A FORMER GAA coach, who indecently assaulted two young boys in Ennis during the 1980s, is today beginning a jail sentence.
Ennis man James ‘Tony’ Maher (69) yesterday received a two-year prison term for what a judge described as the “manipulative exploitation” of his victims.
Mr Maher had previously pleaded guilty to 19 counts of indecent assault that took place between 1982 and 1984.
Mr Maher, of Clonroad Beg, Ennis, would drive the victims around Clare, buying them chips, cigarettes and alcohol before performing sexual acts on them.
The abuse of one 13-year-old boy began in 1982 when the accused was the manager of a hurling team.
At Ennis Circuit Court yesterday, Judge Carroll Moran said Mr Maher had “ingratiated himself” with the victim’s family.
The abuse progressed from Mr Maher masturbating the victim to performing oral sex on him.
The abuse of the second victim started when the former Clare County Council employee picked up the 11-year-old boy while he was hitchhiking home. Judge Moran said Mr Maher, a founding member of the Banner GAA club, had travelled with the boy in the guise of father and son to a bed and breakfast in Dublin.
He said Mr Maher abused the boy at his home and, on one occasion, in the toilet in the offices of Clare County Council.
Judge Moran said the abuse was “unacceptable” and had happened over a “protracted period of time”.
He said, “Young people of that age are entitled to protection from this type of manipulative exploitation and destruction of their innocence.”
Judge Moran said the victims had spoken of the continuing negative impact the abuse has had on their lives. In victim impact statements heard in court last November, the men spoke of how they battled addictions and how both had attempted suicide.

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A native of Ennis, Ronan Judge completed his Journalism and Communications Diploma course at Griffith College. The Clare People is his first newspaper appointment. Contact Ronan on [email protected]

1 COMMENT

  1. I have to say that I have known this man since the mid seventies and never suspected him of paedophilia. There is another gent in Ennis who is widely known to have corrupted numerous of the towns youths over many years. I have often wondered if charges were ever brought against him.

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