Belfast Telegraph

Fermanagh sexual abuse probe 'gathering pace'

Investigation: Superintendent Clive Beatty
Investigation: Superintendent Clive Beatty

By Tanya Fowles

The investigation into alleged historic sexual abuse in Fermanagh is "gathering pace" and remains a high priority for the PSNI's Public Protection Unit, the area commander has told a Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP).

Superintendent Clive Beatty made the remarks while providing a general update of current policing work in the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council area, which also included a brief mention of criminality against Quinn Industrial Holdings.

He was following on from comments at a similar meeting last month when representatives of alleged abuse victims voiced concerns at the continuing delay and apparent lack of progress.

At that meeting Superintendent Beatty responded by describing the ongoing investigation as, "very detailed and difficult … involving many, many allegations".

He said these are not only recent, but historic, with quite a few cases already previously investigated but since re-opened and re-investigated.

"In some instances, we were nearing a decision when a new allegation is made on another person, or another alleged victim comes forward," said Superintendent Beatty.

"We have to start the process all over again, just when we think we are at the next point of arrest and interview."

Superintendent Beatty reassured members: "Gold Command are responsible and highly trained specialists who are combing over every single allegation.

"I have every confidence when they reach the stage they are satisfied of possible conviction, they will move to the next phase which is interview."

However, there was a significant shift at the most recent PCSP meeting at which Superintendent Beatty told members: "The investigation is starting to gather pace and has moved into the phase of arrests, which has involved a number of people."

He stressed the ongoing commitment of police. "This is very much a focus for the PPU (Public Protection Unit)," he said.

Referring briefly to a separate but current matter around Quinn Industrial Holdings, Superintendent Beatty advised: "Protection and investigation continues.

"Four suspects have been arrested so far in Cavan and Dublin.

"This remains a very live investigation."

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