Scouting Ireland’s expulsion of primary scout looks for to end long legend

More than 3 years back, the then board of Scouting Ireland gathered at its head office in Larch Hill, south Co Dublin, to read a stark report which warned its inefficient technique to kid security had put the organisation at danger of “termination”.

The confidential report, written by child security expert Ian Elliott in January 2018, found the method to protecting policy from some senior figures “reckless and improper”.

In a comprehensive evaluation of one case, concerning a rape allegation including two adult volunteers, Elliott found the way it was dealt with had actually been “deeply flawed”.

In the fallout after information of the report were exposed by The Irish Times that February, four of the organisation’s most senior figures stepped aside from their functions, pending an investigation.

These were chief scout Christy McCann, chief commissioners David Shalloo and Thérèse Bermingham, and board member Ollie Kehoe

On Monday, Scouting Ireland’s board revealed it had actually expelled McCann, Shalloo and Kehoe as members of the organisation, following a lengthy disciplinary process. Bermingham was suspended from holding any position outside of her local troop for two years.


This initial debate would ultimately result in discoveries of significant historical child sexual assault involving Scouting Ireland’s two predecessor bodies: the Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland(CBSI) and Scout Association of Ireland.

Even at the really start of the legend, some senior figures were worried about where the unravelling thread they had begun to pull may lead. Throughout a board meeting in December 2017, ahead of Elliott’s report, Shalloo said there ought to be “procedures in location to safeguard Scouting Ireland” prior to any historic cases were resumed.

Senior volunteers had in truth initially proposed keeping the review of kid security policy in-house, throughout an internal committee meeting in mid-2017

Bermingham pushed for the evaluation and proposed it be led by Kehoe, according to previously unreported minutes seen by The Irish Times.

It is comprehended Dr John Lawlor, Scouting Ireland’s chief executive at the time, demanded an external expert, and Elliott was worked with.

In the weeks after the debate ended up being public in early 2018, the position of McCann and the other three senior volunteers came under fire.

An internal “crisis management group” established to handle the problem suggested McCann resign, but he refused. During an one-on-one conference, Lawlor likewise advised him to step down.

At a board conference on March 4th, 2018, McCann led the group to recite the scout pledge, which one board member present said felt like a “commitment promise”. McCann then told them he would be prepared to provide his resignation if the board sought it, however it voted by 10 to three not to do so.

Popular among grass-roots members, McCann protected re-election for a second three-year term as primary scout in April2018


Ultimately, his hand was required when then minister for children Katherine Zappone chose to suspend the organisation’s EUR900,000 in State funding, due to serious issues over its governance.

A number of days later, the four volunteers revealed they would briefly step aside, pending the result of an independent examination by barrister Lorna Lynch into their actions.

Over the summertime of 2018, the youth organisation was riven by infighting and stress between expert staff and grass-roots advocates of McCann.

Following dedications to significant governance reforms, Scouting Ireland’s State funding was restored, simply weeks prior to it was set to lack money.

However, that September, the board voted to restore McCann to chair an upcoming extraordinary basic meeting, despite the ongoing query. In reaction Zappone again suspended funding, just restoring it after the entire board was changed.

The Lynch report was finished in January2019 It made numerous findings versus the 4 participants in the handling of the rape accusation, which had actually been reported to Scouting Ireland in late 2015.

The report stated Shalloo had a conflict of interest in the event, as he was friends with the supposed wrongdoer. As a result, it was not proper he stepped in throughout a kid security management group (CPMT) teleconference in July 2016, while the case was under conversation, it said.

The CPMT, which oversaw protecting cases, voted to bring the matter to the board. Bermingham took part in the conversation in spite of the fact “she considered herself conflicted”, the report said.

Acted inappropriately

It stated she then stopped working as chair of the group to bring the matter to the board, despite a majority vote to do so, which Lynch criticised as inappropriate.

The report was vital that while the implicated was suspended from the organisation, Shalloo arranged for him to satisfy McCann in January2017 The conference talked about the person’s case and his issues at how it was being handled.

The report discovered McCann did not act properly by participating in the meeting, which others may have considered as a “show of assistance for the subject of the complaint”. He also acted wrongly by later on stopping working to reveal the meeting to the board, it stated.

The report found Kehoe “made a purposeful decision” not to divulge notes of a conference he had with the subject of the grievance in February 2017, regardless of demands to do so, and “this was not appropriate”. It also found he “failed to disclose” the full details of the conference to the board.

A subcommittee set up to deal with the findings in late 2019 decided to suspend McCann, Shalloo and Bermingham.

At this stage the spotlight of the controversy had carried on, with discoveries of historic kid sexual abuse engulfing Scouting Ireland.

On foot of media protection, the organisation had actually gotten disclosures from great deals of survivors of kid sex abuse in its 2 predecessor bodies.

A report by Elliott, released in May 2020, concluded kid abuse had been “tolerated” at the greatest levels, and covered to protect the reputation of the motion.

Searching Ireland has determined more than 350 declared abuse survivors and 275 alleged wrongdoers.


In a conference on January 10 th, the board chose to expel McCann, Shalloo and Kehoe as members of the organisation, bringing the near three-year disciplinary procedure to a close. Bermingham was suspended for two years from holding any position outside her regional scout group.

The decision, which the board said followed proof of misconduct under its disciplinary code, was settled recently and communicated on Monday.

Throughout the debate, McCann had actually continued to receive the support of many other senior volunteers and a core associate of faithful supporters.

In an open letter last December, McCann and three former chief scouts required his then suspension to be raised. Among those, Martin Burbridge, is running for election to the board at its nationwide conference in May.

Members will likewise choose a brand-new chief scout at the conference, with two candidates in the running: Damien Scanlon, a previous CBSI national commissioner and retired garda, and Jill Pitcher Farrell, a rover scout in her 20 s, who is seen by some as a possible fresh face.

While the board looked for to draw a line in the sand from the past culture by expelling the three senior volunteers, who the subscription choose to represent them as primary scout and on their board may be more outlining how far the organisation has actually come.

Who are the four volunteers involved?

Christy McCann, from Portrane, north Co Dublin, was first elected as chief scout, the voluntary head of the organisation, in September 2015.

McCann first joined the scouts in the 1970 s, and has actually been included for more than 45 years. He had previously held a number of officer functions and was re-elected as chief scout amid the governance and securing debate in April2018


Ollie Kehoe, from Co Wexford, became a scout in 1980 in the second Wexford system. He became the organisation’s national secretary on an interim basis in September 2016 and was re-elected as a regular board member in April2018


David Shalloo, from Co Cork, is from a more youthful generation of volunteers and was elected as primary commissioner for youth programmes in2016


Thérèse Bermingham, from Killiney, south Co Dublin, was designated to the position of chief commissioner for adult resources after another volunteer resigned in late2012 She was re-elected to the function in 2016 for a second term.

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Post Author: Izabella Jaworska

Izabella Jaworska 56 Southend Avenue BLACKHEATH IP19 7ZU 070 7077 0588