A CHILD abuse survivor who has spoken openly about the historic abuse he suffered at St John Ambulance Ireland claims he wishes he had “never told anyone” what happened to him.
Mick Finnegan was just 14 when he was groomed and sexually abused by a senior member of the organisation in Dublin while volunteering there.
The findings of an investigation into Mr Shannon’s allegations, and those of others regarding the charity, were published in March.
Prior to that publication the 39-year-old protested outside the offices of St John’s Ambulance in Dublin calling for them to publish the report "without delay".
The report, by Dr Geoffrey Shannon, found St John Ambulance Ireland had failed to act on concerns and knowledge of risks posed by a former senior figure in its Old Kilmainham division, who is accused of molesting more than 15 boys between the late 1960s and 1990s.
St John Ambulance responded to the findings by issuing an “unreserved apology” to survivors, accepting its structures had in the past “facilitated” the grooming and abuse of children.
Mr Finnegan, an esteemed mental health advocate who is a national advisor to London’s Royal College of Psychiatrists and also sits on the board of directors at the Kyrie Farm mental health centre, first spoke publicly of his abuse in August 2020, when the allegations and investigation into offences committed at St John Ambulance Ireland first came to light.
But he now says wishes he hadn’t gone public, claiming the negative response he has received “would break ya”.
In a social media post today, Mr Finnegan admitted he wishes he “never told anyone” about his abuse, due to that backlash, adding that he only spoke out to help others and not “for attention”.
I wish I never came forward or told anyone what happened to me. The way people treat me since I spoke out would break ya. I only opened my mouth because I didn't want anyone else to go through what I experienced. I wasn't looking for attention. I only wanted to be supported
— Mick Finnegan (@Mick_Finnegan) May 25, 2023
Yesterday he shared an incident with his social media followers where he claimed a garda officer threatened to arrest him when he challenged him on how he interacted with a homeless person.
He further claimed the officer mocked him and the abuse that was inflicted upon him by asked him “have you not got an interview to do about being bummed?”.
“You’d hope survivors would be supported, instead we are mocked,” Mr Flanagan said in his post.
In a second post, he added: “I wasn’t “bummed”. I was groomed, sexually abused and raped as a child.”
After Shannons report, youd hope survivors would be supported. Instead, we're mocked. Walked past a Garda earlier who threatened to arrest me cause I challenged him on how he interacted with the homeless. He went on to say, "Have you not got an interview to do about being bummed"
— Mick Finnegan (@Mick_Finnegan) May 24, 2023
This morning Mr Finnegan told his followers he wished he had never “opened his mouth” about his abuse.
Hundreds of followers have responded to that post, offering their support, and urging Mr Finnegan to stay strong.
One supporter said: “Hang in there Mick, it won’t always feel this way.
“Speaking the truth isn’t always easy but will be worth it in the long term.
“Bravery and courage will be rewarded.”
Another added: “Keep going Mick, it’s always the first one through the wall gets the brunt of denial and hatred from those that know.
“Hopefully your courage will inspire others to come forward.”
The Irish Post has contacted Gardai for a response to the alleged incident.