Dalkey is one of the most charming and salubrious of South Dublin suburbs, retaining most of the character it used to have when it was just a village, clinging to the edge of Dublin Bay. These days, it’s full of bistros. Art galleries. Bijou residences for a million bucks a shot. In its way, it would remind you of Cornwall fishing villages like St Ives and Mousehole. Charming.
Walk around Dalkey today, and you’ll still hear some of the old accents, in spite of all the brash young tigers who crowded in there over recent years, as if somehow the old ways are being unconsciously preserved because people remember the good old days.
Good old days like 1973, when an eleven-year-old girl gave birth to a baby conceived in her family home at White’s Villas. The good old days when a woman relative killed the baby with a knitting needle in the same family home, put it in a plastic bag, and dragged the traumatised little girl out with her to get rid of it. The same woman who pushed the little girl into the sea from the edge of the charming fishing-village pier, and then dragged her to an alleyway to dump the bag, for the dogs to find.
Two, and perhaps three, of that family have since committed suicide amid allegations of abuse. Children in that house, it seems, existed only for the gratification of adults, and for the use of perverts, or “friends of the family”, as they are described. One broken young girl wrote a thirty-page suicide note detailing all manner of vile sexual abuse by close relatives and others but her mother doesn’t believe the note: the young girl, on the point of suicide, apparently found time to invent a pack of lies.
There are suggestions that the children were being routinely sold to child abusers, for sexual and satanic rites.
I said satanic.
And when you have the sort of people who involve themselves in satanic rituals, you always have an organisation, and you always have people from every walk of life and every level of influence involved.
So when the baby was discovered, what happened? You would imagine that our police would throw all available resources at it, wouldn’t you? Of course you would. So what did they do?
Did they listen to the little eleven-year-old girl? No.
Did they preserve the scene? No.
Did they examine the evidence? No.
What about the body – did they carry out any tests? No: they allowed it to be buried in a communal grave so that it became intermingled with the remains of hundreds of other infants.
As for the bag that the baby was put in, well they just lost it.
The eleven-year-old is now grown up. Her name is Cynthia Owen, and she described to the Dublin coroner’s court being abused by a group of at least nine men. Last Friday, a jury at the inquest finally believed her story. Dublin coroner’s court found that the baby was that of Cynthia Owen (then Murphy) and that the cause of death was stabbing.
There are so many disturbing questions it’s hard to know where to begin. On the night Cynthia was dragged out by the woman to dump the baby, two Gardai stopped and questioned them before letting them go. No record was kept of this. No fingerprints were taken from the bag, nor were there any tests on certain other material inside it. No blood samples were taken. It’s not clear that any meaningful investigation was carried out, or that the little girl received any treatment or was even seen by a physician.
When Cynthia was asked in the Coroner’s court why she didn’t tell the two Gardai what had happened, the Coroner intervened to explain that there were external reasons. What? What external reasons would have made an eleven-year-old afraid to approach the police about a rape and murder? I know why the Coroner felt he couldn’t go down that road, but I also think the implications are very disturbing.
This incident raises such serious questions about the institutions of our State that it eclipses all the tribunals that have so far taken place and all the previous child-abuse inquiries. If pursued fully, it has the potential to explain why this State for years tolerated blatant abuse of children by people in positions of privilege, from Daingean to Letterfrack, to Artane, and in the Diocese of Wexford and in all the other schools and parishes across the country. But it also has the potential to completely destroy careers and even entire organisations.
That’s why I haven’t much confidence that it will be investigated properly.
After all, we live in a country where our Prime Minister declared that he didn’t want an organisation to become bankrupt just because its officers had abused thousands of children. He was talking about the Catholic church, to whom he gave a blank cheque using tax-payers’ money, with a bill currently running at about €1,200,000,000. Contrast that with the Catholic diocese of San Diego which today announced that it would have to file for bankruptcy because of the compensation payments it had to make as a result of clerical abuse.
If our government will go that far to protect the Catholic church, imagine what it would do to protect the institutions of State. We have seen the extent of corruption in the Gardai exposed by the Morris Tribunal, and yet there has been no root-and-branch review, just the odd disciplinary action against some individuals. I think the Dalkey case carries within it the possibility to torpedo the Garda Siochana and possibly the Department of Justice, and I don’t think any government will countenance that. As old Denning said: it’s an appalling vista.
It doesn’t matter to any government if it’s all true.
Interesting article on a more recent murder in the same vicinity.