Retired Limerick fireman not guilty of abuse charges

Limerick Courthouse, Merchant's Quay
A RETIRED firefighter says he’s relieved after he was acquitted of indecently assaulting a young girl more than 30 years ago.

A RETIRED firefighter says he’s relieved after he was acquitted of indecently assaulting a young girl more than 30 years ago.

Michael O’Grady, aged 59, of Meadowbrook, Corbally, had pleaded not guilty to 10 charges relating to offences, which were alleged to have happened between October 1976 and January 1981 at three separate addresses in Limerick city and one in County Clare.

In her evidence, the alleged victim, who used to babysit for the defendant and his wife, said she was aged 11 when the first offence happened.

The woman, who is now aged 48, claimed the offences began with inappropriate touching and became more serious over time.

The jury heard that Mr O’Grady, who joined the Limerick City Fire and Rescue Service in 1979, strongly denied the allegations against him following his arrest.

During one interview he described the allegations as “disgusting”, “rubbish” and “a load of crap” and he told gardai he would be “dead” if he had committed the offences.

Following almost two-and-a-half hours of deliberation’s at Limerick Circuit Court, the jury of eight men and four men returned with a majority not guilty verdict on each of the ten charges.

The foreman of the jury had earlier told Judge Carroll Moran that the jury was deadlocked and could not reach a unanimous verdict

The jurors were thanked by the judge for “giving up four days of your lives” to hear the trial and he excused them from further jury service for three years.

Speaking briefly outside the court, Mr O’Grady said he was relieved at the verdict.

He said allegations against him and last week’s trial and been traumatic and that he was “glad it’s over”.