Famous Irish sports journalist jailed for child abuse
One of Ireland’s best-known sports journalists and GAA pundits, the former Irish Times columnist Tom Humphries, was last week sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail for grooming and sexually abusing a teenage girl whose GAA team he coached in Fairview in Dublin.
The sentencing by Judge Karen O’Connor generated controversy among various commentators, as did the character references given on behalf of Humphries by some of Ireland’s leading sports journalists.
Humphries, from Raheny, was sentenced to two and half years for the crime of “defilement” and two years for sexual exploitation of the same girl.
Judge O’Connor, who noted the fall for Humphries was so much greater because of his former prominence and standing in the community, said the maximum sentence she could impose on the defilement charges was five years. She said the sexual exploitation charges carried a maximum term of life in prison, but after considering mitigating factors thought a sentence closer to three years would be more appropriate.
The judge said she was taking into account Humphries’ guilty plea last March which was the “most valuable form of mitigation”.
But, she said, an early plea would have been more helpful to the young woman whom he had abused as a child. She said she was taking into account that Humphries had lost his livelihood and his reputation. The sentences will run concurrently.
Vehicle ban at Game of Thrones’ Dark Hedges site
An order banning cars and buses from Game of Thrones’ Dark Hedges in Antrim came into effect this week.
Traffic will be banned from the Bregagh Road near Armoy although exceptions will be made for local access, emergency vehicles, delivery vehicles, and some agricultural vehicles. T he tunnel of trees feature on the hit TV series’ King’s Road. Anyone breaching the ban, which will be enforced by the PSNI, faces a fine of up to £1,000.
The avenue of trees was originally planted by the owners of Gracehill House mansion in the eighteenth century to impress guests as they approached the house. It, and other locations used for Game of thrones, have become huge tourist attractions following thr worldwide success of the TV series.
Vigils across Ireland for Savita five years after her death
Vigils took place across Ireland last week to mark the fifth anniversary of the death of Savita Halappanavar.
The 31-year-old dentist from India was 17 weeks’ pregnant and miscarrying when she was admitted University Hospital Galway on 21 October 2012 complaining of back pain. Ms Halappanavar died a week later on 28 October.
The vigils were organised by the Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment which is campaigning for free, legal and safe abortions in Ireland. The group has been criticised by pro-life campaigners for “exploiting” Ms Halappanavar’s death.
Hundreds of people attended a vigil on O’Connell Street in Dublin holding candles, pictures of Ms Halappanavar, and signs saying ‘Never Again’. Vigils were also held in Cork, Galway and Clare and other parts of the country. Ireland’s government, led by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, has promised to hold a referendum on whether or not to repeal the eighth amendment to Ireland’s constitution which bans abortion.
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