by Irvin Muchnick
Starting tomorrow I’ll be visiting Ireland for the first time. What was I waiting for, the junior prom? Sincere thanks to John Ryan and the Irish news site Broadsheet.ie for making all the arrangements.
Maureen O’Sullivan, the independent Irish national assemblywoman from the Dublin Central district who has been playing point for the last four years in the campaign to get George Gibney hauled back to Ireland for a dose of justice for his multitudinous victims of sexual abuse, will be seeing me for a briefing on the latest of a reported United States federal government investigation that would unwind Gibney’s perverse protected status — ineligible for American citizenship for lying on his application about his 1993 indictment, yet “not removable” on the basis of never having been convicted.
I also expect to connect faces and live-action body language with the voices and electronic renderings of many friends and journalists. One is the great Dr Gary O’Toole (and Gary, can you do something about my aching back while you’re at it?). At least one swimmer-survivor of the heinous Gibney has expressed interest in meeting with me. I would be honored. Or should I say, “honoured”?
My message is simple: If the goal is to nail, at long last, this disgraced Irish Olympic swim coach who has been hiding in plain sight in my country for a quarter of a century, then all the tools are in place.
Previously we’ve noted that politicians on both sides of the Atlantic must push for direct and formal information-sharing between Ireland’s Garda and U.S. law enforcement — both the federal Justice Department and the office of the state attorney of Hillsborough County, Florida. (Tampa is where Gibney’s known sex crime on American soil occurred, during an Irish swim team training trip in 1991.)
Last year the Dail’s O’Sullivan met in Washington, D.C., with Congresswoman Jackie Speier, the American politician who is associated with the #MeToo movement and is the unofficial House Democratic majority monitor of youth sports coach abuse issues. In the current, and evidently culminating, circumstance of a wider investigation of abuses throughout Olympic sports programs, we need a renewed initiative with specific tactics. And Speier and other sympathetic legislators have to heed it and act on it.
Though not directly related, some wind under the sails of the Gibney extradition campaign has emerged in the form of breaking news of the arrest of another accused serial sex abuser, Jeffrey Epstein.
The fresh reporting in my new edition of the George Gibney Chronicles ebook adds a road map for federal investigators of the final furlong of this marathon: important questions surrounding his role in a Colorado church group’s children’s eye clinic mission in Peru around 20 years ago.
The timeline, the participants, and the nature of these activities stand a good chance of getting pinned down via (a) Gibney’s movements as revealed by his Irish passport; (b) rosters of volunteers and other archival material likely in the hands of hitherto withholding local and regional Catholic Church officials; and (c) reaching out to Peru’s Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations.
I have to confess that I’m not much of a drinker. But “When in Rome …”
I’ve been advised to lean heavily on the shandy, a cheat of half beer, half ginger ale or lemon mix. Graham Merrigan, co-host of the What’s the Story? podcast, is touting to me the spice bag, a unique Irish-Asian fast food dish.
If Dubliners later in the week spot a strange American, striding in the direction of the River Liffey in the pouring rain, who has it all backwards — umbrella, no “mac” — well, that would be me.