Martin Ridge was approaching retirement after a long career with An Garda Síochána. Posted to a quiet corner of Co. Donegal, he found himself investigating one of the most horrific series of child sex abuse cases in Ireland.
At Christmas 1997 a local priest Fr Eugene Greene reported to the Gardaí that a man had tried to blackmail him. His hubris set in motion a Garda investigation which revealed him as a serial child sex abuser for decades. As word of the investigation spread, 26 men came forward. Most were from the tiny Gaeltacht parish of Gort an Choirce. All had been abused by Greene as children.
Soon after, another man came forward to say that he had been sexually abused by local schoolteacher Denis McGinley. As Ridge dug deeper, he discovered that McGinley had been systematically abusing children in his classroom for decades. He had at least 50 victims.
The Greene and McGinley cases both involved the Catholic Church. Greene was a priest, and McGinley a teacher in a Catholic school answerable to religious managers. As Ridge investigated, he discovered that the Church knew about the abuse, but ignored the problem. Breaking the Silence is a brilliantly written account of the Garda investigation that brought two serial and unrepentant abusers to justice.
Martin Ridge is a retired member of An Garda Síochána, the Irish police force.
Gerard Cunningham is a freelance journalist living in Co Kildare. A native of West Donegal, he writes for local and national outlets on topics as varied as crime and courts, politics, new technology, and local history, with a particular interest in archaeology and early Celtic society. He also works as a sub editor, designer and on occasion as a photographer.
Gerard is the author of two books, Chaos and Conspiracy, published in April 2009, and Breaking the Silence (along with Martin Ridge). He also worked as consultant editor on Charades, by Karen McGlinchey.