Domestic abuse: This is what it looks like

Terri-Louise Graham after she was battered by evil ex Greg Logue

In 2014 I sat down with Terri-Louise Graham, a brave young mum from Co Derry who wanted to share her story of physical and sexual abuse at the hands of her partner Greg Logue.

She had never spoken about her ordeal publicly before and wanted to speak out in the hope it would help other women get out of abusive relationships.

Since it was published Terri-Louise has gone on to be a voice for domestic violence victims in the north of Ireland and just recently participated in a BBC show on the subject.

I’ve decided to repost the original article as official figures show domestic abuse tends to get worse at Christmas. If Terri-Louise can get out of a relationship like this, anyone can.

If you or anyone you know would like to share their own experience of domestic violence with me, my email is: patriciadevlin1986@gmail.com 

By Patricia Devlin 

THIS is the brave mother-of-three who today waives her right to anonymity to reveal the years of physical and sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her cowardly ex-partner.

Terri-Louise Graham, 30, was subjected to depraved sexual attacks and vicious beatings by thug Greg Deyzel Logue who has been branded “violent, jealous and vengeful” by a judge.

The 33-year-old’s catalogue of violence included: 

* ripping her clothes off with a knife and forcing her to walk half-naked down the street in front of strangers; 

* tying a clothes line around her neck and beating her black and blue; 

* smashing a TV over her head; 

* beating her with a vodka bottle; 

* and biting her face, arms and legs.

Terri-Louise and Logue

Shamed Logue from Derry pleaded guilty to 14 different attacks on her — including eight of indecent assault — between 2008 and 2011.

The bully is already serving a seven-year sentence for a series of other attacks on the pretty single mum during their traumatic five year relationship.

“It was June 2008 when I got my first beating and I was three months pregnant,” Terri-Louise told Sunday Life.

“He bit my face, my legs, my arms and he left me with black eyes. He beat me up and down the street until I was covered in blood.”

“The next day he said he was so sorry — he cried and begged. He had me convinced that he would never do it again. And he didn’t, for a while.”

HUMILIATING 

Nine months later Terri-Louise suffered the next beating and the first of a series of humiliating sex attacks by Logue.

“We were at this taxi depot after a night out and there was this girl sitting across from us,” she said.

“He kept on commenting on her breasts, and making remarks, so I just said to him, ‘Could you just have a bit of respect for me?’ 

“The taxi dropped us off and on the way up to the house he was just so horrible. He kept calling me a slut, a whore, a tramp. Then he grabbed me and pushed me across a set of railings.” 

Here Logue launched a degrading sexual assault on his partner.

“He didn’t finish properly, so he forced me into the house, up the stairs and did it again in the bedroom.

“I was in agony. I begged him to stop. I was crying. But he went on.”

In another attack, the brute reigned blows on the defence-less young mum as she slept.

Original story in 2014


“I remember being woken up with this huge pain in my chest. I looked up and he was standing over me, punching me,” said Terri-Louise.

“He was screaming at me saying that I should have stayed up and waited for him while he was out at the bar, that he could’ve been dead and that I didn’t care about him.

RELENTLESS 

“He beat me around that bedroom until I could hardly stand.”

As her children slept, Terri-Louise was again subjected to a brutal and relentless sex attack, too disturbing to print.

But she says the most horrific incident of all was when Logue “flipped” and attacked her just metres from her mother’s home.

“I could see my mummy’s bedroom window and I couldn’t even make a noise,” she said. I knew then that it was getting worse, that it would never get better.”

After one last brutal beating from evil Logue she gained the courage to leave him. 

In a fit of rage he almost strangled her after tying a clothes line around her neck and beating her black and blue.

She said: “It was the 13th of July 2011 and I was in Altnagelvin Hospital and the doctors wouldn’t let me see my face for three days. He left me looking like the elephant woman.”

With the help of Women’s Aid and the police, Terri-Louise made an official complaint against the father of her two children. He was arrested and refused bail immediately, and was sentenced for several physical assaults against her in March last year. During that case at Derry Crown Court he admitted hitting Terri-Louise with a vodka bottle, smashing her head against a tree, kicking and punching her on the head and face as she sat on a toilet and smashing a TV set over her head.

It was also revealed how Terri-Louise was forced to walk down the street, in front of members of the public, half-naked, after Logue ripped off her clothes with a pen knife.

Logue has now admitted to the degrading sex attacks he launched on his former partner, along with six charges of common assault. Seven charges of rape and one charge of making threats to kill, which Logue had pleaded not guilty to, were left on the books.

“My police statement was 19 pages long,” she said.

“And I realise now that if I had had the courage to stop it the first time he hit me, I wouldn’t have gone through everything else.”

The young mum, who hopes to start a psychology degree in the near future, urges anyone in an abusive relationship to seek help.

“It is the most horrendous, horrific, soul destroying experience — but you can move on.

PAIN 

“The fact that the person you love so much can cause you so much pain, that you wouldn’t do a thing to hurt them, but they will hurt you. That its okay for them to destroy your life.

“They promise that it won’t happen again but it will. It was nine months before Greg touched me again, but he did. Are these beatings worth the lovely times?” Terri-Louise, who still gets flashbacks of the attacks, added: “If you are in an abusive relationship you need to tell someone, even just a friend.

“The Domestic Violence helpline is also free. Go to a payphone, or somewhere where you can talk to them.”

The young mum added: “I’m still trying to get myself back together.

“I tried to go back to uni, but I had to leave. It was too soon. But I will go back and I get the degree I dreamed off. He won’t stop me any more.

“I’m going to make my babies so proud of their mummy they will not care who their daddy is.”

Terri-Louise bravely faced her monster ex at Laganside Crown Court last year where he admitted to 14 separate charges of physical and sexual violence against her.

Sentencing was originally adjourned until February after a judge ordered psychological reports because a probation report had raised a number of issues, including questions about how dangerous violent Logue is to the general public.

However, after numerous adjournments since, Logue has yet to be sentenced. Terri-Louise said: “I’ll be looking forward to the sentencing because then it’s over — after that, I won’t have to think of him again.”

*** Greg Logue was sentenced to three years in prison.

https://global.factiva.com/ha/blank.aspx?foo=true

Catholic church doctored books of mother and baby homes to claim cash from Irish State

Young mums and adoptive parents of children also duped into handing over cash to nuns in 40s, 50s and 60s.

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Patricia Devlin
NUNS were doctoring the books of two notorious mother and baby institutions to fraudulently claim government cash for single mothers no longer there.

Adoptive parents and young mums were also duped into handing over money on a monthly basis for the “care” of babies, some which had already left the facilities in Co Cork and Galway.

The shocking claims are the latest in a line of damning allegations made in a leaked HSE report surrounding Bessboro and Tuam ‘homes’,

Yesterday The Star told how HSE chiefs had uncovered evidence in 2012 that nuns were falsifying the deaths of babies during the 40s and 50s before sending them for adoption in the USA.

Former HSE family and children assistant director Phil Garland yesterday said the authority and the government ‘ignored’ the draft reports.

Last night campaign organisation United Survivors Group said it had made an official complaint to gardai on the back of The Star’s report.

The group says it wants a full criminal investigation into all those who had access to the material written by top consultant Dr Declan McKeown who warned: “This may prove to be a scandal that dwarfs other.”

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Bessborough institution, Co Cork

Dr McKeown – who declined to comment when contacted by this newspaper – further laid bare the level of financial deceit employed by the church towards the State.

In a draft report dated October 17, 2012, he wrote: “It is reported that during the period in question that, once a mother and child had been discharged from the home, two dates were routinely recorded.

“The first date of discharge listed is the date when the woman was geographically discharged from Bessboro, while the second date appears to function for administrative purposes, denoting when the woman was discharged from the institution’s books.
“These dates are separated in some instances by years. It is alleged that the home was claiming monies form the government during this period when the mother and baby were still ‘on the books’ but not physically present in the home.”

The report goes on to highlight more financial irregularities in the Co Cork facility’s books.
“…it appears that monies were paid both by the natural mothers for the care of their babies, and by their adoptive parents.
“The latter were requested to pay significant sums of money for the time, in the region of £50-£60, and this was payable by monthly premium.”
In Tuam Dr McKeown said: “…there are reported examples of parents receiving bills for the upkeep of their children who had been discharged some time before.
“In common with Bessboro there is some evidence of coercion in that women were forced to stay in the home with their babies until well past the point that they were fit for discharge.

“During this time parents were charged with the upkeep of their children but it appears now that adoptive parents were also charged for the upkeep of the same baby.

“Babies were offered for adoption from the Bessboro and Tuam homes at up to three years of age. The trauma involved in this is revealed in an archive of photographs of children who were sent for adoption to the USA. This practice largely halted at the introduction of adoption legislation in the 1950s.”

Dr McKeown also raised “deep concerns” surrounding uncovered correspondence uncovered from senior church figures.
The letters sent to the Sacred Heart facility, from senior clergy including bishops, allegedly request that babies be made available for adoption.

“These children were subsequently removed from their birth mother, in many cases as old as three years, and then submitted for adoption,” it said.
He also revealed how investigators had uncovered evidence of some women being moved within a “network of Convents and Religious Orders” in Ireland and the UK from the Cork home. A number of these facilities, which included schools in Liverpool and London, were listed.

The report concluded:  “Children, if not the mothers who passed trough these systems are likely to still be alive and at the very least any knowledge of their histories should be fully investigated and made available to them if they so choose.”

Yesterday The Star revealed how Phil Garland, a former Family and Children Services Assistant Director said two ministers had been passed damning allegations.

However both departments who worked under then Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Frances Fitzgerald and Health Minister James Reilly denied they were aware of the draft reports.

Victims Group make Garda complaint

A VICTIM’S group has made an official complaint to An Garda Siochana over revelations in yesterday’s Star surrounding two mother and baby institutions.
United Survivors Group confirmed last night members had visited Garda HQ in Dublin to report shocking claims made in a leaked HSE report surrounding practices Bessborough facility, Co Cork and Co Galway’s Sacred Heart institution.
The allegations included how nuns were falsifying the deaths of babies before selling them for adoption in the USA.
In a statement issued to The Star last night, a spokesperson said: “We strongly recommend that all those named in the file note/memo dated the 12th October 2012 and the two confidential draft briefs dated the 12th and 17th October 2012, and all other parties who had access to the serious issues raised therein should be questioned under the 2006 Criminal Justice Act.”
Independent Clondalkin councillor Francis Timmons has also called for the Justice Minister to launch an independent investigation into the unpublished reports.
He added: “I believe these documents should be fully investigated by the Garda Commissioner and that all people involved by fully questioned and held to account for their actions.
“I also call on Minister Fitzgerald and Senator Reilly to comment on what they were informed of in relation to the issues raised by yesterday’s article when they were Minister for Children and what steps they took. I have put in an official complaint to the Garda Commissioner’s office.
Cllr Timmons added: “The enormous damage done to thousands of people by the Church and State needs to be exposed and all cover ups and illegal activity must be dealt with by the Justice system. Ireland must deal with its past actions and the woman and children wronged by the state must get truth and justice‘’
Anyone affected by the revelations is asked to contact United Survivors group via the its official website; [http://www.unitedsurvivorsgroup,com]www.unitedsurvivorsgroup,com; or email on info@unitedsurvivorsgroup.com or telephone on 085-1942256, between the hours of 7 pm and 9 pm Monday to Friday.

Irish nuns sold ‘dead’ babies to America

nuns

By Patricia Devlin

A SHELVED report which revealed concerns nuns falsified the deaths of babies before selling them to parents in the USA was seen by two Ministers, a former HSE chief has claimed.

Former Children and Family Services assistant director Phil Garland says the explosive 2012 report was passed to then Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald and Health Minister James Reilly.

But despite recommendations for a State inquiry, no action appears to have been taken.

Breaking his silence for the first time on the reports he helped compile, Mr Garland told The Star: “The HSE and the government weren’t interested. And they still aren’t.”

The sensational “draft reports” surround both Bessboro institution in Co Cork and Sacred Heart Mother and Baby facility in Tuam, Co Galway and reveal how:

  • the church was defrauding the government, women and adoptive parents of cash
  • doctors, social workers and workers still employed in HSE helped ‘traffick’ children
  • bishops sent written requests for babies to be made available for adoption
  • Over 1000 records were unearthed by civil servants including letters and photographs.
  • chiefs believe actions uncovered ‘could be criminal’

Mr Garland told The Star: “I know this information went to the very top of the HSE and to the then Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Frances Fitzgerald. The departments and the Minister just weren’t interested.We wanted this to go much much further. It didn’t and I don’t know why.”The allegations transpired after the discovery of a “large archive” of files by a HSE worker in Co Galway in 2012.Health chiefs were immediately notified how the records, which included photographs and documentation, pointed to posisbly criminal activity operating in institutions during the 40s, 50s and 60s.The evidence uncovered was so strong it led HSE Chief Dr Declan McKeown to warn: “This may prove to be a scandal that dwarfs other.”

Two “draft” reports on “deep concerns” were then written by the then Consultant Public Health Physician.

They included recommendations for a State inquiry to then Health Minister James Reilly. 

The documents include an email sent on October 12, 2012, by Dr McKeown to Mr Garland and another HSE colleague.

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Bessboro/Bessborough institution, Co Cork.

He said a social worker trying to “piece together” the information, which included photographs and documents, had collated a database of “up to 1,000 names”.

He added he would draft an “early warning” letter for the attention of Philip Crowley, National Director Quality Improvement, “suggesting that this goes all the way up to the Minister.”

The email goes on: “This may prove to be a scandal that dwarfs other, more recent issues with the church and state, because of the very emotive sensitivities around adoption of babies, with or without the will of the mother.

“A concern is that, if there is evidence of trafficking babies, that it must have been facilitated by doctors, social workers, etc. And a number of these health professionals may still be working in the system.

“It is important to send this up to the Minister as soon as possible: With a view to an inter-departmental committee and a fully fledged, fully resourced forensic investigation and state inquiry. “

On the same day a more detailed account of the concerns raised in the records was again sent via email to Dr Davida De La Harpe and Mr Garland.

In this paper, labelled “strictly confidential”, Dr McKeown said that there were serious concerns surrounding the infant mortality rate in the Co Cork home.

Death records over a 19 year period showed that a quarter of all babies born at the institution were recorded as having died within the first 12 months of their life.

However Dr Mc Keown said evidence was pointing to the belief that until the introduction of adoption legislation in 1950, nuns in Bessboro were falsely recording baby deaths.

It has been mooted that this combination of evidence may point to babies being identified for adoption, principally to the USA, but has been recorded as infant deaths in Ireland and notified to the parents accordingly.

“This would have been possible before the introduction of adoption legislation. However it will take a more detailed study of practices and the accounting in Bessboro before this theory proven or disproven.”

The documents also touched upon evidence of similar – and more serious – practices taking place in Tuam.

“In common with Bessboro there is some evidence of coercion in that women were forced to stay in the home with their babies until well past the point that they were fit for discharge.

“During this time parents were charged with the upkeep of their children but it appears now that adoptive parents were also charged for the upkeep of the same baby.

“Babies were offered for adoption from the Bessboro and Tuam homes at up to three years of age. The trauma involved in this is revealed in an archive of photographs of children who were sent for adoption to the USA.”

It concluded: “In both of these cases, there are issues of concern in relation to historic patient safety, medical care, accounting irregularities and possible interference with birth and death certification which requires further investigation. 

“Children, if not the mothers who passed trough these systems are likely to still be alive and at the very least any knowledge of their histories should be fully investigated and made available to them if they so choose.”

Mr Garland, who says he believes the archive is still in the property of the HSE, left his Assistant Director position shortly after the reports were made in 2012. But he says he remains troubled that no action seems to have been taken four years on.

His claims are the latest cover-up scandal to rock the HSE in a matter of weeks.

Just last week the health authority was force to apologise after an independent report found it failed to properly investigate abuse claims surrounding a Waterford foster home over a prolonged period despite two internal reviews.

RESPONSE

I contacted a number of government departments over these allegations. Here is what each had to say in full.

HSE (Health Services Ireland)

 “All information gathered HSE-Health Intelligence Unit during the course of their research has been passed to TUSLA.

 “Any records relating to children and families in Ireland, both past and present are now owned by Tusla. The Commission of Investigation (Mother and Baby Homes and Certain Related Matters) was established in 2014 under the Commissions of Investigation Act 2004 by Order of Government under the stewardship of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs. The Commission’s work is on-going and any individuals who were resident in or who worked in any of the Mother and Baby Homes or County Homes which are the subject of the investigation should contact the commission with any relevant information.”

The Department of Health

“The  HSE provided a draft report which included the material in regard to Bessborough Mother and Baby Home and which indicated that conclusions must remain conjecture until a more forensic examination could be undertaken.     This  draft was provided to the Committee Secretariat and to the two Departmental  representatives on the Committee.  As these matters were outside the remit of the McAleese Committee,  the HSE subsequently advised that these wider issues would be examined separately  by the HSE.   There is no record of the draft report being received by the Ministers.

“In 2014, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs established an Inter Departmental Group  in response to revelations and public controversy regarding conditions in Mother and Baby Homes. This controversy originally centred on the high rate of deaths at the Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, Co. Galway.   The Group was to map the important dimensions of the issue, and to assist in developing appropriate terms of reference for a Commission of Investigation.   The Commission of Investigation into  Mother and Baby Homes and certain related matters was then established in February 2015 to provide a full account of the experiences of women and children who lived in mother and baby homes over the period 1922 -1998.”

Department of Children and Youth Affairs

“The information at issue was examined by the Health Service Executive (HSE)
as part of its response to the Committee to establish the facts of State
involvement with the Magdalen Laundries. In the course of this work the HSE
provided a draft report to the Committee secretariat and to the Department
of Health and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.  This draft
report included a separate appendix based on records from the former
Bessborough mother and baby home. The author of this draft report
acknowledged that its conclusions remained a matter of conjecture until
such time as a more forensic examination of the home’s records could be
undertaken by the HSE.

“The draft HSE report was not brought to Minister’s attention at that time.

“As these matters were outside the direct remit of the McAleese Committee,
the HSE subsequently advised that these wider concerns would be examined
separately by the HSE. The Department advised the HSE that any findings of
concern from this separate process should be appropriately communicated by
the HSE.  This Department is not aware of any subsequent reports supplied
by the HSE in this regard.

“The Department of Children and Youth Affairs became actively involved in
responding to the concerns relating to Mother and Baby Homes following the
publication of information on the former Bon Secours Home in Tuam around
mid-2014. The Inter Departmental Group Report on Mother and Baby Homes,
published in July 2014, cites a number of reports from relevant authorities
which expressed concerns with undesirably high death rates during and
following the times these institutions were in operation. It also
references academic literature which clearly indicates that conditions in
these institutions were the subject of attention, report and debate since
the early years of the State. Therefore, it would not be accurate to
suggest that concerns in relation to conditions in mother and baby homes
were unknown or ignored prior to 2012.

 

He made millions from heists, armed robberies and drugs, but today this criminal godfather has just €3.50 in his pocket

 

dunne-young

A young Christy Dunne

By Patricia Devlin

CHRISTY ‘Bronco’ Dunne was once the King of Ireland’s criminal underworld who made millions from heists, armed robberies and trafficking drugs

Today he lives in a Co Dublin council flat with just €3.50 in his pocket. The man who pulled off Ireland’s first Tiger Kidnapping certainly is living proof that crime doesn’t pay.

The 79 year-old has long left Ireland’s criminal scene, dominated by the deadly Hutch-Kinahan feud, but Dunne isn’t afraid to voice his opinion on today’s guntoting gangsters.

“My brother Larry was right when he said, ‘if you think we are bad, wait to you see what’s coming next’. He was very prophetic. There is less regard for life now among people – all people.”
Dunne adds: “There’s a subculture all over Ireland now kids that don’t know their arse from their elbow.
“They only know what they learn on the street…they are feral, wild. And I think it’s a shame.
“There are so many people out there that can’t control their kids, and if the parents can’t control them, who does? That makes them (kids) vulnerable.
“So can you imagine what they are open to? That’s where you get your jihadists from. And it’s (radicalisation) happening here at the moment. That’s what we need to be worrying about.”
Now aged 79, Bronco was infamous during the 70s and 80s as the head of a Dublin crime family.
The high life ended in 1992 when he was banged up for one of the country’s first tiger kidnappings.
He was found guilty of taking a terrified postmaster and his family hostage, where he is said to have tied a fake bomb to the man’s leg.
The conviction led to Bronco not only losing his freedom for a decade, but also his wealth, home and family.
But the great-grandfather insists he was never the criminal gardai and the courts said he was.

“If I walked in to a court tomorrow they’d have to quash every single conviction. They’d have to compensate me for it all,” he said.
“I’d already been convicted of the Finglas post office robbery before I’d walked into court. “The judge was a lunatic. I remember looking up to the clock as I stood in the dock and saw the face of the devil.”

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Christy ‘Bronco’ Dunne with reporter Patricia Devlin.Pic: Gary Ashe, Irish Daily Star

Christy does acknowledge however that he was the prime suspect in many of the biggest crimes in Irish history, including the heist at West’s jewellers in Grafton Street, for which he was charged and eventually acquitted.
“It was a load of rubbish, I was a scapegoat,” he simply said. “The police put that on me.”
“Any crime that I was involved in was as a kid to help my mother. She had 17 children, and my da was locked up in prison for political reasons.
“And when he was in prison I was 10. I was working for the big shops in Rathgar delivering groceries to the rich people.” “And I managed to open them and take a slice of ham there, a slice of cheese here and bring it home.
“I suppose I was like a second husband to my mother because my father wasn’t there. I had no choice but to steal. And that’s the extent of my crime.”
The only hint that Dunne offers to being involved in serious criminality is his connection to Republican organisation Saor Eire. During an early stint in Mountjoy Dunne forged links with members of the group -made up of revolutionaries, anarchists and paramilitaries – which wanted to ignite a socialist revolution funded by armed bank robberies.
As well as helping the organisation source weaponry for its campaign, Dunne was fired a shot outside the GPO to commemorate dead commandant Liam Walsh.
Pressed about his connection to the group, Dunne said: “I did the same thing that my grandfathers and my father would have done, simple as that.”
It was through the sourcing of weaponry that he met another of Ireland’s criminal masterminds – The General Martin Cahill.
“Martin Cahill was accused of everything that was going on in Dublin at the time. They put a name on him, the Rathmines Rapist. Martin Cahill was never in that league. That’s the way the police worked. They gave him a brand name. Eventually he ended up as The General.

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Martin Cahill

“He was a decent man. A very decent man, especially to his own people. He wasn’t the type of fella who was involved in drugs, who tried to pervert people.
“Targeting people and scapegoating people wasn’t done collectively by the police and the government. It was done by individual police men who were worse than criminals. And they did the same to me.”
Dunne also believes his brother Larry – the man considered as being responsible for bringing heroin to Ireland – is also a victim of garda vilification.
“They had to pick somebody and they picked him,” he said. “It was the Iranians and the Muslims who tried to destroy Europe with heroin.
“I confronted Larry about the drugs, he said he didn’t bring it here, and I believe him. Larry Dunne was caught with no more than 1500 pound worth of stuff in his house. He was vilified.
“I have even been called a drug dealer, and I was never a f***** drug dealer. Like I said if I were to walk into court tomorrow every conviction I’ve had would be quashed and every f***** who said I was drug dealer would have to answer to it.
“That hurts me. It hurts me for my mother, for my grandfather. Both of my grandfathers had to leave the country because we were connected to drugs.”

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Larry Dunne outside court in Dublin in the 80s.

While admitting he once lived a luxurious life, which even saw him own a yacht, Dunne claims all this money was made legally, through his own construction company C and J Dunnes. The business, which was booking in the 60s according to Dunne, went bust in the 1967 bank strike.
“I lost it all,” he said.
He turned to taxi driving, before losing his priceless plate after a stint inside.

For the last 16 years, the pensioner claims he has survived on just €150 a week, moving from one tiny flat to another.

“There’s how much I have in my pocket now €3.50,” he says, showing me a handful of coins. “That’s to do me until Friday.”
“My only regret in this life is that I won’t have enough money for a grave to go to when I die.”
Bronco says he now spends his days mediating and doing yoga on the beach.

“I am a Catholic. I do yoga, I do astral travel, meditation. Every day.

“I am 79 now and all that has had to be beneficial for me. All I did in Portlaoise was go to the gym and go back to my cell and meditate.
“I study about suicide, healing….I would be able to sense something wrong with someone.”
The former gangster also says he has psychic abilities, even predicting his own mother’s death in 1994.
“I was in Portlaoise (prison) at the time. I was lying on the bed and I had a stop watch, it was 3.20am and I was awoken.

“The next thing I know is I went through the ceiling, through the cell above me and through the roof of the building into space. And my ma is in front of me. She put her hand out in front of her and she said, don’t come any closer…I just came to say goodbye.

“And I was back on the bed like that. In just a split second. The next day I was told she had passed away.”
Dunne added: “I didn’t just choose to believe these things, I had to suffer. I wouldn’t be allowed to read a book to understand these things. I even had to deny the Bible. I had to become celibate. I had to become celibate. I will be 25 years celibate on the 27 February next, the anniversary of when I was sentenced.
“You wouldn’t understand, I’d have to be with very deep, spiritual people who would understand.”
Reflecting on his life the pensioner, who considers himself a devout Catholic, believes he has been “protected” from harm.

“I shouldn’t be alive, simple as that. With the people I’ve had to deal with, the State, government, police criminals…you name it. I’ve always been protected.”

*This story originally appeared in the Irish Daily Star in August, 2016.

‘Brainwashed into believing our mother abandoned us for 18 years’

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LAST month I got speaking to two very brave brothers who decided to share their desperately sad story of how their father brainwashed them against their own mother.

JP and Brendan Byrne, both from Dublin, are the only authors in Ireland (that I am aware of) who have tackled parental alienation in this way. Their story tells how as young boys they were cruelly manipulated by their father into believing their mother didn’t love them and that for 18 years she had abandoned them.

By the time they realised that wasn’t the case they were grown men, and their mother had missed out on the most precious years of their lives.

A small piece of the below article was published in the Irish Daily Star today, but even reading my more indepth, original version won’t do JP and Brendan’s story justice. You have to read their fantastic book, Don’t Hug Your Mother, which include’s older brother JP’s diary entries from when he was a child. The story is heart rendering and shows just what damage can be done by this form of abuse which is illegal in Brazil. It’s also widely recognised in the US.

If you are from the UK and Ireland you can biy it here . JP and Brendan also have a great blog and are on Twitter ( JP / Brendan).

 

By Patricia Devlin

TWO Dublin brothers have told how they were “brainwashed” into believing their mother had abandoned them as children.

JP and Brendan Byrne, who are originally from Tallaght, said they only uncovered their father’s “web of lies” 18 years after their parent’s split up.

They’ve revealed their shocking story in a new book called Don’t Hug Your Mother, which shines a spotlight on parental alienation in Ireland.

Speaking following its release Brendan said: “We were led to believe our mother didn’t want anything to do with us, that she didn’t love us and just upped and left. 

“The truth was we were being manipulated and used as weapons, and it cost us our relationship with our mother.”

The emotional book, which is compiled with the help of JP’s childhood diary entries, recounts how the brothers’ relationship with their mum was wiped out in the space of a year.

“After our parent’s split up, we only saw our mother for a few hours every other weekend, and when we did our father would give us a list of instructions before we’d go.

One of those was, ‘if she goes to hug you, duck out of the hugs’. Obviously that was very hard for me.

I was only nine or ten and I was particularly close to her and felt I needed her at that time, a hug was something I would have wanted.

We were told not to accept presents or money from here, and if she said anything nice to us not to reply.

As time went on we were dressed in clothes that our mother wouldn’t have put us in, our hair was done in a different way, and we were told to tell her that this was the way my dad’s new wife Natalie dressed us.”

Contact eventually ceased between the mother and her sons.

It was only 18 years later when both men were in their 20s that they realised the extent of manipulation they were under as children.

JP and Brendan confronted their father but instead of receiving an apology he cut all of contact with them.

He sent me a text message saying, ‘I just said goodbye to your brother, it’s time to say goodbye to you as well,” said Brendan.

To be honest I was kind of delighted. He was such a manipulator that I would have felt guilty if I was the one ending contact. I just thought, ‘I’m free’.”

With the help of their older brother Seamus, JP and Brendan tracked down their mother in 2008.

They had an emotional reunion on the platform of a Co Wexford train station.

She was there with my aunt and we went over like two boys going for inspection,” recalled Brendan.

She actually mixed us both up because she hadn’t seen us in so long. It was just great to see her.”

He added: “She missed our childhood, she’s missed how I got to this age and it wasn’t a great ride either to get to that stage because of our father. It shouldn’t have happened.”

Parental alienation involves the unwarranted rejection of one, previously loved, parent by a child following a separation or divorce.

Last year the Parental Alienation Awareness Association of Ireland said there was a lack of understanding of how serious this form of abuse can be and how much damage can be caused to children as a result. The group have called on the government to make alienation a criminal offence.

Brendan added: “It’s taken us a long time to untangle the web of lies by our father. Hopefully our story can help others.”

Don’t Hug Your Mother is available now to buy on Amazon.

ENDS

The unsolved murder of Jim Goonan


You’ll notice that unsolved murders will become a theme on this blog, and it won’t be from choice. 

Sadly there is a shocking number of cases in Ireland where families of murdered loved ones are still awaiting justice.

We aren’t talking Troubles’ related cases here, paramilitary or even gangland executions, these are investigatioms where there has been an abundance of evidence (and in one well known case a confession) which resulted in no convictions whatsoever.

One of those cases is Jim Goonan. The Co Offaly man was found dead at his home in 2002. Despite the walls of Jim’s bedroom being splattered in blood, a deep 10cm gash to the back of his head and 38 separate marks to his body, gardai concluded he died from a fall down the stairs.

Below is a piece I did with Jim’s sister Nuala Ramseyer published earlier this year.

A WOMAN whose brother died in suspicious circumstances says the tragedy caused the death of both her parents.
Devastated Nuala Ramseyer told how her elderly father Paddy “faded away”, while her mother Sheila, 80, took her own life after the violent death of their son Jim Goonan.
The 49 year-old from Co Offaly was found dead at his Birr home on March 11, 2002.
Despite his blood found splattered around the walls of his bedroom, a 10 cm gash to the back of his head and 38 separate marks on his body, gardai concluded he died after accidentally falling down the stairs.
However his family has always maintained foul play was involved in his death.
Today Ms Ramseyer, who previously took her fight for justice to the Supreme Court, tells how Mr Goonan’s death ripped her close knit family apart, and how questions over his killing haunt her every day.
She also bravely reveals horrific crime scene photographs of the bedroom where she believes her brother met a violent death.
“Jim’s death destroyed our family and 14 years on we still don’t have answers over what really happened,” the Co Kildare woman told The Star.
“My father died within 18 months of Jim’s death, he literally faded away. 
“My mother, according to her post-mortem results took her own life. She took an overdose of her own tablets, she took arrhythmia as a result. 
“And my mother was a very sound, normal, hardworking woman, and it broke her.
“After I took all the cases through the courts of judicial review, high court action and then Supreme Court action, which I won, it destroyed my marriage, my business and my life.
“I don’t want any sympathy, it is as it is and you can’t change it. 
“All we want is the truth, and for gardai to say that my brother died at the bottom of the stairs is completely out of the bounds of credibility.”
The family first raised concerns over the garda investigation in the immediate aftermath of Jim’s death in 2002.
They discovered that a person present in the house when he died was not interviewed for more than six weeks after the tragedy.
Other potential witnesses, including a next door neighbour, were not spoken to at all.
Key evidence, including items of clothing, were not seized either according to the family.
They were who were forced to take their own photographs of Mr Goonan’s blood splattered bedroom.
Showing shocking images to The Star, Ms Ramseyer said: “The bedroom was covered in blood, the walls were splattered, the bedclothes.
“He had lain between the bed and the locker for several hours because there was inches of blood on the floor. We actually had to take these pictures ourselves, because gardai didn’t bother.
“They claimed his head struck the locker. Again this does not make sense, the wound to his head was so deep that it couldn’t have possibly happened in that way. 
“Again it is outside the bounds of credibility really that you could die as a result of that.”
Despite appeals from the family over their suspicions, a new investigation has never opened into Mr Goonan’s death.
They were forced to take their fight through the courts, and in 2005 the Supreme Court ruled that Jim’s brothers and sisters were entitled to information held by gardai and the coroner regarding when, where and how the 49 year-old met his death.
However to date they have not received any information.
Their case, listed as one of over 320 alleging garda malpractice, was referred to the Independent Review Mechanism panel.
It was dealt another blow last week when the Department of Justice issued a letter to Mrs Ramseyer stating Jim’s death was not suspicious.
“It was devastating,” she said.
“All that is left open to us now is to go to the European courts, and we can do that. But why can’t a simple question be answered, what happened and why was it not investigated?”
Speaking about the emotional impact her 14 year fight has had, Mrs Ramseyer said: “It weakens you. It does something to your psyche, you feel as if you have been violated. You feel a terrible detachment of what is right and what is wrong. 
“I feel like I don’t want any contact with those people again. I feel they have brought such terrible pain into my life.
“All we want is the truth, and they won’t give us the answers. Why?”