John McClean entered court number 13 a little after 10 am last Thursday carrying a black leather overnight bag and a red notebook. He knew he was more than likely going to prison that day, so he was prepared. He was smaller than I remembered him, but still very much the same man. There was a moment as he sat down when his eyes flashed towards the men in their 40s, 50s, and 60s who had brought him finally to this day. But once the judge arrived, it was head down.
McClean tried to delay things by arguing his confinement should wait until after he was vaccinated against Covid-19. Forty-eight years after he first sexually abused a child he hoped for a few more days of freedom. As the court rose briefly to facilitate this argument, a press release pinged into journalists’ inboxes. It was an apology from Terenure College, the private school in south Dublin, and the Carmelite Order that ran the school that admitted they had failed to protect 23 children, now men, who had found the courage within themselves to finally expose John McClean.
Evidence presented in court had shown that Terenure College knew from the 1970s on that he was abusing boys and that rather than removing him or reporting him to the gardaí, the school had given him even greater power and access to children.
The 23 did not know of the press release. Instead, they sat silently in the courtroom wearing safety masks or tuned in from their homes both in Ireland and overseas to watch the man who had abused, bullied and terrorised them meet his fate.
Judge Pauline Codd rejected McClean’s pleas for leniency due to his age and ill health, and instead turned to her sentence. The 23 men listened as their names were read out, eyes glistening in many cases, but dignified. McClean put one hand across his face and looked down as the litany of sexual abuse, beatings, and psychological bullying he had carried out on the grounds of Terenure College for so many years was read out. It took a long time.
On February 11, a friend who I used to live nearby reached out. He was about ten years older than me but, like me, he had gone to Terenure College. He was one of the 23 men who had taken McClean to court. Earlier that day, the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court had heard of how McClean had met with Fr Robert Kelly, the then provincial of the Carmelite Order in Ireland, after he was accused of sexually abusing a young boy.
During one of those meetings, McClean had admitted to the allegation. This happened in 1996. McClean was then the coach of the Senior Cup team on which many of my friends played. He also happened to be my English teacher.
The court was told that the first complaint to the gardaí in the case was only made in 2016. And that Fr Kelly when questioned by gardaí a decade after McClean told him he was abusing children had said he had no recollection of McClean’s admission but agreed if it was in his notes then “it was true.” My friend asked if I had heard the evidence, and I said I had.
Like the rest of my year in school, we had been given the impression that McClean had chosen to leave the school to go on to greater things in rugby. There were lots of rumours about McClean, but Terenure standing up to him and forcing him to leave was not one of them. I asked my friend what had happened in Terenure. What he told me, and gave as evidence, when combined with 22 other testimonies, and skilled detective work led to McClean pleading guilty.
A 12-year old boy was caught sharing a cigarette outside before Christmas in the 1980s by a priest. This priest was rumoured to have boxed as a young man, and he was well known for hitting boys. He is dead now, but when he taught me in 1995 and 1996, I saw him punch a classmate. It wasn’t a slap, it was a hard blow. How intimidating this priest must have been to a 12-year-old when he was a decade younger.
The priest brought the boy in to see his first-year form master John McClean, who was responsible for over 100 schoolboys finding their feet in a big school. McClean shared his office in an isolated corner of the school with another teacher. This teacher then left, leaving the young boy alone with McClean. McClean sat directly in front of the boy.
“What will Christmas be like in your house when your parents find out you smoke?” he asked. McClean watched as the boy got upset at the thought of disappointing his parents.
McClean then offered a deal. He would not tell the boy’s parents if he agreed to take “six of the best.” The boy agreed, expecting a few slaps with a ruler on the hand.
McClean, then in his 40s, returned with three rulers he had bound together into one with rubber bands.
He placed the boy over his knee and hit him with all his force. After one particularly heavy blow the boy fell crying to the ground.
McClean picked him up and rubbed his bottom and drew his face towards his tented trousers. He then ordered the child to sit outside his office and wait for him.
McClean emerged with a wagon wheel biscuit and insisted the frightened child go for a walk with him around the school. It was as if nothing had happened.
McClean had a bunch of keys which he used to unlock side doors and bring the boy to a private garden only used by the priests.
The tour, and his keys, was McClean’s way of showing he felt this was his school.
My friend who attended Terenure College before me said that he was one of four children out of more than 100 in his year that had testified against McClean. The abuse he suffered was horrific, but not the worst heard in trial.
McClean, the trial heard, had ejaculated on children, groped them, lay on top of them, beat them, masturbated them, ground his groin against them, exposed himself, and made children touch him. Before and after abusing them he bullied, groomed, and psychologically terrorised individual children for years at a time. This all took place on school grounds.
My friend thinks the true numbers of victims have not yet emerged.
“Do the maths on this. He was there for 30 years. There were four children from my class out of a class of 25 or 30 who were abused. Conservatively, he may have abused 10 or 12 children in every year. We are talking about hundreds of children who may have been abused.”
A number of former pupils who were interviewed by the gardaí during the course of their investigations were told that they shared the same view. During the course of researching this article, I came across half a dozen cases that didn’t feature in court but were somewhere on the range between bullying, inappropriate behaviour and sexual abuse.
The extent of the damage McClean has done has only been touched upon in the courts.
From evidence in the trial against John McClean, we now know that in 1979, Terenure College received credible allegations of sexual abuse from children about him.
These allegations related to McClean fondling children as he helped them in and out of costumes in an underground room beneath the main stage in the concert hall.
McClean’s punishment was to be no longer allowed to produce or direct any plays. Instead, the school put him in a position of even greater power with access to children at their most vulnerable.
He was made first year form master in charge of 12-year-old boys, and he was given an office off to one side that would become the perfect venue for abuse.
Last week, I contacted a teacher, now retired, who is the person I learned most from in Terenure. He was kind and decent, the opposite of McClean. I associated him with many of my most happy memories in Terenure and hoped he would be able to say something. He said he couldn’t. Did the school ever tell you why McClean was banned from being involved in school plays? “Tommy… That’s a very good question,” he replied.
In sentencing McClean, Judge Pauline Codd noted that for the 17 years from the first offence for which he was convicted in 1973 to the last in 1990 he had “acted with impunity.”
“His offending conduct was borne out by mind blowing and blazing arrogance,” she said.
Thinking back to my own time in Terenure between 1990 and 1996, it is remarkable what the school allowed him to do openly, given that it knew from 1979 that he was attracted to children and prepared to act on it.
McClean’s nickname in the school was “Doc,” and even other teachers referred to him using this name. He was called “Doc” because he took it upon himself to act as a physiotherapist to children playing rugby.
This involved him being alone with children where they would take their tops off, and he would massage their injured muscles. Often, he would stray lower and massage a boys’ buttocks, or inner groin, neither of which were injured.
According to several boys, now men, who went on the trip, McClean would punish anyone who acted up by insisting they sleep in his hotel room in the spare bed.
The court heard evidence of how McClean used the pretext of treating injuries as a way to access and abuse children.
Last week, I spoke to former pupils who described McClean engaging in such activities after 1990, the last year for which he is a convicted offender. They recalled him touching them inappropriately, and him shrugging it off if challenged.
Other things that were known in Terenure, and that should have set off alarm bells, include his habit during home games in the school gym of walking into the communal showers fully clothed to chat to boys washing themselves. Boys in Terenure were told to keep their shorts on in the shower.
An adult going into a shower area with young boys was inappropriate behaviour, but for away games McClean was known to take it further by stripping off and getting into the shower naked beside schoolboys. He would tease the boys for keeping their shorts on.
McClean was allowed by Terenure to take groups of young rugby players on tours to play other teams in London. He was accompanied only by a priest from outside the school who would go to bed early.
The boys on these trips were between 16 and 18, and McClean allowed them to go out drinking after matches. According to several boys, now men, who went on the trip, McClean would punish anyone who acted up by insisting they sleep in his hotel room in the spare bed.
All of this carry-on was well known. The fact that McClean could get away with so much in the open made it all the easier for him to take the next much darker step over and over, year after year.
One of the things that came out in the trial, and was referred to in his sentencing by the judge was how some instances of the abuse involved “pre-planning,” while others were opportunistic, but “all involved significant abuse of power.”
The court heard how he used his extra time, when he wasn’t teaching, to call children out of class on various pretexts, so he could abuse them or groom them.
In evidence, one boy said another more junior teacher tried to stop McClean taking him away to be abused. At some level, even if only instinctual, there was a suspicion around McClean among ordinary teachers.
But nothing was done to keep a closer eye on him. Instead, McClean was given a lighter classroom workload by Terenure, as it was felt he needed time to prepare for rugby matches. He used this time to roam the corridors looking for children to abuse, and he had the keys to the school allowing him to move around.
Last week, I spoke to a man who had been in the school after 1990. He didn’t come forward to the gardaí with his story because he felt what happened to him was on the lower end of the scale.
He recalled, as a 12-year old, having a sore stomach and being sent to see the school matron. John McClean cornered him wearing the black cape coat he wore over his suit, making him at once both physically larger but also more authoritative.
“Doc put his hand on my shoulder, then my face. He then asked me to suck his thumb. We ended up sort of wrestling as I tried to get away from him, and he tried to grope me.”
“He had a strange intense look like the one in the pictures of him leaving court. I was lucky I managed to get away from him, and run.” This boy was in the wrong place at the wrong time when McClean opportunistically attacked him.
He spent the next six years of school trying to avoid McClean. He didn’t play rugby in order to avoid him. It knocked his confidence and impacted his studies as he tried to keep a low profile and get through school.
Over and over in the court case, evidence was given by the 23 men who McClean abused of how this impacted them academically and socially in Terenure.
Nobody in authority in the school seemed to notice all the boys slipping between the cracks.
In sentencing John McClean, Judge Pauline Codd said that rugby was one of the tools used by him to get away with abusing his victims. She said McClean used his power to select children for rugby teams, or to drop them, in order to strike fear into them.
One of the secrets of John McClean’s longevity as a prolific paedophile was that he was worshipped by many as a hero in Terenure College.
As a schoolboy and young teacher, his interests lay in soccer and cricket. But when his access to children via the theatre was closed down to him, he moved towards rugby.
He was the coach when Terenure won the Senior Cup in 1984, a big achievement for the school, which rarely won. McClean used the attributes he had honed as a paedophile to master the skills required to succeed on the rugby pitch.
He was obsessive, detail-focused, demanding and ruthless as a coach.
He channeled this energy into the teams he coached, winning back-to-back senior cups in 1992 and again in 1993. Terenure College, which had been rarely victorious, became used to winning with John McClean.
Edmund Van Esbeck, writing admiringly in The Irish Times of Terenure, described McClean as a “fine coach.”
The teams McClean coached to victory included players that went on to play for Leinster, Munster, Ulster and even for Ireland. This success in rugby became the cloak that McClean used to disguise his many crimes.
The Carmelites who ran Terenure College revelled in his sporting success. It was their chance to get one over their rivals like the Spiritians who ran Blackrock College and St Michael’s College.
There was heavy drinking after big wins, and it was a chance to cut loose from what was a very narrow life.
As a schoolboy, I was there when McClean won the 1992 and 1993 Senior Cup. After the final, there had been a victory march from Lansdowne Road back to Terenure, which for many older children, teachers and priests meant stopping off in pubs and drinking cans along the route home.
The entire school crammed into the Concert Hall, to cheer McClean and his players on as they stood up on stage.
Below McClean was the underground room where he abused children in the 1970s, but that was unknown to the children in the room, and some, but not all, of the adults.
McClean befriended parents of promising rugby players – it was another way he exerted his power. The court heard how he used the loss of a parent to befriend a child’s grieving mother, and then abuse her son.
Children who had been abused knew he was friends with the parents of popular kids who played rugby. He went to their homes for dinner, and they met for drinks after games.
Some rugby players defended McClean in the classroom and the dressing room when they heard other children making disparaging remarks about him. As this wasn’t the man they thought they knew, they would take it upon themselves to close things down.
In interviews, Irish internationals praised McClean for his role in guiding them in school and later youth teams. “He has been a tremendous help to me and I owe him a lot,” a former Terenure College pupil and Irish international said of McClean in 1993.
McClean was on a pedestal because of rugby. In their victim impact statements, some of the boys who were abused referred to how this made it very hard for them as children to speak out or be heard.
A former pupil said in a victim impact statement read out in court: “It is a source of pain to know that some former elite rugby players hold him in high regard, to those I say, who do you think he was thinking about when he was doing what he did to me and others like me? You see it wasn’t the good players he went after, he needed their protection to continue doing what he did to children like me for those decades, decades…”
I wrote to two former Irish internationals who were trained by McClean as schoolboys in Terenure last week to ask their reaction to his conviction, and neither replied.
Not every talented rugby player was lucky enough to escape abuse. In court, evidence was given from players who were good enough to make Terenure’s senior cup team and had been abused by McClean. There are many, many other children who have yet to find the strength to tell their stories of how McClean abused them mentally, physically, or both on the rugby pitch. During their investigation, the gardaí took statements from men who had been bullied or mentally abused as children by McClean, but such cases are hard to prosecute.
I spoke this week to a former talented schools player who represented Terenure on its senior cup team in the 1990s. He gave a statement to gardaí during their investigations, and his story gives an insight into the manipulative nature of McClean.
This man has asked not to be named but let’s call him Frank.
“You have to remember that John McClean was worshipped in Terenure. He had won back-to-back Senior Cups,” he said. “He started asking me to come down to his office during school time for chats from fairly early on.”
“We would talk about rugby. He would ask about my family, who did I think was gay in our year, who was smoking and so on,” he recalled.
This pattern of intelligence gathering, we heard from evidence given in his trial, was part of McClean’s modus operandi in exerting his power and identifying his next targets for abuse.
Frank had a best friend in school, and the two had happily played together side by side in rugby in the Junior Cup. They were both popular among their classmates as well as being physically strong for their age. Something happened to Frank’s friend in first year, and he refused to play rugby at senior level where McClean was in charge. The two boys fell out, and Frank’s friend was expelled by Terenure. He later died, but he was another boy who had given evidence to the gardaí about McClean.
There were individual teachers who cared about this boy, but the school never really asked why a popular athletic boy began to rebel. It just let him leave, along with a number of other talented children that year who were perceived as troublemakers by the school.
Frank, however, carried on playing rugby. He was talented, and the weight sessions were paying off. McClean was allowed by Terenure to act as a physiotherapist, and he ended up massaging the boy’s buttocks.
That this sort of thing happened was no secret among some senior rugby players in the school. Some of them joked about it.
Frank wanted to make the Senior Cup team so avoiding McClean wasn’t possible. McClean would insist on meeting him once a week, and other teachers didn’t object when he left the classroom.
“The bad news is I’m the coach, and there is no way you are coming after the way you said fuck you to me.”
In those meetings, McClean would rub his shoulders but it was always explained away as stress relief or treating an injury.
By the time Frank was in sixth year he was on the Senior Cup team. It was his last chance at victory, but they got beaten. He had gotten more and more uncomfortable around McClean, so at the party after they were knocked out, he left early to meet his girlfriend in a pub nearby. When he came out of the pub after midnight, McClean was there in his car demanding he get in. The boy, who didn’t drink, refused and said he was going to walk his girlfriend home. “If you don’t get into my car, I will take that as you saying to me ‘fuck you’,” McClean said. Frank said no, and McClean drove off into the night. It was now near the Leaving Cert, and during his mock Irish exam, McClean dropped a note on his table, asking him to meet him in his office.
In the office, McClean said the “good news” was he had been selected for a trial to play for the Irish school boys team which was due to travel to Australia.
“The bad news is I’m the coach, and there is no way you are coming after the way you said ‘fuck you’ to me,” McClean said. Frank said he was upset that night, and wanted to stay with his girlfriend. “I was upset too,” McClean replied. “Who was going to comfort me?” The trial went ahead, and the boy played brilliantly. He felt sure he would be picked for Ireland. McClean again called him into the office. “You got selected,” McClean said, “But I said I wasn’t taking you. There is no way I am going to take you after you said ‘fuck you’ to me. Now get out of my fucking office.”
“I think back about it now,” Frank recalled. “The pressure he put on me. He wanted to break me, and make me cry. School should have been the happiest times of my life, but he was the reason it wasn’t.”
During the court case, evidence was read out from Father Robert Kelly, the then provincial of the Carmelite Order in Ireland which founded Terenure, that once McClean confessed to being a paedophile he was removed from the school.
But where did McClean go? What happened next is recorded by the Irish Times rugby journalist Edmund Van Esbeck in an article published on August 31, 1996.
The article enthused about how the Ireland Schools team had toured Australia with a 100 per cent record to be greeted by a congratulatory reception party at Dublin airport led by then IRFU President Bobby Deacy.
Among the team was one Brian O’Driscoll, a Blackrock College student, who would go on to be one of Ireland’s greatest ever players. Von Esbeck didn’t mention O’Driscoll, who would have known nothing of the allegations facing McClean, but instead focused on the grown men behind the team.
“The IRFU president was rich in his praise for the players and the back-up team…[including] assistant coach John McClean…” A number of Terenure College schoolboys were on the trip to Australia too, and the school knew this.
What did Terenure College do to warn the teenage rugby players on this trip? Their parents? The IRFU or anyone else of the manipulative and dangerous predator they were traveling with? Terenure did not respond to this direct question.
“Terenure College and the Carmelite Order continue to fully co-operate with the Garda and all relevant authorities in all Child Safeguarding and Protection matters – this includes concerns that may arise in the present and sharing of information available to us from the past,” Terenure said.
On December 21, 2017, Village Magazine published an article about Terenure College with the headline “Terror ‘Nure”. The article looked at allegations of abuse being made by former pupils in the 1960s and 1970s. The article was written by a journalist called Gemma O’Doherty. O’Doherty, at that time, hadn’t gone full-blown conspiracy theorist nor had she been banned from Twitter.
When the article came out, it went around past pupils’ Whatsapp groups. It was easy to knock the article because of O’Doherty – as some did – or say it was all long ago. It focused on a priest, now dead, called Fr Aidan O’Donovan, who according to multiple unnamed men in the article was a serial sex abuser. An unnamed man called the priest a “quintessential wolf in sheep’s clothing”.
When I read that phrase I thought of a scandal that led to a 2004 court case when a former Terenure teacher had admitted to “inappropriate sexual relations” with a 17-year-old former student. He had successfully argued however that he did not have sex with him when he was 14.
The other person that came to mind was John McClean.
I wasn’t the only past pupil who thought of McClean. Others, however, had been abused by him, and they reached out to O’Doherty to tell their story.
The Village published the resulting article in March 2018 under the headline “Rugby’s Dirty Secret.” It was a brave article that relied on multiple unnamed sources, and it caused something to finally begin to happen.
I spoke this week to one of the former Terenure College students who got in touch with O’Doherty. He asked not to be named, so let’s call him Alan.
In the final days before summer break, McClean had spanked him in different incidents over several days, building up to trying to masturbate him in his office. Alan was just 12 when this happened.
He left the school afterwards, and felt sad that he had disappointed his parents for dropping out, as he was unable to tell them why.
Alan wrote an email to Fr Richard Byrne of the Carmelites Order, who asked to meet him in an office in Dundrum. Byrne was a past pupil of Terenure College, class of 1987, so he would have known McClean as a teacher. He went on to become principal of the school some years after McClean left in 1996, and he was a teacher in the school from 1993.
In 2019, he was made a General Counsel for Europe in the Carmelite Order.
A mediator called Fr Fintan Burke was also at the meeting, and afterwards Fr Byrne contacted Terenure Garda station. “At that stage there were nine people with a total of 38 charges,” Alan said. “A file got sent to the DPP and finally the guards got the right to arrest him. It took three years from that moment to get here.”
There were many creepy stories circulating about John McClean in Terenure College circles after he left. But away from the school, he went from strength to strength. After his triumphant trip to Australia, McClean had coached the Leinster Schools team for a while before becoming director of rugby in UCD.
He was involved in creating its academy there and coached generations of talented players, some of whom went on to play for their province or country.
In his autobiography, one of Ireland’s greatest ever rugby players writes about John McClean’s influence on his career four times.
He says the crucial decision to move from being out-half to centre was “down to John McClean.” He gets another break when UCD offers him a scholarship to be part of its new rugby programme “to be run by John McClean.”
“John McClean, UCD’s new director of rugby, runs an impressive operation,” Brian O’Driscoll concludes.
When he got his first cap for Ireland, O’Driscoll recalls McClean was one of those who sent him a “lovely” fax.
O’Driscoll knew nothing of McClean’s crimes. But his respected reputation as a world-class rugby player was one that McClean played up.
In an interview in The Irish Examiner in 2014, McClean said: “You could see [Brian] had the qualities to play there from playing other positions.”
“He had good hands and with his low centre of gravity it looked like he could be very good at making an outside break. I wouldn’t take too much credit for it, it was something I just thought might work. So he said okay and we tried it and he played there.”
I wrote to O’Driscoll this week asking him to comment on McClean, but he did not respond. Again, there is no suggestion that O’Driscoll knew anything about McClean’s past.
In his autobiography, Niall Breslin, a mental health campaigner, and musician recalled being trained by McClean. “My director of rugby in UCD, John McClean, taught me so much about the sport, and I was relatively close to him. He was almost timid, I was angry and aggressive and between those extremes, we connected and held each other in respect,” he wrote.
I emailed Breslin, and he rang me back within thirty minutes. Breslin said he was horrified to read about McClean. Breslin went to school in Mullingar so he wasn’t in the south county Dublin rugby set which predominated in UCD. “I never heard anything,” he said. “When I was playing rugby I was quite reclusive and didn’t really interact with other players.”
“I had no inclination that something had gone on,” he said. “The silence around it in rugby I don’t fully understand.”
“Silence is a huge theme in our country when it comes to abuse historically,” he added.
Breslin said “clarity” was needed about what was known or not known and by who about McClean when he was director of rugby in UCD.
“When you are in roles of huge responsibility you have to make sure the people you are working with are who they say they are,” he said. “It is dark and heavy, but we need to address it. If we can arm young people with education that is their greatest defense against abuse. I know from the work I do in mental health that the abuse of power is a conversation we have to have.”
Terenure did not respond to a direct question about whether or not it had warned UCD that McClean had admitted to being a child abuser.
“The holder of the position of Head of Rugby at UCD is employed by UCD Rugby Club,” UCD said. “The University was unaware of his crimes until they were reported in the media in 2018.”
“To date, no incident relating to John McClean has been brought forward to the University. The entire UCD community is appalled by the abuse committed by John McClean at Terenure College and deeply concerned for the victims whose lives have been affected.”
Fr Éanna Ó hÓbáin, Principal of Terenure College, and Fr Michael Troy, Provincial of the Carmelite Order in Ireland, issued the press release after McClean was sentenced, apologising. I asked them how they could be sure McClean stopped abusing children when he left Terenure and what had they done to protect other children from 1996 on. Pedophiles rarely can stop without serious intervention. This question was not answered.
John McClean was my first year form master and teacher in Terenure College. It was sickening hearing the evidence of how he abused 23 young boys. Their stories resonated with me, as I remembered waiting for him outside his office door as a 12-year-old to receive punishment for some minor infraction. I now know I was lucky another teacher came along and told me to go home. Did that teacher know or suspect anything?
In my fifth and sixth year, John McClean was my English teacher. His favorite book was JD Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, which he would read to us in class looking down with his hand on his bald head, just as he was last week in the dock.
In my sixth year, McClean invited me to his office to discuss what I should do after school. He suggested journalism and admitted he had dabbled in music journalism himself in the 1960s. He then put his hands on my shoulders and started to rub them. I told him to get lost, and he retreated. From then on I was marked.
My results from McClean in 1996 went from Bs or even As, to Ds. Then, he refused to correct my work. My mother went to the school to complain and was brushed off. When she came home, it was one of the very rare times I have seen her really angry.
When John McClean was sentenced he was ordered to stand-up, and in a weak voice, he said “Yes” when asked did he understand he was a convicted criminal.
He was now exactly where he had enjoyed putting hundreds of boys over 30 years. He was afraid, with his choices taken away from him.
There was no jubilation in the room at his sentencing.
It was the opposite to how McClean had been cheered in Terenure College for his rugby success. McClean slunk through a side door in the courtroom to begin his new life in prison. He got 11 years with three suspended. He will be at least 80 before he’s released, if he ever gets out.
He left behind a group of very brave, dignified, ordinary men who had finally defeated him. They showed the character and courage that those who should have protected them in Terenure College and the Carmelite Order utterly failed to demonstrate.
At least seven civil actions are being taken against the school. There will undoubtedly be more. The 23 spoke up for themselves, their families, and those who were abused and had died before this day, sometimes in tragic circumstances. Their victory was a joint one with all the men who could have, and may yet, fill many courtrooms.
Standing outside the glass encircled Criminal Courts of Justice in the sunshine I am saying goodbye to one of the men who made McClean accountable for his crimes. He is older than me and about to hop on the Luas home.
When he left Terenure after being abused in his first year, he felt he had let down his parents and was burdened with a dark secret. That weight had now been lifted. Before he turned to walk away, he looked at me and said: “This is a good day.”