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Monday 26 September 2016

'I saw evil paedophile Cooke fondling young girl', says sacked DJ

Sean Meaney
Sean Meaney

A former radio DJ has claimed he was sacked by paedophile Eamon Cooke after he spotted him in "a compromising position" with a teenage girl.

Sean Meaney was hired by the vile child predator in early 1978 to present a daily two-hour evening show along with two weekend morning slots on pirate station Radio Dublin.

But the Dubliner, who is now 65 and living in London, said his dream job with the hugely-popular radio station was quickly cut short after he spotted Cooke in a back room near his makeshift studio, where he appeared to be fondling a girl of about 16 or 17.

Hindsight

Mr Meaney said that with the benefit of hindsight, he wishes he had reported the serial child abuser. Cooke served 10 years in prison for the sexual assault of four girls and died last June, aged 79.

Eamon Cooke
Eamon Cooke

"I was young when I joined Radio Dublin. It was an exciting place to work, as we provided the only real alternative at the time to mainstream RTE radio," he said.

"But I only lasted about six months there, and I'm certain the reason for that is because one day I spotted Cooke in what you might call a compromising position with a girl who was about 16 or 17.

"I just walked into a back room and saw him there.

"I wasn't sure at the time whether he saw me or not, but I quickly walked out.

"I didn't report what I'd seen. Times were different back then. If you'd have said the word 'paedophile' at the time, nobody would have known what you were talking about.

"I didn't think too much of it, but looking back, I now regret that. If back then I had known he was abusing children, I'd have reported it straight away.

"A couple of months after that I got the sack, and I can only think it was because Cooke knew I had seen him with that girl and wanted to get rid of me."

It was around that time, as suspicions and allegations began to mount about Cooke's behaviour, that staff at the station quit en masse and sabotaged the transmitter while the depraved monster was on holiday.

Mr Meaney, who presented the programme just before Cooke's "Captain's address" every Sunday, recalled his employer's subsequent convincing broadcast in April 1978 when he discredited a secret recording of a young girl claiming she had been abused by him.

Mr Meaney also blames church authorities of the time - in particular, late Ballyfermot senior curate Michael Cleary - of covering up Cooke's crimes.

"I remember Cooke stating on air that the tape was made by DJs speaking like little girls to make it sound authentic," he said.

"Unfortunately, many people believed him because no evidence was ever brought forward.

"The tape disappeared, and soon afterwards Fr Michael Cleary, who was a very popular priest at the time and had his own TV show, was given a slot on the weekend schedule.

"Within weeks of Cooke being accused of child sex abuse, Cleary was on Radio Dublin every Saturday saying Cooke was the victim of vicious rumours and was an upstanding member of the community.

Parents

"To the best of my knowledge, the tape was handed in to the local Oblate Church and I firmly believe that Cleary somehow orchestrated its return to Cooke in order that it would never be played to anyone again.

"I also understand that a priest from the church visited the parents of the girl who had spoken on the tape and advised them not to report the abuse, in case it had an adverse effect on the child.

"If Fr Cleary had revealed what he knew about Cooke at the time, it would have saved countless other children from abuse."

Cooke has also been linked to missing schoolboy Philip Cairns, who disappeared in 1986, aged 13.

However, DNA results taken recently from the boy's schoolbag failed to find any link to the late paedophile.

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