Reprint of Sunday Times of London Article: ‘Gibney Papers Set to Be Released’

Published November 6th, 2016, Uncategorized

Below is the full text of the article in London’s Sunday Times. It is reprinted with permission. © Times Newspapers Limited 2016

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Gibney papers set to be released

By Justine McCarthy

6 November 2016

A federal judge in California has said the US Department of Homeland Security should reveal what it knew about George Gibney’s alleged sexual abuse of minors when it issued a visa to Ireland’s former national swim coach.

Charles Breyer, a judge in San Francisco District Court, said he would compel the department to release specific documents unless it reached an agreement with Irv Muchnick, an American journalist.

Muchnick took the department to court after it refused him access to Gibney’s immigration file under a Freedom of Information request.

The department argued that to release the documents would breach Gibney’s right to privacy, or compromise confidential law-enforcement decisions. Breyer examined the file and rejected the argument.

Gibney left Ireland in 1994 after a court quashed all the charges against him, ruling he could not defend himself against charges of assaulting and raping 27 young swimmers as too much time had elapsed since the alleged crimes, which dated from the 1960s to the late 1980s. He has been living in Florida for more than 10 years.

A previous partial release of documents revealed that gardai in Dublin gave Gibney a certificate of character for US immigration in January 1992, just months before a criminal investigation began into him.

Last Wednesday, Breyer said he was ready to compel homeland security to disclose decisions in relation to Gibney’s status in America and immigration benefits he sought.

Referring to the “sordid ­history” of the Irish Amateur Swimming Association, the precursor to Swim Ireland, the judge chronicled former Irish swimming officials’ criminal convictions. These included the jailing of Leinster branch vice-president Frank McCann for the murders of his wife and child, and of Derry O’Rourke, Gibney’s predecessor as national coach, for sexually abusing underage swimmers.

“George Gibney got away,” Breyer said. “The [American] public has a strong interest in understanding how and why their government allowed a man with a far worse than chequered past (and, perhaps, present) to stay here for more than two decades.”

A garda review of the GIbney case, ordered last year by Nóirín O’Sullivan, the commissioner, is continuing.

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