He lured young band members into his tent, on the pretext of examining them for ticks
FORMER GUIDANCE COUNSELLOR AND SERIAL PAEDOPHILE JAILED
A SERIAL paedophile was jailed for four years last week for the ‘cold and calculating systematic abuse' of a young boy.
Michael Byrne (76) of Rosewell, Templerainey, Arklow, pleaded guilty to four sample charges of indecently assaulting Cormac Walsh at Clifden in Galway on a date unknown between January 1, 1975 and December 31, 1975; at Templerainey between April 1, 1976 and June 30, 1976; at Templerainey between January 1, 1977 and March 31, 1977 and at the Band Hall, South Green, Arklow between January 1, 1976 and March 4, 1978.
Detective Paul Comiskey said Mr. Walsh is now 52 years old and the offences occurred when he was aged between 11 years and 15 years. Mr. Walsh's first memory of meeting Byrne, who was a founding member of the Arklow Silver Band, was when he was eight years old.
Byrne gave him two bars of chocolate on that occasion. Two years later, in 1973, Mr. Walsh joined the Arklow Silver Band at the age of ten.
Byrne, who was a guidance counsellor at Abbey Community College in Wicklow town for more than 15 years, brought a number of young boys from the band on a two-week camping trip in Clifden, Co. Galway.
Byrne had a tent to himself and would call the boys into the tent one by one on the pretext of examining them for ticks.
While in the tent he would take down Mr. Walsh's trousers and underwear and touch his private parts.
This happened daily during the camping trip and again on other occasions in the following two years.
The court heard that Byrne also told Mr. Walsh that doctors required regular sperm samples from him following an operation, and for two years, would regularly collect such samples from him.
The abuse fizzled out as Mr. Walsh became older and he never discussed it until in November 2006 when he broke down and told his wife. After experiencing mental health prob- lems as a result of the abuse he arranged a meeting to confront Byrne, a meeting which he secretly recorded. During this meeting Byrne admitted to the abuse.
Byrne, the court heard, received a suspended sentence in 1973 for four counts of indecency on a male between October 1971 and October 1972. Judge Michael O'Shea sentenced Byrne to two years imprisonment on each of the four charges and directed that they run consecutively.
He suspended the final four years of the sentence.
He said Cormac Walsh was ‘an innocent; only a child' at the time of the abuse and said Mr. Walsh had taken a very brave step in reporting the abuse. He said the effects of Byrne's sexual abuse has ‘scarred Cormac Walsh for life ‘describing the abuse as ‘cold, calculating, premeditated, revolting, disgusting, horrific, embarrassing and humiliating’.
Serial paedophile Michael Byrne was jailed for four years for the abuse of a young boy.