Trudder House – Co Wicklow

Trudder House in Co Wicklow is one of the most tragic cases. Set up in the mid-1970s to house boys from the Travelling community who had been living rough and sniffing glue, it almost immediately became a house of horrors. Eventually, 19 of its young residents made allegations of sexual abuse against several people connected with the home.

Allegations against its director included multiple aggravated rape of several children, together with sadistic beatings and torture. This individual fled Ireland during the 1980s and was reported to be working in childcare in Scotland. He died in the early 1990s. (More on him at the bottom)

Trudder House in Newtownmountkennedy, Co Wicklow was set up for boys from the Travelling community but became a house of horrors

March 1998

Ex-care worker jailed for sex abuse of boys

A MAN has been jailed for seven years for attempted buggery of two boys while he was a care worker.

Brendan Kelly (35), married and the father of one son, of Drumvoughane, Moycullen, Co Galway, was convicted by a jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court following a four-day trial last December of committing the offences at Trudder House residential centre in Newtownmountkennedy, Co Wicklow in the 1980s.

The jury failed to reach a verdict on two further charges involving a third victim.

Police officers found that mild mannered Brendan Kelly had tormented victims aged from seven to 12. 

The jury heard how he took the traveller children for holidays in the caravan which he used as a boudoir for his sick sex advances. 

Michael McDowell SC, prosecuting, said he was entering a nolle prosequi on these charges and others on the indictment against Kelly.

Judge Kieran O’Connor said the maximum sentence he could impose was 10 years. He noted from the probation report that Kelly still maintained his innocence and had told his wife before they married about the allegations.

Eamonn Leahy SC, defending, said Kelly had been employed in Trudder House without any formal training whatever in care work. He left in 1987 when the allegations were first made and hadn’t return to care work since. He had also been abused in his boyhood.

Supt Gerard Blake said Kelly had no previous convictions and apart from these matters had never come to garda attention. A complaint about him in 1987 led to an internal enquiry in Trudder House after which Kelly left but the gardai were not involved.

The charges arose out of garda investigations which began after complaints were made on December 23, 1994. About 200 witness statements were taken and Kelly’s offending as well as that of others came to light.

Supt Blake agreed with Mr McDowell that evidence of far more serious sexual offending was found. The main perpretrator, who had been in charge of Trudder House from 1975 to 1981, left the jurisdiction and died abroad. He was involved in violent sexual abuse.

Kelly was not associated with that regime and joined the staff later. Trudder House had different managements from time to time and was not now used for child care.

Patrick Chawke, general manager of the Corrib Great Southern Hotel, said Kelly had been highly commended many times for the way he carried out his duties as a porter.

Evidence on behalf of the defendant was also given by Fr Colm Clinton and Oughterard businessman Michael Keogh. Written testimonials were also handed into court.

Pleading for leniency, Mr Leahy said the offences Kelly was convicted of were more than 10 years old. The Supreme Court had noted that antiquity of charges was a matter that could be considered in sentencing.

Judge O’Connor said he was impressed by the testimonials and sworn character evidence for Kelly. But he was also concerned with the effect his offending had on one of the victims, according to the victim impact statement.

The jury took just over two hours to find Kelly guilty of attempting to bugger one boy on a date unknown between January 1, 1983 and December 31, 1987. They then convicted him of a second attempted buggery charge by an 11-1 majority vertict following a further half-hour’s deliberation.

The victims are now aged 23 and 25. The 23-year-old victim agreed he had 20 criminal convictions.

The attempted buggery offences took place at Glenmalure in the Wicklow Mountains, in a caravan owned by Trudder House. The victims told the jury Kelly got into their sleeping bag with them and they woke to find him rubbing his penis against their backsides.

March 1998

Vicious paedophile who headed a brutal regime

ONE of the most vicious paedophiles ever to work in an Irish child care institution was Duncan McInnes, who was director of Trudder House until he mysteriously left the country in 1981.

McInnes, who fled to Scotland in 1981 and died in Canada in 1990 in his early 50s, had brutally beaten his victims black and blue before raping and sexually assaulting them throughout his six-year stint in charge at the Co Wicklow centre.

He was one of six people connected with the former traveller children’s home against whom complaints were made during a painstaking garda investigation involving more than 200 witnesses.

But Galwayman Brendan Kelly, sentenced to seven years imprisonment yesterday on two counts of attempted buggery, remains the only person to be charged with sexual offences at the Newtownmountkennedy institution.

McInnes had already fled the jurisdiction by the time Kelly began working at the home.

The Irish Independent has learned that English-born McInnes emerged as the central figure in the criminal investigation, and it was only when gardai started trying to track him down that they learned of his death in Canada in 1990.

They also learned that he had continued to be involved in child care in Scotland when he left Ireland. He later moved from Scotland to Canada a short time before his death, and there were reports that he had been involved in child abuse in both those jurisdictions.

Four of the six people against whom complaints were made were young residents of Trudder House, victims of McInnes who had in turn begun to abuse other boys in the late ’70s and early ’80s. The Director of Public Prosecutions decided not to bring charges against these four.

In 1975, a genuinely caring voluntary group called the Dublin Committee for Travelling People, co-founded by former Bewley’s Café owner Victor Bewley, took over Trudder House to provide accommodation for young traveller boys who had difficult home circumstances or who had appeared before the courts.

Tragically, Duncan McInnes was appointed director of the facility and began his reign of terror. He had a background in childcare in Scotland, where his name has also emerged since in connection with separate child abuse investigations.

Without naming him, prosecuting barrister Michael McDowell SC referred in court yesterday to McInnes’ brutal regime.

“In fairness to the accused (Kelly),” said Mr McDowell, “far more serious offences against young children were detected and the perpetrator of these offences was identified but went abroad and has since died.

“He was in a position of authority before the accused was employed there from 1975 to 1981 and those offences involved violence and sexual abuse of children.”

Supt Gerry Blake said that in 1987, one of Kelly’s victims made a complaint about him to one of the people in charge at Trudder House. That led to an internal inquiry during which Kelly was suspended, but gardai were not informed. He later left the institution and had not seek to become involved in child care since.

Supt Blake said it was not until two days before Christmas 1994 that the first complaint in relation to sexual abuse at Trudder House was made to gardai.

Mr McDowell said that as a result of that, more than 200 witnesses were interviewed “in an investigation into Trudder House in its entirety”.

By mid-1995 however, 19 young travellers had made allegations of sexual abuse against six people associated with the residential home McInnes, Kelly and four former residents. The DPP decided not to proceed against these four.

A spokesperson for an organisation called Traveller Families’ Care yesterday said the verdict closed “a painful chapter in the history of our organisation relating to the early 1980s”.



fROM Gareth o’ Callaghan FACEBOOK 5.11.2016 15.34

“I feel like a ghost caught inside a person I don’t recognise, stuck between this world and another; not wanting to live any longer, but not wanting to die just yet.” If you are a survivor of abuse, then I am sure these words will make perfect sense.

I spoke during the week to a man who was savagely abused by a Dublin priest for five years as a young boy. His name is Noel. Today he is in his fifties, but part of him will always be eight years of age. Noel tried to kill himself twice. Thankfully he is alive today. And hopefully what I am about to write here – the story he has never been able to tell – will help to set him free from the torture, and the awful remorse and guilt he feels, of his past.

It has taken me days to reconcile my reasoning and need for writing this post. It makes for horrific reading. Please be aware of that before reading any further here. The man at the centre of this piece has never been publicly associated with child abuse before now, to the best of my knowledge and research. His crimes against children are undoubtedly one of the greatest and most appalling cover ups in the history of clerical sexual abuse by the hierarchy that existed back then in the Dublin diocese. I am naming him for the first time today.

There is a Garda file on him for over fifty years, but it has been permanently ignored and forgotten.
Noel, a victim of this monster, is slowly beginning to live again almost fifty years after his tiny, innocent life was stolen and almost destroyed by a Dublin priest called Des Williams.

In 1959, ‘Father Des’ (as he liked to be known) set up St Kevin’s Boys’ Club in Whitehall, on the sprawling northside of Dublin city. The club drew huge numbers of small boys who loved soccer.

Father Des’s interest in soccer was purely a front to disguise that he was a paedophile. Once the club was formed, he quickly set about abusing its young members. Noel’s abuse started in 1968, shortly after joining the club. He was eight years old.
Once the grooming stopped, the abuse started.

“Father Des” brought Noel back to a house one night. There were four other men present in the upstairs bedroom. Noel was blindfolded and tied facedown to a bed. He was then raped by the priest, and then by each of the men. This horrific abuse continued for over five years, until Noel turned thirteen. By now it was almost 1974. According to official club records which I have seen, Fr Des Williams was ‘Executive Director of Football’ (and overall owner) at St Kevin’s from 1962 until 1974. His committee appears to have remained largely unchanged during those years. The same few names appear to hold their senior positions in the club during that long period. At first I couldn’t understand why a paedophile ring within a local football could go unnoticed, despite the fact that they were targetting local boys; that was until I delved more deeply into William’s connections and responsibilities.

Des Williams, at that time during the entire 1960s decade while he was abusing young boys at the football club, was personal assistant to Archbishop John Charles McQuaid. McQuaid, it’s understood (and now known), was also abusing young boys at the time; but no one in judicial authority was prepared to take on McQuaid. ‘Father Des’ simply ran home at the end of his disgusting day and hid behind the gates and high impenetrable walls of Archbishop’s Palace in Drumcondra, just down the road from St Kevin’s Boys Club.

A couple of interesting developments took place in 1974. James Kavanagh became the bishop of that area of north Dublin city. Dermot Ryan had become Archbishop of the diocese shortly before this. Ryan was responsible for appointing Kavanagh. There was now huge disquiet in the local area about Des William’s carry on. A number of parents of young boys had gone to Whitehall and Santry Garda stations to report incidents of abuse by Williams. Nothing – NOTHING – whatsoever was done to investigate the claims or the abuser. Instead, James Kavanagh and his boss the Archbishop, once they had become aware of the extent of the priest’s abuse, came up with a plan to take Des Williams clean out of what was becoming a nasty embarrassment for church authorities.

In 1975, Trudder House was opened as a refuge and state-run home for young children of travelling families who, for whatever personal reasons, were unable to care for their children. The young children were taken into care in this huge renovated house set on its own sprawling grounds close to Newtownmountkennedy. It was a very remote location, detached from any source of local contact. When you arrived at Trudder, you were in the middle of nowhere. And you were very much on your own. The guardian and director of Trudder House was the same Fr Des Williams. Another director of Trudder was Duncan McInnes, who went on to rape and abuse the small children in his care, under the watchful eye of Des Williams, who had moved out of Dublin’s northside, and was now living in Trudder House.

McInnes beat his tiny victims with a long strip of plastic garden hose before raping and sexually abusing them throughout his five years at Trudder House. He fled the country after complaints were made in 1981. He later died in Canada in 1990 in his early fifties. Complaints continued to be made during the 1980s to an internal Health Board inquiry but Garda claim they were never informed. It wasn’t until two days before Christmas in 1994, twenty years after Trudder House opened its doors to small, vulnerable children, that the first complaint in relation to sexual abuse was made to Garda. In the investigation that followed, not one member of the long term management at the facility had to answer questions publicly about how they handled the matter of abuse of small children over the years. Galwayman Brendan Kelly was the only person to be convicted and sentenced to seven years in 1998. He remains the only person to be charged with sexual offences at Trudder House.

In 1985, Des Williams was ordained to the position of auxiliary Bishop of Dublin. He was consecrated in Rome by Pope John Paul II that year. His co-consecrator on the day, standing beside the Pope, was his friend and sponsor Bishop James Kavanagh. For many years in the 70’s, after his time with St Kevin’s, Des Williams was the episcopal vicar for finances in the archdiocese. In other words he was commander-in-chief, God’s financial controller, of all the money that rolled into the coffers of a huge diocese with quarter of a million churchgoers who contributed very generously every Sunday to two collections that he had masterminded, namely the SHARE collection, and the collection that gave Dublin priests their wages.

Could this be a reason why so many of his unfortunate victims stayed quiet? Or was their silence a result of his vicious violence and his ability to be the perfect Jeckyl and Hyde when it came to his devious ways of attracting young children to him, while hiding behind a bunch of fellow bishops who were untouchable by normal standards of the law, and who went out of their way to protect one of the most corrupt of their species?

Des Williams died in 2006. Archbishop Diarmuid Martin gave the homily during the funeral mass. Martin described Williams as “a loyal and discreet co-operator of many archbishops” The archbishop went on to say “Bishop Des Williams spent much of his life helping those who were disadvantaged and who at times had the right to be angry with society”. Wrong. Having spoken to Noel this week, and also to the best friend of another victim of Des Williams’s who could not talk to me directly because his life is still so broken and shattered fifty years later as a result of what he suffered at the hands of this monster over a five year period when he was a small boy, Williams was clearly only helping himself. He wasn’t helping those who were disadvantaged. He was preying on them while his fellow bishops covered up for him. Archbishop Martin’s final words: “May God reward him for his goodness, may he free him from his sins…”

I have a question here, Archbishop Martin. Who will free up the victims of Des Williams, and Bill Carney, and all of the other predators who masqueraded as devoted followers of a man called Jesus Christ? The same man you spoke so much about in the graceful eulogy you delivered that day ten years ago to a pervert whose cover up was responsible for more suicides than you will ever know. Maybe now, some of those men who innocently fell victims will find a reason to embrace their lives, now that this filthy monster has finally been named. It’s also worth remembering, Archbishop, that Jesus was a Jew. He was long dead before the first Catholic decided to go looking for a role model. The kind but broken individuals who are reading this who have had their lives damaged and destroyed in the past by people you clearly offer kind words to in their demise makes me realise even more that the days of the flimsy Catholic church are numbered.
And I would say this to Noel, who I spoke to during the week, (and also to ‘B’), perhaps life starts today; knowing that you have both shared with me the words that you personally and painfully were never able to speak before now in almost fifty years. To those reading this who still can’t find the strength to see the beauty of life on their own terms as a result of abuse, but hopefully will in time to come: This post is for you. I feel like a ghost caught inside a person I can’t recognise, stuck between this world and another; not wanting to live any longer, but not wanting to die just yet.


It is very possible that we have not heard the full truth of everything that went in the RCC in Ireland.

We knew priests were covered up for?

We prominent bishops covered up for too?

All this involvement of Bishop Kavanagh with Carney and Bishop William’s with a boy”s football club and boy Travellers is very strange indeed.

Some of the blog readers felt all the detail from the various church reports were OTT.

But the Devil is in the detail.

The abuse was horrific.

The cover up was equally as horrific.