The early morning arrests into historical child sexual abuse on Tuesday have been seen as a significant move by detectives who have been investigating the allegations for almost 18 months.

It’s a good first step and has been welcomed by alleged victims and the wider community after several months of silence.

While the coronavirus pandemic prevented officers from being able to interview suspects face-to-face until now it did give them the opportunity to do a lot of groundwork quietly in the background.

And having spoken to senior police sources over the past year it is clear that this is a mammoth task for specialist officers which is why it is being considered a “major investigation” and why more than one special team has been tasked with working on it.

Do not underestimate the scale of this operation or the pain and torment that it is claimed has been felt by very many people who have made allegations against men and women in Fermanagh.

We would not be here had it not been for the bravery of a multitude of alleged victims who came forward to The Impartial Reporter to share their stories, nor would there be an investigation of this magnitude hadn’t the PSNI taken it seriously.

The fact they have invested considerable time and energy into this should be an indication of their desire to see it reach a conclusion.

That said, many of the allegations heard over the past year had previously been reported to police and some of those accused of the most despicable crimes against children are now dead and it was only when this newspaper gave a platform to those who needed it that they saw any movement. That’s not good enough.

Victims have been very critical of previous inquiries which had gone nowhere for years and there were fears and frustrations that there appeared to be slow progress this time.

However, as I write this, there’s relief that the investigation now seems to be very serious and the PSNI deserves the credit.

One can only hope that there will now be some momentum in the various investigations into all aspects of historical child sexual abuse in Fermanagh.

Ultimately this is about the victims, above all else, and also the wider community.

We all require comfort that paedophiles will not escape justice and that the PSNI has the skills and determination to see that fulfilled.

The alleged victims deserve nothing less and while Tuesday’s development is to be welcomed, finally seeing justice for abused children after so many years will only suffice.


A spokeswoman for the PSNI said: “We would continue to urge anyone with any information about historical sexual abuse to come forward and contact police and seek professional support through our specialist detectives or through one of the dedicated support services specially trained to support victims. Contact the PSNI on 101 or through the dedicated email address at where you will be put in contact with a specially trained officer.”

If you are victim of historical child sexual abuse, support is available through:

The 24 Hour Domestic & Sexual Abuse Helpline - 0808 802 1414

Nexus NI – Belfast 02890 326803 / Enniskillen 02866 320046

The Rowan Centre free phone helpline - 0800 389 4424 /

Victim Support NI – Belfast 02890 243133 / Foyle 02871 370086

Men’s Advisory Project – 02890 241929 / Foyle 02871 160001

Other local support services are as follows:

The Arc Living Centre – 02868 628741

The Aisling Centre – 02886 325811

The Oak Healthy Living Centre – 02867 723843