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Louth man was asked by Gardai to apologise to Michael Shine after reporting abuse

By Alison Comyn - Drogheda Independent - 25.02.2024 - [IRELAND] - [Michael Shine] A Louth man, who says he was asked by gardai to write a letter of apology to his abuser Dr Michael Shine, says he will never rest until there is a full public enquiry into the widespread sexual abuse.

Patrick was just 22 when he says he was abused by the disgraced surgeon in his private rooms in Fair Street, but he says when he complained to gardai, he was told there wasn’t sufficient evidence, and he should write a letter of apology to Shine.

On the second anniversary of the release of Shine from prison, Patrick is joining local advocacy group Dignity4Patients in calling for an official apology, proper redress and further prosecutions.

“When I was abused, I told my family and friends, and even went to a solicitor to seek advice and was told to forget about it and get on with my life, that it was my word against Michael Shine.

“I was told Michael Shine was a very powerful man and no one would believe me,” recalls Patrick, now in his 50s. “It became a joke amongst my friends, teasing me about it, but it wasn’t funny at all". Patrick says he tried to put it behind him and left the country but returned in 2003 when his mother got ill. It was then he decided to report the sexual abuse to gardai.

According to Patrick what happened thereafter has traumatised him even further to this day.

"When I finally made a formal complaint, I was delighted because it seemed like I was being listened to, and justice would be done for what happened me,” says Patrick. “But I soon realised that wouldn’t be the case, as I was told there wasn’t enough evidence, and Michael Shine was very upset at the allegation.”

At that stage, Patrick was asked to write a letter of apology to his abuser for making the claim.

“I refused to say I was sorry - he should have been apologising to me for what he did - but I did retract my allegation, as I didn’t want to get into trouble,” he explains. “I wrote ‘as regards my complaint against Dr Shine, who is denying he ever treated me in his private practise, I have no alternative but to withdraw the complaint against Dr Shine’.”

Years later he again reported the abuse to the Gardai and his file was sent to the DPP in 2017, 14 years after his initial complaint was made. “What Shine did to me was shocking, but what happened afterwards has nearly been worse,” says Patrick.

Shine was jailed for four years in 2019 for groping seven boys in his care over a period of three decades and was released from prison on February 23rd 2022 after serving three years.

Over 200 adult survivors of Michael Shine’s sexual abuse have had some financial redress paid by insurers for the Medical Missionaries of Mary. “He should never have seen daylight again, and he got away with it for years,” says Patrick angrily. “Still, I was delighted that justice was done and he did go to jail, but justice still needs to be done on how it was all handled and how he got away with it for so long.”

Dignity4Patients is a patient support and advocacy organisation which works with people who have suffered sexual abuse or inappropriate sexual behaviour whilst a patient in a medical or therapeutic setting. CEO Adrienne Reilly says they have provided help to over 350 Shine victims and this is not an unusual or radical ask in circumstances like this. “On the second anniversary of the release of Michael Shine, we expected another trial would have proceeded and he would have been back in prison serving further sentences for the horrific crimes he subjected hundreds of children. Instead, he walks easy and free while our victims remain tortured,” says Adrienne. “Since I started in Autumn 2021, at least one new victim a month has approached our services for support.

In 2021, the Court of Appeal blocked a further trial of Shine (90) on charges of indecently assaulting and sexual abuse of another group of complainants. That ruling cited a range of factors, including Shine’s age, health and an administrative error by the Office of the DPP.

Expressing her view forcefully that Shine was ‘Ireland’s Jimmy Saville’ Adrienne likened it to another recent scandal.

“As in the recent post master’s scandal in the UK and the North of Ireland, when some of these men reported the sexual abuse they were subjected to as children, they were also told “they were the only one." she said. “They were not believed. They now need acknowledgement and access to effective justice. They want and deserve a public inquiry.”

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can contact Dignity4Patients, whose helpline is open Monday to Thursday 10am to 4pm.



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