony! But this photo was perhaps the trigger for the one of the events that changed my life forever. The photo was proudly displayed in  my family home, and was admired by Fr Patrick McCabe on his 'visit'. Within 5 hours, he had tracked me down and abused me.

Saturday, 15 January 1977

A Saturday like no other Saturday.

Today is Saturday and it should have been like any other.

Unfortunately others had something else on their mind and little did I know today's events would change the course of my life, and the lives of those who loved me.

Patrick McCabe had been entertained by my parents at home and noticed a photograph of me on my pony. He commented to my Mother and Auntie Anne that I was a 'Handsome boy'. What mother wouldn't be proud!

I was playing tip rugby in the school quad. I was told I had a visitor and was excited to see who it was. As I approached this gentleman, dressed as a cleric, I would have been on my best behaviour. He introduced himself as Father McCabe and told me he had just been to lunch at my home and how much my baby sister looked like me. I was of course delighted with a visitor, as we only got visits once a week on a Sunday afternoon and it had been a week since my last one.

He asked me to get into the car for a chat and of course I was only too willing. It was study time and there was no-one around. The car was parked facing the river. I don't know how long I was in the car, well over an hour. The detail of what happened is documented in statements to the Gardai.

When I got out, I ran to the study hall where I told my Dean, Fr McKevitt what had happened. That night after lights out I was summoned to the Headmasters office where I was abused again. I jumped up and ran out of the room.

At that point I made a conscious decision never to let anyone touch me again. What was I doing wrong? Maybe this is was how everyone 'grew up'. Why am I reacting like this, if it's normal?

To me it just did not feel right.