Q:  Why are you not naming some alleged sex abusers but are naming others?

A: In the past six months we have named two alleged abusers; school principal John McElholm and school bus driver David Sullivan both of whom are now dead. Their victims will never get justice for the litany of abuse they allegedly carried out because these men are dead and will never be put before a court for the allegations against them. 
However, many of the 60 alleged abusers whose identities have been provided to us by alleged sex abuse victims are still alive. That means these people could potentially end up in court for the crimes they allegedly committed. For that reason we simply cannot prejudice any legal proceedings which could prevent a victim getting justice by publishing the identities of alleged abusers.

Q: So when can we expect these people to be arrested or brought before the court?

A: That is a question for the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Public Prosecution Service and we have been asking for some time. But we are not the police, we are not a judge, we are not the jury. We report the allegations in the public interest and in some cases this can lead to trials. But that is a matter for the PSNI, the PPS and the courts. Again, that is a process that we do not want to interfere in as it may prejudice a future trial.  

Q: If you won’t name certain people why do you bother reporting these stories at all?

A: It is in the public interest to know that these allegations have been made. It is in the public interest to ensure that people in Fermanagh and South Tyrone are aware of the need to keep our public authorities under scrutiny regarding their efforts in prosecuting individuals accused of serious sexual crimes. That is the principle thrust of the stories.

Q: Why are you focusing on the Orange Order - are you trying to attack the organisation? 

A: No. We are not attacking any organisation. In the past six months we have focused on allegations that child sexual abuse took place in schools, on board buses, in homes, in Council managed toilets and even in an Orange Hall by people who allegedly abused their positions of trust, including teachers, priests, bus drivers, businessmen, childminders, police officers and Orangemen.  

Q: Why are you focusing on the GAA – are you trying to attack the organisation? 

A: Again, we are not attacking any organisation. This relates to a series of stories we have published on school principal John McElholm who for 26 years was also the Chairman of Fermanagh GAA and allegedly abused children at St. Paul’s Primary School in Irvinestown for years.  It is noteworthy to refer to the fact that McElholm who died in 1995 was well known across Ireland for his prominent position in the GAA. That is not an attack, but a fact.

Q: So this is not about one religion or the other? 

A: No. The plethora of sexual abuse that has allegedly occurred in Fermanagh over many decades shows that abusers did not discriminate. This is about scrutinising the efforts or failings of the police and of the efforts or failings of organisations whether it was the Catholic Church, the Orange Order or the Police Service of Northern Ireland with regards to allegations of sexual abuse. 
These are criminal matters which could affect anyone, including members of our own families. That is why writing about such matters and hearing directly from alleged victims is very important. Our investigation is about the protection of society in this area generally. We believe there couldn’t be anything more fundamental to Fermanagh’s children. 

Q: But surely that is a role for the PSNI, not your newspaper?

A: The police have a job to do, so do we. The series of articles over the past six months have been about not so much exposing the abuse but exposing the fact it has not really been dealt with and in fact in some cases has been swept under the carpet.

Q: Is this simply trial by media?

A: Many people complain of trial by media but that is precisely what we are trying to avoid. That is why we have not identified any of the living alleged abusers. There has been a failure by very many authorities tasked with looking after children and that is evident in the evidence we have uncovered. There are questions surrounding the investigative and judicial process in relation to these allegations.
We want the judicial process to work properly and the best way to do that is to ensure witnesses are encouraged to go to the police by phoning 101 or e-mailing historicalabuse@psni.pnn.police.uk.