Duggan’s Denouement.

What a happy day this is, our lawyers who have been beavering away under this legal cloak of omerta have decided to come clean and chuck their cap in the ring.  Hurrah for Anderson Olivarius, our champions.  The very names should strike fear in the hearts of our enemy, who having admitted to their faults 18 months ago and apologised, are now denying everything.

For all newcomers I had better explain.  Three years ago in order to improve my writing skills, I decided to set myself a discipline of writing articles of a 1000 – 2000 words a day on any subject that entered my head.  My daughter and her husband set me up with this thing they called a blog and my tentative first steps make me cringe to this day.  However I was soon in my stride and after upsetting everybody here in Ireland within a 50 mile radius, I decided to concentrate my thoughts on subjects farther afield.

My Damascus moment came with the publication of the Murphy Report addressing clerical abuse in the Archdiocese of Dublin.  It made me shudder, I could not believe the horror that was unfolded.  So much so that I, who had been a good Catholic all my life, who had conducted myself almost 100% in the Church’s teaching and rules and had helped to raise our family of six children, suddenly rejected 63 years of inculcation and started to think.  Something very few people have the opportunity of doing and which so many people should try.

I have not been near a church since except for one relative’s funeral during which I felt very uncomfortable.  I was relieved and amused shortly afterwards when I found out that the priest, a friend of the family, who had been persuaded to conduct the requiem mass, had been forbidden by his bishop from conducting public religious services.  Probably for some past misdemeanours and it does not matter really, but it made me feel exonerated.

Anyway after a few months of chronicling my life’s thoughts, I wrote a piece about my schooldays and in particular about the abuse of a friend of mine by the Rector of the school, Monsignor Thomas Duggan, who was the head kiddie at St Bede’s College in Manchester, my old alma mater.  In writing this posting I was totally naïve, I thought my friend Michael was the only boy that this had happened to, although I knew the punishment for being sent up to this man was a caning across the bare arse but  I did not understand and I do not think I ever thought about the serial nature of paedophilic abusers and how pervasive were its affects on us all.  However I wrote it all down how he had explained it to me many years afterwards, the look on his face and the staccato delivery telling me it was the truth and I still did not appreciate the evil of it all, but it still registered.

I was astounded by the response this posting engendered, old boys of the school started writing to me from all over the world, explaining their experiences.  I could not believe this tsunami I had created by just dropping one pebble into the sea.  I started to flounder, I was out of my depth, I could not believe the furore I had created, I needed advice.  So like an idiot I approached the Church with my problem.  I would at this juncture just like to tell anybody who reads this and has suffered or knows somebody who has suffered abuse and is thinking of approaching the Church, DON’T!  See a lawyer or a bobby, do not have anything to do with God.

Like the eejit I was, I made enquiries and a priest I was at school with put me in touch with the Safeguarding Commission of the Salford Diocese.  These Safeguarding Commissions which are in every diocese have nothing at all to do with protecting children and vulnerable adults as their mantra says.  No, they are there as a first line of defence for the diocese, first of all to ameliorate the angry, frustrated victim by promising the earth and then suggesting ways of dealing with the problem that normally end up in a maze of mirrors where nothing is done.  These Commissions are usually headed by a legal type and a cleric.  The Salford Diocese’s Commission was led by a smooth talking operator called Devlin, a solicitor, who really liked the sound of his own voice.  He was backed up by a particular doltish priest called O’Sullivan who counselled prisoners in his spare time.

I wasted nine months with these people, really only three because they refused to speak to me because of my insistence on getting the story out, but to cut the tale short, in the March of 2011 the Bishop of Salford issued an apology through the offices of a local rag saying that he understood some pupils of St Bede’s College might have been abused by Duggan and that he was sorry they felt bad about it.  This apology seemed as genuine as a nine bob note and had the consistency of maid’s water.

By this time my championing zeal had been totally deflated, I was all washed up and did not know where to turn but my anger at the Church and its acolytes was burning as strong as ever.  Then my shining light appeared.   Ann Olivarius, a lawyer she said, phoned.  We met over a cup of tea in Carrick on Shannon, which now I think about it I paid for.  (Mental note to claim for these two cups back as expenses).  Ann had a purse full of dollars and sterling but not the price of a cup of tea in euros.  We spoke for an hour or two, I was impressed with her fortitude and we came away friends.  This instant bonhomie might have come from the fact we were both born on the same day,  Ann of course a few generations after me.

The upshot was that she took on our case and a few weeks later she introduced me to a bevy of brilliants, her co-litigates, including the master Jeff Anderson from Minnesota and Fr. Tom Doyle from Washington.  Talk about fire and brimstone.  The law firm of Anderson Olivarius Advocates have impressed me like no other, with their tenacity, diligence and gentleness, in getting some of these wrecks of men, the litigants in this case, through the legal process.  Here I must give a particular word of praise to the firm’s barrister, Georgina Calvert-Lee who for the last year has patiently guided my outpourings away from the libel courts.  She has been my guardian angel, editor and teacher and I am a far better man for the experience.

We are now all in position, visors down, with lances levelled.  It is squeaky bum time for the Salford Diocese.  It makes a change.


11 thoughts on “Duggan’s Denouement.

  1. Good man! I look forward to an ending with the stage covered in bodies. (not yours).Nice to see the Cardinal wanted to”fix it for Jim”by getting his papal knighthood revoked.Is it possible to drum past felons out of the Monsignori? Cheers! Lef.

  2. Do keep us informed on this Paul (so far as you can while the matter is sub judice). If there really are mountains of solid evidence against Tommy Duggan on serious matters, as you have been claiming all along, I will certainly want to congratulate you on having done a great job. (What’s your favourite whisky?) But I want to see evidence first.

    Will transcripts from the case be made public?

  3. Paul,

    Well, the day of reckoning is nigh. I’m also amazed PR guru Max Clifford has had only 15 or so ‘Celebrities’ contacting him re the Savile affair. Let’s see how high the body count rises up to as regards the old Alma Mater. I bet there are a few dog collars and cassocks trembling now at imminent approach of the lawyers. As they say in the US, don’t get mad, get even – sue the bastards.

    Since my comment on the last blog re JS and his lookalike, a certain Mr Paul Gadd (aka Gary Glitter) has been arrested and bailed. I hereby claim partial precognition of this. I hereby forecast there may be the danger of drains being blocked near Alexandra Road South Whalley Range due to the very sudden evacuation of several sets of bowels simultaneously. Call for Dyno Rod!

    Sriously though, the other matter of TD’s and others misconduct will be be considerably more difficult to rectify for the College. This has been a long time a-coming. Let us keep the faith. Truth will out, eventually.

  4. Not relevant really, but hello to John Butler.

    You stole the show with your inspired performance in ‘Toad of Toad Hall’ in 1956.

  5. To all out there who put two and two together to make five. In this text about paragraph four I refer to attending a funeral of a relative and not feeling comfortable in the church. It has been brought to my attention by others that it looks as though I am referring to the funeral of a great friend of mine, Mrs Ellen Connor, who died this year. Ellen was not a relation and it was a mental aberration on my part. That does not mean that I did not feel uncomfortable at Ellen’s funeral because the parish priest of the church where Ellen lay is a man called Michael Quinlan and he knows a lot of things that went on at St Bede’s College and in fact knows a lot of things that have happened there recently and he is keeping this information to himself. Why? Because he is the Chairman of the Governors.

  6. Johnny Butler, Hi, not seen since Dominic R’s christening, or was it Anne and Les’s wedding?
    Anyhow, as John says, you stole the show – as Mole(?).
    Perhaps, before staggering a little further down cemetery rd. we can get in touch? Be not afraid, although the site is full of strange noises, i do not wish to engage you in a lifetime of correspondence.
    I also noticed John Watkins contributing in an earlier posting.

    John Dwyer, were we once classmates – i think that perhaps we were. Do you owe me money?

  7. Well, my posting of 30 October regarding celebrities visiting Max Clifford re PR against kiddie-fiddling accusations took a turn for the unforseen worse. Believe it or not, now the man himself has been arrested! Even Richard Littlejohn couldn’t have made that one up. At least he should be able to have a good try at spinning himself out of this one, let’s face it, he’s had plenty of practice.

    Whoever and whatever next? The Archbishop of Canterbury? The Pope? Watch this space if you dare…

  8. A not great Xmas present for our local weatherman, Fred Talbot, with a visit from GMP today, while he was absent from home. I didn’t even know (till my missus told me) that he was gay, but frankly I couldn’t care less about that so long as he gets the weather forecast right.

    As to the allegations regarding his time as a teacher at Altrincham Grammar School for Boys in the 1970s, I make no comment apart from this – mud will nearly always stick, even when totally unjustified. Just ask John Leslie. John who? Exactly. The one who got fired from a morning TV show over allegations 8 or 9 years ago that he beat up Ulrika Johnson, only she insisted he didn’t, as the press had another ‘Lord McAlpine’ moment and got the wrong person again. This is the press that thinks it needs little or no form of regulation. Really?

    Don’t hold your breath waiting to see Fred again, even if proved completely innocent. No chance of Granada TV standing by their man, a la Tammy Wynette, over this, I’d guess. At this rate, there will be plenty of vacancies going in showbiz as a result of all the people embroiled in the current whirlwind.

    Continue to watch this space….

    When will this all end?

  9. Now Newton Paul Daniels (to give him his full name) has stepped to the fore, admitting he kissed a girl hitch-hiker (at least that all he’s currently admitting to). I seem to remember this was the bloke who was going to leave the country if Labour were elected in 1997, along with a few other Tory-supporting showbiz types.

    I’d suggest, in view of the recent opinion polls, he starts making plans for May 2015, but this time, unlike a politician, he keeps his promise. Fat chance.

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