Reprint of Sunday Times of London Article: ‘Gardai Eased Gibney US Visa Application’

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

Complete chronological links to Concussion Inc.’s Gibney series are at



Gardai eased Gibney US visa application

By Justine McCarthy

17 April 2016

GARDAI gave a certificate of character to George Gibney, the former Irish national swim coach accused of raping young swimmers, to support his application for an American visa.

Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act by the US Department of Homeland Security reveal that the certificate was issued on January 20, 1992. This was less than six months before the commencement of a garda investigation into allegations that Gibney sexually abused several underage swimmers.

Gibney has been living in America since 1994, after avoiding prosecution on 27 charges brought against him in June 1993 of indecent assault and unlawful carnal knowledge of swimmers aged under 15.

The Supreme Court ruled in 1994 that the alleged incidents, dating from 1964, were too old for Gibney to adequately defend himself.

The documents were released to Irvin Muchnick, an American journalist. The Department of Homeland Security was ordered by a federal court in San Francisco to provide Muchnick with a list of the documents in Gibney’s immigration file. Among 142 pages filed was a redacted version of the garda certificate, bearing only the stamped date. The name of the issuing officer and its contents have been obscured.

How Gibney managed to get into America after his trial in Ireland collapsed had long been a mystery. A second garda investigation 15 years ago did not result in him facing charges after the director of public prosecutions decided not to apply to the American courts for Gibney’s extradition.

Last week the garda press office said a certificate of character was ordinarily issued by the superintendent in the applicant’s district.

“The certificate is issued free of charge and is issued for … foreign consular authorities, foreign visas [or] establishing a business in other EU states,” a garda spokesman said. “The certificate, which is normally valid for six months, includes name, address, date of birth and information about criminal convictions.”

Aidan O’Toole, who founded Triton swimming club in Bray, believes Gibney knew in 1991 he was about to be exposed as a child abuser. O’Toole said his son, Gary O’Toole, then a European silver medallist, resigned from Trojan, Gibney’s club in Blackrock, south Dublin, early in 1991 and that he told the Gibney that he was leaving because of his crimes against children.

“Either late in 1991 or early in 1992, [Gibney] rang our house. My wife answered the phone and he threatened her, saying that if Gary continued saying he [Gibney] abused children, Gary wouldn’t be going to the Olympics in Barcelona,” said Aidan O’Toole.

Chalkie White, a former swimmer who was the first of Gibney’s victims to go to gardai, said: “We went to Australia on December 26, 1990, for the World Championships and I told Gary on the plane about what Gibney had done. Gary promised me he would do something about it, and he did.

“Even if the gardai had not received any complaints when the certificate of character was issued I would have expected that, when the investigation started later that year, they would have revoked it.”

The filing by Homeland Security also shows Gibney applied in 2010 to be declared a naturalised American citizen. It is not clear whether his application was approved.

Other documents include medical and radiology reports from the Blackrock Clinic, birth and marriage certificates, and what appears to be a job offer from an American club. A letter, with the club’s name redacted, states: “Dear George, would be very interested in your services as coach to there (sic) team.”

Police in Arvada, Denver, received a complaint in October 1995 that Gibney had either “pinched” a juvenile swimmer or “snapped her swimsuit” while he was employed as a coach by the North Jeffco Park and Recreation District.

Maureen O’Sullivan, an independent TD for Dublin Central, said: “We’ve always wondered how there was such ease of access for [Gibney] to get into America. It’s vitally important we know if he was facilitated by people in authority.”

Originally published at


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