November 30, 2002
Abuse survivor comes under fire

Colm O'Gorman

By Neans McSweeney in The Irish Examiner

A VICTIM of clerical sexual abuse has been urged to stay in Britain, not to return to his native Wexford and not co-operate with the BBC in its follow-up documentary to the ‘Suing the Pope’ expose.

Person of the Year Colm O’Gorman said neither he nor anyone else wanted Bishop Brendan Comiskey to resign. And he said the Church has to be responsible for its own action. But nobody wants to bring it down, he insisted.

His comments came in the wake of a handful of highly critical calls to South East Radio, his local station in Wexford yesterday. Mr O’Gorman featured on the morning chat programme with Alan Maguire yesterday.

While the majority of calls were positive and supported his stance and his plans to move back to Wexford, others were highly critical. Threatening letters were received by the same station, just days after the BBC documentary ran earlier this year and the same anchorman interviewed Colm O’Gorman live on air.

“I asked Brendan Comiskey not to resign,” Colm O’Gorman said. “Since 1995, I sought answers from him and from the Church. It has not been a pleasure to expose what happened to me in the way I had to publicly.

“It has been a difficult and painful process. This is my diocese too, my town too. And if anyone doesn’t want to listen to this, don’t listen. That’s fine. I’m not looking for a platform. All I’ve ever done is tell the truth of what I’ve experienced and hopefully provided a voice and a platform for others.

“To somehow blame individual victims, myself or anyone else, for the pain and the distress that rape and abuse perpetrated by clerics is causing wider society is absolutely ridiculous.”

BBC was right to doorstep Bishop Comiskey. For seven years he refused to answer questions on the matter, Mr O’Gorman said. And the bishop did not resign. He was instructed to do so by the Vatican because in their opinion, he was not fit to hold office.

“We asked the Vatican not to accept his resignation and urged Dr Comiskey to stay in office and deal with this issue. We have never sought resignations.

“We did not want Cardinal Connell’s resignation, when others sought it. We are not out for a pound of flesh. We are not casting stones. This is not about sin. It is about responsibility,” he added.

“A lot has been happening in the past few months. It’s all heading in the right direction and we are waiting for the inquiry in Ferns to be set up. It has been busy, but good,” Mr O’Gorman said.

“The reaction has been really supportive. We have had very few negative comments from people. Some people, obviously and understandably, feel very upset about the stress that some of this has caused. I can really understand that and see why people are disturbed by what is happening. It is disturbing. Even a lot of people who are approaching us looking for support are saying they’d wish this would all go away.

BBC journalist Sarah Macdonald was back in the south east yesterday, filming a follow up to the documentary which spurred Dr Comiskey’s resignation

Posted by Colm at November 30, 2002 07:11 PM

i am so sorry that you were subject to those kinds of comments. it says a lot more about the people making them than it does about you.
No doubt they were in the minority. But I think, no matter where we are in life, these things hurt. Please take good care of yourself and try not to let it get to you.
You know we all love and respect you, and are so grateful to you for what you have done and are continuing to do.
I really feel angry that you were exposed to that.
Warmest wishes,

Posted by: Liz on November 30, 2002 09:24 PM

Thanks for that. It really makes a difference and is a source of real are right of course these things can hurt, especially when they are hidden and anonymous but that goes with the territory! The truth is that the goal is too important to allow this kind of small minded bigotry deflect us from what we believe needs to be the end all I can do is be as true as I know how to be and let people make up their own minds about what they feel needs to be done. I do not believe that I or anyone else has the right to tell anyonw what they should think or that they have no right to express their truth. It was that kind of dogma that got us in this if what people have to say bruises then thats just how it is...

Again thanks for your warm words...hugely appreciated.


Posted by: Colm on November 30, 2002 09:46 PM

Hi Colm, thanks for standing up for me and so many like me. Without your bravery and honesty i would not have the strength to go on.
i'm looking forward to welcoming you back to Wexford.
Safest Hugs ti

Posted by: tI on November 30, 2002 10:10 PM

Thanks Ti,
I am really looking forward to coming home.


Posted by: Colm on November 30, 2002 10:19 PM

Hi Colm, I read the article today and found myself being upset, angry and shocked that people would still want to deny the facts of abuse. I am also saddened that they feel that they have the right to say who belongs or who does not belong to Our Church. I say Our Church and that is what it is. Thank you Colm for what you are doing for it and for us. I ask myself what are they afraid of and why can they not come out in the open and have a discussion on it all.

You have given me hope Colm and these comments are not going to take that from me or anyone else. There will be a thousand welcomes for you back in Ireland - certainly here in Cork.

Thank you Colm for showing me the way foward and for your courage and commitment. Well done.

Take care. m

Posted by: M on November 30, 2002 10:58 PM

Thank you....that means so much. I am looking forward to coming home and us all working together to build and put in place real responses to the whole issue of sexual abuse..ones that provide constructive, aware and compassionate ways forward. We all need to be part of that response...those of us who have experienced abuse, or families, friends, allies and the rest of society. We must be in this together.


Posted by: Colm on November 30, 2002 11:04 PM


I’m really sorry that you are being challenged for the great work you have done for victims of abuse. Your hard efforts to secure a voice and platform to enable victims to reach out for truth and justice have inspired many victims to come forward. The people who subject you to those comments are more afraid of the truth then they are of you. I came forward four years ago and until July of this year I felt so alone and had reached a point of dropping the whole thing, I wanted it all to go away. Then I found by sheer accident Oneinfour and I haven’t been alone since. Oneinfour and other victims of abuse who use the website gave me a new direction, an energy I never felt before and above all it equipped me to take responsibility and control of my future.

None of this happened on its own, it was you Colm who made it happen and you are making lots of other important issues happen. My wife and four grown up children keep telling me to thank you for what your work has done for me and I keep forgetting to pass that message to you, I am sorry for that. You are so loved and respected by all of us and that includes our families also. I know I speak for all of us when I say how bad we feel when you are exposed to that kind of dogma.

Christy, Mai and family

Posted by: Christy on November 30, 2002 11:54 PM

Colm, all I can say is that I second all the above comments. I think it will be BRILLIANT to have you back in Ireland. You have done so much for us here-----provided support, care, understanding, advice---- and from finding this website that you, Donnacha, Paul and I'm sure others have put so much into, it has certainly made a huge difference to me.
Love, C.

Posted by: C. on December 1, 2002 04:42 PM


I can identify to some extent with the hate mail that has been directed at you or even to you. This is not unfamiliar territory to me - that is not meant to make it any easier for you - it is usually done by cowards.

Isn't it amazing how, when any of us tell the truth the arrows and bullets come out. This is surely a classic case of the truth hurting.

It would be easy to tell these small minded people where to get off, but that would be playing right into their barrow!

Those of us who have "come out" and spoken about the rape and molestation of innocent children must realise that there will always be those who wish to have us stoned to death.

Onward and upward. Let them languish in their ignorance while you get on with exposing what they (whoever they are) are afraid to face up to.

Posted by: Paddy Doyle on December 1, 2002 07:29 PM

Hope your being gentle with yourself after being bombarded with those unkind comments, no matter how insignificent those people are, I know the comments must hurt. But hey, look what you have given us here and you have touched everyone here with your openness and honesty and given us all the courage to continue being true to ourselves. You are loved and respected and as you say the negativity goes with the territory of being in the public eye, and you have enough love support and people that matter in your life to deal with the bigots in our soceity.

Gentle Hugs

Posted by: T on December 2, 2002 11:15 AM


we're very proud of you and are delighted that you are coming home, we owe so much to your courage and think you are a fabulous advocate for everyone who has been abused, look after yourself.

Posted by: on December 3, 2002 09:05 AM


we're very proud of you and are delighted that you are coming home, we owe so much to your courage and think you are a fabulous advocate for everyone who has been abused, look after yourself.

Posted by: on December 3, 2002 09:05 AM


what can i say about these comments only what honest to god 'bullshit'...'bollox'. 'shite' oh...excuse my french but those people who commented are purely ignorant...and CHOOSE to beleive this i think...but u know what...the majority of people think u are an amazing person who has achieved amazing things and made history in this country...

On behalf of myself and i know many many others THANK YOU from the bottom of my toes for making a HUGE difference to my life

Posted by: D on December 3, 2002 07:00 PM

Colm, for the few small minded, stick their heads in the sand, won't face facts people out there you have many, many more who love you and are oh so grateful for what you are doing and the way you are doing it.

Posted by: on December 3, 2002 11:32 PM

Why is it the innocent ones are left defending themselves??? Why, when you have done noting wrong do you still have to defend yourself, why are you being attacked? You did noting wrong. I don't understand.

Posted by: on December 5, 2002 01:20 PM

Colm, it won't surprise you to see even after all our own hurt, we can still be so tolerant of others. Does that not say a lot for us? For all the comments above I second but no real malice nor hatred was expressed - I'm so pleased - though a little shocked.

I hope you will be very happy as a returned Emigrant - I myself have lost the great GRA I once had because of the people. The Geography is astounding - pity the people are not!

Posted by: Nora B on December 15, 2002 03:29 PM

what is happening now that Justice laffoy has Stepped down?
does this mean that the "Commssion into Child Abuse" ..Investigation Committee" and the Confidential committee, and the Redress Board is now no longer running anymore..especially since most solcitors have managed to cream off thousand in legal fee's and we the VICTIMS appear to be left high and dry"...once more
please let me know you're views @ the above E-Mail

Posted by: robbie on December 20, 2002 10:10 PM
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