All schools and religious orders need to release their files on inquiries into sexual abuse, according to a survivor of sexual abuse at Waterpark College in Waterford.
“My abuser Tom Meehan was a monster. He had a type, he knew who to go for.”
Those are the words of Lee Deady, a survivor of sexual abuse at Waterpark College, Waterford.
He is one of 14 victims of Tom Meehan, a former teacher and vice principal at Waterpark from the 1970s to the 1990s, to have come forward.
Mr Deady told Newstalk Breakfast that the “best years of his life” in secondary school were actually “nothing but the worst”.
“I was going somewhere where I should've felt safe and protected - and I got none of that,” he said.
“Since I left the school, there’s not a day goes by where there’s not a reminder, where you’re not somehow negatively impacted what went on there.”
Mr Deady, a social care worker, took a civil case against Waterpark College and received a settlement of €60,000 – but Tom Meehan was never prosecuted.
“Not to get an answer or explanation why this guy was never prosecuted,” he said. “Why they never found a way to bring him to justice - it's just it's just feels like a massive, massive failure by the system.”
Tom Meehan was the subject of several garda investigations but was never prosecuted before he died in 2019.
When the Deady family went to the school in the late 1990s, they contacted a garda detective, but Meehan continued teaching.
Mr Deady said child and family agency Tusla was informed about the sexual abuse allegations by Waterpark College in 2008 – but they did not contact him until 2016.
“Those eight years of lost contact - from my story, how many people could that have helped?” he said.
“It doesn’t allow victims to get answers.”
Sexual abuse files
Mr Deady is calling on all schools and religious orders to release any files they have relating to sexual abuse inquiries.
He said it’s time “for victims to be heard”.
“We're living in 21st century Ireland - we're not back in the Stone Age,” he said. “You know the victims need to be heard.”
Mr Deady said he has attended “years” of counselling following the abuse he faced.
"Counselling does help when you're in on that one-to-one session,” he said. “But the second you walk out that door, you're back out there again and it just never leaves you.”
Anyone affected by the issues raised can contact the following helplines:
National Sexual Violence Helpline (for men and women) - 1800 778 888 or rapecrisishelp.ie
Male Advice Line - 1800 816 588
Women’s Aid - 1800 341 900