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Crossmaglen Rangers Statement 21/04/23

The GAA together with Crossmaglen Rangers thank Ms Justice Smyth for today’s sentencing of Mr. Thomas McKenna after what has been a trying four and a half years for the victims, their families, our club and the wider Crossmaglen community since his arrest.

Crossmaglen Rangers and GAA President Larry McCarthy wish to state that this conviction was only possible because of the courage and determination of those individuals who reported their concerns and sought assistance. Your actions have made our club and community safer and for this, we owe you a huge debt of gratitude.

“As a club and as an Association, our hearts were broken when we learned about the horrific abuse suffered by children and young people within our community. We are extremely saddened that one of our members used his many positions of trust, within our community to cause serious harm.

“To the victims; we are deeply sorry. Your journey has been a difficult one and your strength to stay the course and see this case through to its legal conclusion is testament to your character and recognition of the support received. To your parents and families, we are sorry and we thank you for your unwavering support. We recognise that your lives have been severely impacted when you too learned about the abuse of a loved one.

“We wish to assure you that the GAA will continue to support you and your families on an ongoing basis.

“We would like to acknowledge the professionalism, compassion and sensitivity shown by statutory agencies including the Police Service of Northern Ireland, Social Services and the Public Prosecution Service. We thank them for their support over the past four and a half years. The impact of this cooperation has been far reaching and will have a lasting legacy in our community.”

The GAA prides itself on how our current robust Child Safeguarding guidance and practices, developed in accordance with legislative requirements and Association rules, are implemented.

An independent review of this case has been commissioned by the GAA, and while we await the outcomes, the Association and our constituent units shall implement the recommendations that emerge, following the review process.

Should any person wish to make contact with the review team they may do so at [email protected].

We urge anyone else who has been abused by Mr McKenna to contact the Police on 101, in an emergency call 999. Anyone who is affected by this event may avail of services provided by NSPCC (0808 800 5000), Nexus on (02890 326803 or 02871 260566) or Lifeline. 0808 808 8000 for support.

We respectfully request that the victims and their families now be granted privacy, time and space to recover.

Crossmaglen Rangers