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Peeky blinder Former rugby coach paedo John McClean hides behind curtain of €750K Dublin home

'Mr Rugby' hides out in his home after admitting sick abuse of schoolboys for three decades while coaching teams

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John McClean looks out the window of his home as our reporter Patrick
O’Connell calls

John McClean looks out the window of his home as our reporter Patrick O’Connell calls

John McClean looks out the window of his home as our reporter Patrick O’Connell calls

Paedophile rugby coach John McClean was this week lying low in his €750,000 south Dublin home - after finally confessing to the abuse of 23 boys over a period spanning three decades.

Our pictures show the 75-year-old child predator, formerly the toast of Ireland's rugby elite, peeking out the windows of his home in Harold's Cross on Dublin's southside - too ashamed to even answer his own front door.

McClean, who during a glittering coaching career at UCD was credited with helping to develop the talents of Irish rugby players Brian O'Driscoll, Ciaran Scally and Rob Kearney, admitted on Monday he had indecently assaulted 23 former students while a teacher at fee-paying Terenure College in the 1970s, '80s and '90s.

McClean worked at the south Dublin school as an English and drama teacher, while also coaching various underage rugby teams - including the Senior Cup Team - when he carried out the abuse between 1973 and 1990.

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Former teacher and rugby coach John McClean

Former teacher and rugby coach John McClean

Former teacher and rugby coach John McClean

In 1997, McClean helped set up the UCD Academy, which became an immediate success and to this day continues to provide a steady stream of players for college's senior squad.

Ten players, the biggest number from any Irish club, have been capped at Ireland 'A' level while playing out of the Belfield club.

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John McClean had been due to stand trial. Photo: Collins Courts

John McClean had been due to stand trial. Photo: Collins Courts

John McClean had been due to stand trial. Photo: Collins Courts

McClean's contribution as the college's director of rugby was recognised with an award in 2011, at which time UCD Rugby Club called him: "A great director of rugby and a foundation stone of the modern club."

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John McClean had worked in Terenure College

John McClean had worked in Terenure College

John McClean had worked in Terenure College

Now, however, having pleaded guilty to 27 charges of indecent assault, McClean's carefully cultivated image as 'Mr Rugby' has been shattered.

The self-confessed predator had been due to stand trial on Monday but instead entered pleas of guilty before the court.

His decision to plead guilty was quickly followed by a statement of apology from Terenure College to his victims.

In the statement, issued to all of the school's past pupils, the school authorities wrote: "As you may be aware a former staff member of Terenure College pleaded guilty of most serious offences in the courts earlier today.

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"On behalf of Terenure College and the Carmelite Order, we apologise unreservedly to the victims and survivors of abuse who suffered while under our care in our school.

"We are sincerely sorry for the breach of trust and for the pain and suffering those affected by the abuse endured. We know that no apology can ever be sufficient.

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Brian O’Driscoll was a product of McClean’s UCD Academy

Brian O’Driscoll was a product of McClean’s UCD Academy

Brian O’Driscoll was a product of McClean’s UCD Academy

"The criminal acts of abuse by John McClean, a former teacher, meant that innocent children were profoundly harmed.

"As School Management and Carmelites, we acknowledge and deeply regret that we failed these children entrusted to our care.

"We are committed to providing effective and meaningful support to former pupils who are victims and survivors of abuse.

"We acknowledge their courage in coming forward to give their statements and evidence," the statement said.

The school added that child safeguarding is a priority for Terenure College, and that they cooperate fully with all relevant authorities in regard to any enquiries.

"We encourage anyone who has any concerns regarding child safeguarding to contact the statutory authorities, An Garda Síochána and Tusla the Child and Family Agency, and if they wish, the school or the Carmelite Safeguarding Office.

"We fully appreciate that this will be a very difficult time for many of you and we wish to assure you all of our full support," the statement concluded.

At Tuesday's court hearing, Judge Pauline Codd remanded McClean on continuing bail and set a sentence date of March 9, 2021, when all evidence will be heard over a two day sentence hearing.

Paul Murray SC, prosecuting, said a number of the complainants were present in court to hear McClean enter the guilty pleas to the charges, while others watched the proceedings over a Zoom call.

Mr Murray confirmed that some of the 23 complainants may wish to read out their victim impact statements during the hearing and told Judge Codd that those statements should be ready for the court before Christmas.

Sean Guerin SC, defending, asked for a later sentence date as he said he was due to start a lengthy trial in the new year which he does not anticipate will be completed until the first week of March.

A date for mention was also set for January 18 next to allow for any relevant documentation to be handed into court prior to the sentence hearing.

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