Colm O'Gorman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Colm O'Gorman
Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland
Assumed office
January 2008 (2008-01)[1]
In office
May – July 2007
ConstituencyNominated by the Taoiseach
Personal details
Born (1966-07-15) 15 July 1966 (age 54)
County Wexford, Ireland

Colm O'Gorman (born 15 July 1966) is the Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland.[2][3] He is founder and former director of One in Four.

He is a survivor of clerical sexual abuse, and first came to public attention by speaking out against the perpetrators. O'Gorman subsequently founded One in Four, an Irish charity which supports men and women who have been sexually abused and/or suffered sexual violence.[4]

He was a Senator in 2007, representing the Progressive Democrats.

Early and private life[edit]

Colm O'Gorman was born in County Wexford. His father was Seán O'Gorman, of Adamstown, County Wexford – a farmer, builder and local Fianna Fáil politician.[5] Seán O'Gorman was a member of Wexford County Council, and later moved with his family to live in Wexford town. He twice stood unsuccessfully as a Fianna Fáil candidate in general elections: in 1969 and 1973.[6]

In 2002, Colm O'Gorman settled near Gorey, County Wexford.[7] He is raising two children with his husband Paul, of whom they have joint legal guardianship.[8] When this was revealed it generated debate on fosterships in the Irish media.[9]

Child sexual abuse and the Roman Catholic Church[edit]

As an adolescent in County Wexford – between the age of 15 and 18 – O'Gorman was sexually abused by Fr Seán Fortune. The abuse occurred between 1981 and 1983.[10] He became the first of Fortune's many victims to come forward and report the assaults to the Irish police. In 1998, he sued the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ferns and the Dublin Papal Nuncio, inter alia the then Pope, John Paul II, who later claimed diplomatic immunity. His case against the Catholic Diocese of Ferns was settled in 2003 with an admission of negligence and the payment of damages – in April 2003, O'Gorman was awarded €300,000 damages.[11] O'Gorman documented his lawsuit in the BBC documentary Suing the Pope.[12]

He successfully campaigned to set up the Ferns Inquiry,[13] the first Irish state inquiry into clerical sexual abuse. He founded the charity One in Four in London in 1999 and established its sister organisation in Ireland in 2002. He is a well-known figure in Irish media as an advocate of child sexual abuse victims and a commentator and campaigner on sexual violence. He was named one of the ESB/Rehab People of the Year and received a TV3/Daily Star "Best of Irish" award in 2002, one of the Sunday Independent/Irish Nationwide People of the Year in 2003 and in the same year he was also awarded the James Larkin Justice Award by the Labour Party for his contribution to social justice in Ireland.

In 2006 O'Gorman presented Sex Crimes and the Vatican for the BBC Panorama documentary series, which claimed that the Vatican has used Crimen sollicitationis secret document to silence allegations of sexual abuse by priests and also claimed Crimen sollicitationis was enforced for 20 years by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger before he became Pope Benedict XVI.[14]

In 2020, O'Gorman was interviewed as part of the Australian documentary series Revelation.

Political career[edit]

In April 2006, he announced that he would stand for the Progressive Democrats, a pro-free market liberal political party, in the 2007 general election in the Wexford constituency. On 3 May 2007, he was appointed to the Seanad by the Taoiseach to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Senator Kate Walsh.[15]

He was not elected in the 2007 general election in Wexford polling 3% of the vote.[16] He was not re-appointed to the 23rd Seanad in July 2007.

Amnesty International[edit]

O'Gorman is the Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, and often appears in the media to talk or write about human rights in Ireland and around the world. He and Amnesty have called for an update to Ireland's hate-crime legislation, stating that freedom of expression does not extend to hate crime and that Irish people need to accept that "it is not enough to be anti-racist but that there is a need to be actively anti-racist."[17]


  1. ^ Thompson, Sylvia (6 May 2008). "Family danger". The Irish Times. Colm O'Gorman, who left the agency in January and has since become the executive director of the Dublin office of Amnesty International.
  2. ^ "Amnesty International Ireland Website". Retrieved 30 May 2008.
  3. ^ Cunningham, Grainne (15 March 2008). "Amnesty in fresh demand for 'torture' flight inspections". Irish Independent. Retrieved 9 June 2008.
  4. ^ "Our vision & work - About us". One in Four. Archived from the original on 4 July 2013. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
  5. ^ "New Ross – General Election". The Munster Express. 4 August 2006. Retrieved 12 May 2008.
  6. ^ "Seán O'Gorman". Retrieved 12 May 2008.
  7. ^ "O'Gorman to stand for PDs". Enniscorthy Guardian. 27 April 2006. Retrieved 12 May 2008.
  8. ^ "Election candidate hits out at line of questioning on Late Late Show O'Gorman 'duped' into discussing private life". New Ross Standard. 1 February 2007. Retrieved 12 May 2008.
  9. ^ Finnegan, Brian (14 April 2007). "OUT OF TOUCH". Irish Independent. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  10. ^ "1 in 4 founder settles High Court action". Radio Telefís Éireann (RTÉ) News. 9 April 2003. Retrieved 9 June 2008.
  11. ^ "PERSON OF THE MONTH Colm O'Gorman, who fought a long battle against clerical sex abuse". Sunday Independent. 8 June 2003. Retrieved 12 May 2008.
  12. ^ "Suing The Pope: Your comments (viewers)". BBC News. 22 March 2002. Retrieved 13 August 2006.
  13. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 May 2006. Retrieved 11 August 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link).
  14. ^ "Sex crimes and the Vatican". BBC News. 29 September 2006. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
  15. ^ "Colm O'Gorman". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
  16. ^ "Colm O'Gorman". Retrieved 12 May 2008.
  17. ^ McGarry, Patsy (16 August 2020). "Human rights groups call for hate crime legislation in Ireland to be updated". The Irish Times. Retrieved 11 April 2021.

External links[edit]