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Sunday, 30 July, 2006 11:47 PM
From: "Rory Connor"

To: "Professor Vincent Comerford", "Ronan Fanning", "Dr. Diarmaid Ferriter", "Dr. Colum Kenny", "Daire Keogh", "Dermot Keogh", "Dr. Eoin O'Sullivan", "Professor Irene Whelan", "Editor History Ireland", "John Horgan" ... more

Cc:"Mary Raftery", "Vincent Browne" 

Lady, Gentlemen and Scholars,

The Nora Wall affair was the vilest perversion of justice in the history of this State. The Gardai sometimes try to "improve on" evidence against criminals or terrorists but at least they believe them to be guilty. Nora Wall was submitted to a vile ordeal because she had been a nun. No Protestant or Jewish woman was treated like that in the Age of De Valera and McQuaid.

One thing I did not realise at the time was that the conviction was obtained on the basis of "Recovered Memory" evidence and that the accuser Regina Walsh "recovered her memory" in a mental hospital in 1996 shortly after the broadcast of Louis Lentin's 'Dear Daughter' documentary on RTE. (This was about Christine Buckley and Goldenbridge). "Recovered Memory" is rare is Ireland although it has a long and infamous history in the USA. It is highly significant that the first (and only?) successful use of this type of evidence was against a nun!

Certainly this issue will loom large in future histories of modern Ireland. One of the questions historians will investigate is this: why did people who knew the truth at the time choose to remain silent?


Rory Connor  and


Extract from 'SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN' by Mary Raftery and Eoin O'Sullivan (Chapter 10 - 'The Evil Within: Child Sexual Abuse')

“There is also one reported account of sexual abuse by a nun. Paddy Doyle, in his book 'The God Squad', describes the physical and sexual abuse he suffered as a very young boy at the hands of a Sister of Mercy in their industrial school in Cappoquin, Co. Waterford. He had been committed to the school at the age of four during the 1950s, when both of his parents had died. He describes the sexual abuse as 'causing me to squirm and writhe involuntarily. When it passed I sobbed uncontrollably, frightened at what had happened'.

In a separate matter, the case of Nora Wall, formerly Sister Dominic of the Sisters of Mercy, was heard before the courts. Both she and Paul McCabe had been charged with the rape of a young girl at the Cappoquin Industrial School during the late 1980s. In July 1999, they were both found guilty. However the verdict was quashed four days later in the Court of Criminal Appeal. Counsel for the Director of Public prosecutions did not oppose this, explaining that a witness had given evidence whom the DPP had previously decided should not be called. Nora Wall and Paul McCabe remain on bail until the courts decide whether or not there is to be a re-trial.”

 SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN was first published in November 1999 (following the broadcast of the States of Fear series by RTE six months earlier) and the authors’ acknowledgements to those who assisted them are also dated November 1999. Accordingly Mary Raftery and her co-author had plenty of time to digest the significance of what happened to Nora Wall. The following are some of the facts that they omit to mention:

  • Nora Wall was the FIRST woman in the history of the State to be convicted of rape (on 10 June 1999)
  • On 23 July 1999 Nora Wall became the FIRST person in the history of the State to be sentenced to life imprisonment for rape
  • A ‘witness” gave evidence for the prosecution despite the fact that the Director of Public Prosecutions had said that this person should not be called. Ms. Raftery does not mention that this was the ONLY time in the 25-year history of the DPP such a thing had happened.
  • On 17 June  the accuser sold her story to The Star  newspaper and said that she had previously been raped by a “black man in Leicester Square”. This was the first that Nora Wall's defence team had heard of this allegation.
  • The Star newspaper published the names of the accuser and her “witness. A Kilkenny businessman read the newspaper and recognised the “witness” as someone who had previously made a false allegation of rape against himself. He made contact with Nora Wall's family and the case against her and Paul McCabe started to dis-integrate.
  • The "witness" had also made a series of allegations against members of her own family.
  • The accuser originally claimed that she had been raped by Nora Wall and Paul McCabe on her 12th birthday. Paul McCabe was in Mountjoy Jail at that time.
  • On 11 July  the Sunday World published a story by crime correspondent Paul Williams entitled “Rape Nun's Abuse Pact with Smyth”. The article claimed that Nora Wall had procured children for paedophile priest Father Brendan Smyth. No such allegation was made at the trial. The Sunday World thought that because Nora Wall had been convicted, they could say what they liked.

On 28 July 1999 the convictions of Nora Wall and Paul McCabe were quashed by the Court of Criminal Appeal. Mary Raftery reports this episode. However she makes it appear that the convictions were overturned on a technicality. It is clear that the case collapsed because both the accuser and her witness were grossly unreliable.

However I can understand why Mary Raftery does not want too go too deeply into the story of the vile treatment of Nora Wall and Paul McCabe by the judicial system. Raftery's "States of Fear' series was broadcast by RTE in April and May 1999. Nora Wall was convicted in June 1999 (NOT July as stated in 'Suffer The Little Children'). I was told by one of Nora Wall's defence team, that she was convicted in a climate of hysteria created by the media and especially by 'States of Fear''.

Rory Connor

24 March 2005