NewsCrime Desk

Raped schoolboy seeks apology from the State

Daniel Cronin
Daniel Cronin

A MAN who was repeatedly raped by a teacher in the classroom as an 11-year-old boy is to meet Micheál Martin on May 19 to push for an apology from the State.

Daniel Cronin’s life was destroyed when he was abused by monster Denis O’Shea, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2000 after being found guilty of two charges of buggery and four of sexual assault.

Daniel, from Midleton, Co. Cork, who is now 30 and working on a building site in London, saw his life disintegrate following the horrific attacks at lunchtime on school premises.

He became extremely depressed, made several suicide attempts and left school with no qualifications.

It is only in the last three years that he has begun to get his life back after “leaving my demons in Ireland”.

Daniel said yesterday he had never received an apology from Midleton Christian Brothers National School, the Department of Education or the State for the attacks.

And he demanded to know why O’Shea, who spent six-and- a-half years in prison and has since died, was teaching at the time, as other abuse accusations had been made.

One adult victim, a former pupil, stabbed O’Shea after the DPP refused to prosecute.

The teacher, who was also a Catholic Boy Scouts commissioner and took boys away on trips, was off sick for a year, but then walked back into his job with no school or Department of Education investigation.

“He was put in charge of special needs, where he had access to the most vulnerable children of all,” said Daniel’s furious mother Sharon, who has spent 20 years trying to get justice for her son.

“The authorities did nothing. There had been accusations made about him so he should never have been in the school.

After he was convicted of abusing Daniel, men then in their 30s came forward to the guards, but a judge ruled too much time had passed to prosecute.”

Some victims later threatened a civil action against the paedophile, but were given a private settlement.

In her battle to get a full inquiry, Sharon met with the then Health and Children Minister Micheál Martin in 2002.

Mr Martin said back then: “What happened to this boy was terrible. The teacher should be removed from his position pending investigations, but this obviously never happened.”

However, he said a full inquiry could not be launched until an appeal O’Shea had launched had been heard. That appeal was rejected in 2004, but nothing has been done since.

Daniel said yesterday that he was now taking up the fight and had arranged to meet the Fianna Fáil leader.

“I am 31 next month and I want answers. I want to know why and how this was allowed to happen,” said Daniel.

“I was only 11 when all this happened. School is supposed to be a safe haven. I became an adult overnight. I did not have the happy childhood that other children have.

“Some great counsellors in Cork helped me and I came to London to start a new life. I am a tradesman now after serving my time as a carpenter and I am a site manager.

“But the abuse altered me. I was severely depressed and wouldn’t eat and became anorexic. I tried to take my life in the early years and used to be afraid of the dark. “I’ve never received a penny in compensation.

When I was 18 I was told I had three years to take a civil case, but I was still deeply traumatised.

“Now I am getting my life back I want an inquiry into how this man was still allowed in a classroom.

“I want answers from the State. I will have kids one day and I want to know they will be safe at school.”